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Pacific Island climate change refugees tip of the iceberg.

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Kerry Nettle, Senator for New South Wales

Pacific Island climate change refugees tip of the iceberg

Senator Nettle, Tuesday, 24th October, 2006

Greens Immigration Spokesperson, Senator Kerry Nettle, today warned that a few thousand Pacific Island climate change refugees will be just the tip of the refugee iceberg if Australia does not urgently address greenhouse gas emissions at home and overseas.

"The Prime Minister of Kiribati is right to warn John Howard about the arrival of Pacific Islander climate refugees, but John Howard should know that they will be closely followed by many more from South East Asia if serious action to address

climate change is not taken now," Senator Nettle said.

"Climate change will create millions of refugees in our region if greenhouse gas emissions are allowed to rise.

"Climate refugee expert Prof. Norman Myers, of Oxford University, says there could well be 150 million climate refugees on the move within 50 years, including at least 75 million in the Asia-Pacific region.

"Tony Blair has warned that 50 million people in Asia could be killed or displaced by flood as a result of climate change but our own Prime Minister continues to refuse to acknowledge the issue.

"John Howard refused to meet with the Tuvaluans back in 2001 to discuss this threat and still refuses to acknowledge the existence of climate refugees.

"Australia must formulate contingency plans for these possibilities whilst taking a whole of government approach to dramatically reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.

"As the developed worlds highest per capita greenhouse gas polluter Australia has a responsibility, particularly in our region, to help those nations already hurt by climate change as well as becoming a keen advocate for emissions reduction globally."

Contact - Jon Edwards 0428 213 146