When I think about Pacific Island families living in fear of their homes being submerged by rising sea levels, it makes me want to cry – not laugh.
But to Tony Abbott and one of his ministers, Peter Dutton, it’s apparently a joke.
On Friday, they were caught out laughing and joking about sea-level rise threatening Pacific Islanders’ homes, while they stood underneath a television crew’s microphone.
(See below for footage of Tony Abbott and Peter Dutton joking about rising sea levels. Post continues after video.)
This is from the same government whose Treasurer smoked a cigar after delivering a brutal budget that cut funding from domestic violence services.
Global warming is not a laughing matter, especially in Pacific Islands where saltwater is creeping into freshwater supplies and farming land, rendering it useless.
Some Pacific nations are only 1 metre away from being completely submerged by rising waters. Already two islands in the country of Kiribati have gone under the waves.
What makes this all the more heartbreaking is that the people living on these islands have hardly contributed to climate pollution at all, yet they will suffer the most from climate change.
In Australia on the other hand, we have higher levels of climate pollution, per person, than anywhere else in the world.
We can help our Pacific Island neighbours by cutting down our climate pollution footprint. It’s easily achievable and makes good economic sense.
We simply need to embrace the job-rich clean energy industry, with a transition plan for workers who are losing their jobs because the trading price of fossil fuels keeps dropping as the rest of the world moves away from dirty energy.