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August 15, 2019

Jacinda Ardern: “Australia has to answer to the Pacific”

Jacinda Ardern: “Australia has to answer to the Pacific”

Despite committing $800 million to address global warming in the region, Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison is fending off attacks over the country’s domestic emissions policies. New Zealand’s Prime Minister has also asked Scott Morrison to explain his government’s position on climate change to Pacific leaders, even though New Zealand is providing $300m less than Australia in direct climate assistance for the Pacific over 10 years until 2025. Whilst Jacinda Ardern has promised a carbon-neutral economy by 2050, in order to achieve the goal, Ms Ardern has excluded agriculture and methane, which form close to a half of New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions.

In various ways, climate change affects productivity, earnings, and employment, as well as people’s well-being. IZA World of Labor author Linguère Mously Mbaye has looked at the relationship between climate change and migration. In her article, Mbaye notes: “Climate change and natural disasters cause people to migrate if they do not have alternative mitigation strategies, are forced to move because of the shock, and can afford migration costs. […] In addition to helping households build resilience by, for example, investing in infrastructure in vulnerable areas, providing social protection, and allocating aid rapidly and efficiently, better world governance is needed to reduce the human impact on climate change.”

“Nations like Tuvalu, the Marshall Islands, or Kiribati—small countries who’ve contributed the least to global climate change—are and will suffer the full force of a warming planet,” Ms Ardern said. “If my Pacific neighbours do not have the option of opting out of the effects of climate change, why should we be able to opt out of taking action to stop it?”

Marie Connolly, IZA World of Labor contributor, has also looked at how climate change can affect how people spend their time. In her article, she writes: “Research suggests rising temperatures will reduce time spent working and enjoying outdoor leisure, while increasing indoor leisure. The burden will fall disproportionately on workers in industries more exposed to heat and those who live in warmer regions, with the potential to increase existing patterns of inequalities. This is likely to trigger an adaptation, the scope and mechanisms of which are hard to predict, and will undoubtedly entail costs.”

Read Linguère Mously Mbaye’s article Climate change, natural disasters and migration and Marie Connolly’s article Climate change and the allocation of time.