Global Compact Network Australia is an arm of the UN Global Compact for sustainable development, with more than 12,000 corporate signatories including a number of leading Australian companies such as BHP, ANZ, Coles and Australia Post. It is calling for a commitment to limit warming to 1.5 degrees, which would be tougher than the Paris target, which requires signatory countries to aim for between 1.5 and 2 degrees.
“We think it’s very important that business in particular start taking a position on their climate change strategy and consider their responsibility to respect human rights,” Ms Porter said.
Save the Children chief executive Paul Ronalds, who returned from Bangladesh this week, said the “thousands and thousands” of climate refugees pouring into the capital, Dhaka, was an example of the upcoming disruption likely across the Asia-Pacific region.
“The humanitarian impact of climate change will be huge but they’ll be particularly significant in our region,” Mr Ronalds said.
Australia was in the middle of “the most disaster-prone region in the world”, surrounded by many Pacific and Asian countries that were susceptible to rising sea levels and extreme weather, he said. This meant we could expect to see “many, many millions more climate refugees and Australia is going to be increasingly attractive for them”.
There was “no question” climate change was driving refugees off the land among the Bangladeshi parliamentarians he spoke with, Mr Ronalds said. “They make the comparison with Australia to say ‘just like Australia, our two countries are on the frontline of climate change’,” he said.
Australian contributed $200 million to the Green Climate Fund between 2015 and 2018, which was set up by the UN to help developing nations and small island states cope with the impacts of climate change. The Morrison government ceased funding in December with a final payment of $19.2 million, sparking criticism from developing nations.
Australia is also facing climate headaches on the diplomatic front.
Mike is the climate and energy correspondent for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.