SYDNEY, 06 APRIL 2020 (GRREENPEACE)—As the world scrambles to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, Tropical Cyclone Harold has struck Vanuatu, with the devastation providing an unwelcome reminder that climate change remains the biggest threat facing the Pacific.

Earlier today the cyclone made landfall on the island of Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu’s largest island, bringing torrential rain and 240km/h winds.

Climate Change & Resilience Policy, Adaptation, Loss & Damage, Sustainable Finance & UN Negotiator Dr Christopher Bartlett from Vanuatu, described the cyclone as an outcome “of the unconscionable crime of climate change perpetrated against the people of Vanuatu by fossil fuel corporations and the countries that subsidise them.”

“The horrific loss and damage that has occurred today undermines basic human rights of life, food, water and personal security of innocent Pacific peoples,” he said.

Greenpeace Australia Pacific, Head of Pacific, Joseph Moeono-Kolio, said fossil fuel companies and developed nations are responsible for the climate crisis with coal remaining as the primary driver of global carbon emissions.

“As the Pacific battles to contain the spread of Covid-19, Tropical Cyclone Harold is a reminder that climate change represents yet another existential threat to nations like Vanuatu, that is not of their making,” he said.

“It is unfair that countries on the frontlines of the crisis, like those in the Pacific, are constantly having to bear the brunt of the economic impacts of extreme weather events, that are made worse by carbon pollution in places like Australia.”

“The big polluting countries and corporations have a responsibility to help those who have contributed the least but are among the most impacted by extreme weather events. The worst climate offenders must cut emissions as well as strengthen the Loss and Damage component of the Paris Agreement, to ensure that frontline nations receive due compensation for the damage caused by Climate Change.” …PACNEWS