Response to Jenny Hayward-Jones’s “Cross Purposes” Image Credit: Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Response to Jenny Hayward-Jones’s “Cross Purposes”


Jenny Hayward-Jones is right to call out the inconsistency on climate change at the heart of the Australian government’s “step-up” in the Pacific. For Pacific islanders, climate change is an existential threat. This was made clear to me on a visit to Taro Island, in the Choiseul Province of Solomon Islands, a few years ago.

Satellite data suggests sea levels in the Solomon Islands are rising up to five times faster than the global average, at 7.7 millimetres per year in the capital of Honiara, which lies to the south of the country, and up to 16.8 millimetres a year in the north, where Taro Island is located. As a result, Taro Island is expected to be the first provincial capital in the world to be abandoned due to climate change. Most of the island is less than 2 metres above sea level and, with the high probability of tsunamis from the constant seismic activity, it’s simply not safe.

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