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The Menzies Australia Institute invites you to the Annual Reese Lecture on the topic of Negotiating a warming world: Australia, the Pacific and climate change since the 1980s.
In the southwest corner of the Pacific, Australia leads the OECD with its per capita emissions, which are among the highest in the world. Despite contributing little to global greenhouse gas emissions, the nearby low-lying islands of the Pacific have become as much symbols of climate change and rising sea levels as are polar bears and melting glaciers. As the Pacific Climate Warriors warn, however, the peoples of the Pacific are not victims — “We are not drowning, we are fighting.” So too are the Traditional Owners from across the Torres Strait who successfully lodged a complaint against the Australian Government with the UN Human Rights Committee and are suing the Commonwealth for breaching its duty of care by failing to reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.
In this 2023 Reese Lecture, Associate Professor Ruth Morgan offers an historical account of Australia’s role in negotiating a warming world since it welcomed Malta’s 1988 proposal to the UN General Assembly for the ‘Conservation of Climate as Part of the Common Heritage of Mankind’. In addition to welcoming the findings of the recent Brundtland report on sustainable development, Australia’s representative underscored the vulnerability of neighbouring Pacific countries to climate change and its contribution to improving climate monitoring in the region. As the world prepares for the first Global Stocktake of the Paris Agreement in December, this Reese Lecture takes the temperature on Australia, the Pacific and climate change since the 1980s.
The talk will be introduced by Dr Agnieszka Sobocinska, Director of the Menzies Australia Institute, and will be followed by audience Q&A. The evening will conclude with a drinks reception.
About the speaker
Ruth is the Director of the Centre for Environmental History at the Australian National University. She is an award-winning historian of water and climate in Australia and the Indian Ocean world, and she was a lead author in Working Group 2 of the IPCC's Sixth Assessment Report. Her latest book, Climate Change, and International History: Negotiating Science, Global Change and Environmental Justice, will be published by Bloomsbury in early 2024.