Cyclone Winston a rallying cry for countries to ratify Paris deal


As Fiji reels from the strongest storm ever recorded in the Southern Hemisphere, leaders from across the globe are faced with yet another rallying cry on the urgency of taking climate action. Coming just two months before the UN’s signing ceremony of the Paris Agreement, and just days after Fiji became the first in the world to formally adopt the agreement, the category five Cyclone Winston brought winds of over 320km/h and waves of up to 12 metres, and left almost 30 dead, with 8,500 more still sheltering in evacuation centres as the island nation faces a month-long state of emergency. 55 countries – representing 55 per cent of global emissions – need to ratify the Paris agreement for it formally take effect and this latest tragedy is a stark reminder of why leaders must follow in the Fiji’s footsteps, urgently adopt the deal and turn their national pledges into definitive actions.


Key Points

  • Vulnerable countries are leading the Paris charge; but this global problem needs everyone onboard. Comprising a long-term goal to bring emissions down to zero, the Paris Agreement is a clear acknowledgement by all nations of the huge and growing threat of climate change. The sooner governments follow Fiji and ratify the Paris deal, the sooner they will move from pledges into “implementation and action,” and embark upon their collective abandonment of fossil fuels in favour of a 100 per cent renewable future.  



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Key Quotes

  • “Winston was a monster of a cyclone. I have not experienced anything like this before in my life, nor has my 60-year-old father.” – Nazeem Kasim, Fiji resident
  • “This is another painful reminder of why global action on climate change is so urgent and vital. At just one degree of warming experienced today, vulnerable countries continue to bear the brunt of record breaking storms, flooding and weather extremes. We’re expecting all countries to collaborate to safeguard our people by keeping warming to the minimum, which means living up to the 1.5 degrees limit enshrined in the Paris Agreement. The vulnerable countries led the call for an ambitious agreement at the Paris climate summit by advocating for 1.5 degrees. Just days before Winston struck Fiji, the country also became the first nation to ratify the Paris Agreement. Clearly, vulnerable countries are also leading the charge to ensure the regime negotiated in Paris gains legal force as soon as possible. We look forward to continued momentum for similar action from countries large and small.” – Climate Vulnerable Forum Chair, Secretary Emmanuel de Guzman of the Philippines Climate Change Commission

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