Australia has just agreed to put its weight behind a 1.5 degree ambition target at the Paris Climate Talks.

New Zealand Youth are now saying it's New Zealand's time to step up as well, helping to strive for a future-proof Pacific.

The current draft text sets New Zealand's target limit for temperature rises at 2 degrees.

However, a number of nations vulnerable to climate change - including all Pacific island states - want 1.5 degrees to be the limit.

Advertisement

This target is being supported by a growing number of developed nations, including Germany and Australia.

"Prime Minister Key doesn't want to be a climate leader, but he is missing the waka in this case. We are calling on him to step up, do the right thing and support a global temperature target of 1.5 degrees," says Pacific-New Zealander Kya Lal, who is in Paris with the Aotearoa Youth Leadership Institute and is speaking on behalf of the New Zealand Youth Delegation.

"For the Pacific anything higher spells disaster. Anything higher will see the physical disappearance of island nations. New Zealand touts itself as a friend to the Pacific, but friends don't sink friends. Friends don't set emission targets so low it almost guarantees your demise. We are calling out New Zealand and our Prime Minister, be a good friend, choose 1.5 degrees.

"New Zealand's current actions are a disservice and downright disrespectful to the hundreds of thousands of Pacific New Zealanders, looking to our Prime minister for decisive and ambitious leadership. It is also downright disrespectful to New Zealand as a whole who pride themselves on having a long history punching above their weight and fighting for what is right. We urge Prime Minister Key to do what is right, future proof the pacific and fight for 1.5 degrees."

Like what you see? For weekly Element news sign up to our newsletter. We're also on Facebook and Twitter.