Climate to cast its shadow over the Pacific Forum once more

  • Climate to cast its shadow over the Pacific Forum once more

Climate to cast its shadow over the Pacific Forum once more

During Mr Morrison's trip to Fiji in January, Mr Bainimarama emphasised that climate change posed an "enormous" threat to Pacific Islanders.

Speaking at the Sautalaga Event of 50th Pacific Islands Forum in Tuvalu, Bainimarama appealed to Australia to do everything possible to achieve a rapid transition from coal to energy sources that do not contribute to climate change.

"We face an existential threat that you don't face and challenges we expect your governments and people to more fully appreciate", Bainimarama said.

Beginning in Fiji today (12 August), Minister Wheeler will be shown the impacts of climate change in the region and the visit some of the innovative projects that the United Kingdom and Fiji are pioneering to respond to these challenges.

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A number of other attending countries-particularly Australia and New Zealand-are concerned that Beijing is establishing naval bases in the region, exemplified by the construction of a wharf in Vanuatu large enough to base warships.

United Nations secretary general António Guterres has thrown his weight behind the issue, demanding every country start planning for carbon neutrality by 2050 ahead of his climate action summit on 23 September in NY.

On both instances, Australia suggested deleting the paragraph, asserting that the issue is "not a shared forum priority". Again, Australia pushed to cut the "no caveats" clause.

'The $500 million we're investing for the Pacific's renewable energy and its climate change and disaster resilience builds on the $300 million for 2016-2020, ' he said in a statement.

In a statement, Mr Morrison said the funding "highlights our commitment to not just meeting our emissions reduction obligations at home but supporting our neighbours and friends".

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'No matter how much money you put on the table it doesn't give you the excuse not to do the right thing, ' he told reporters in the tiny nation's capital Funafuti, which is hosting the PIF meet.

"Pacific leaders, including New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden, will gather at Tuvalu, where the community is grappling with the extreme toll of climate damage - where rising seas and higher storm surges are already swallowing land and contaminating scarce water supplies, and where homes, livelihoods and the fate of an entire nation are at stake", Le Mesurier said.

The smaller Pacific states have been negotiating their own statement on climate change, with the hope of manoeuvring Australia into supporting a strong PIF statement to take to NY.