LEADERS at the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) in Fiji are set to declare a Climate Emergency and welcome Australia’s plans to co-host the world’s largest climate summit.
In the Forum Communique, not yet published but endorsed by leaders, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s climate shift has been welcomed by island leaders, after almost a decade of inaction and time-wasting from the previous federal government.
Leaders also declared a Climate Emergency, and highlighted the urgent need to limit warming to 1.5 degrees. They also welcomed interest from Australia to host a UN climate summit with Pacific island countries.
“It’s one thing to declare a Climate Emergency, but it’s another thing to act upon it,” said Dr Wesley Morgan, Climate Council Senior Researcher and Pacific expert who’s in Fiji for the Pacific Islands Forum.
“You can’t tell Pacific nations you’re serious about tackling the Climate Emergency, and bid to host the world’s most important climate summit, while continuing to fuel the flames by approving massive new gas projects.”
“Australia has a long way to go to tackle the region’s number one security threat – climate change,” said Dr Morgan who lived in the Pacific for over a decade.
“The Albanese Government hopes to reaffirm its place as the security partner of choice for the Pacific, and while its new targets have been welcomed, Australia will need to show it’s serious by implementing policies to rapidly cut pollution and phase out fossil fuels.”
The Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum, Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama urged Albanese “to go further for our family’s shared future” by aligning Australia’s climate policy with the goal of keeping warming to 1.5C.
“The science could not be clearer,” said Dr Morgan.
To keep global temperatures below 1.5 degrees the Albanese Government must reduce emissions to 75 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.
It appears Australia has not used the PIF to re-join the Green Climate Fund or announce any new finance to help Pacific countries deal with climate impacts.
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NOTES TO EDITORS:
- The 51st Pacific Islands Forum is taking place in Suva, Fiji from July 11 to July 14, and is the most important annual political meeting for the Pacific region. The current chair of the PIF is Fiji Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.
- Today, Pacific leaders including Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese took part in the leaders retreat.
- This PIF is the first in-person meeting since 2019 and has been dominated by discussions about climate change and security, given the deal between China and Solomon Islands signed earlier this year.
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