The Coalition Government has watered down the final communique at the Pacific Islands Forum – refusing to listen to the pleas of its neighbours and instead clinging to coal.
“This is the sign of a short-sighted government focused on short-term interests. The world needs to phase out coal, the very survival of the Pacific Islands depends on it,” said the Climate Council’s Head of Research, Dr Martin Rice.
“Prime Minister Scott Morrison is continuing to ignore intensifying climate change. Australia should have taken a leadership role in these talks. Instead, Mr Morrison has further damaged Australia’s international reputation and disregarded our long-term national interest,” said Dr Rice.
“It’s not just the Pacific that’s in trouble. Australia is one of the most vulnerable developed nations to climate change. We are already experiencing longer and more extreme heatwaves, more severe droughts and more intense bushfire seasons,” he said.
“The Prime Minister thought that by handing $500m to the Pacific he could silence the critics. But he couldn’t. That’s because the money doesn’t address the biggest problem of all – Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions which have continued to go up and up and up,” said Dr Rice.
“We can’t continue to burn fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas. We need a transition plan to position Australia to become a global renewables powerhouse and advance a new economy,” he said.
“Our Prime Minister is not acting in the long-term interests of the nation. The Federal Government is failing to protect its Pacific neighbours and it is failing to protect everyday Australians, our economy and the natural environment,” he said.
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