‘Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will have some explaining to do when he attends the Pacific Islands Forum leaders’ meeting in Pohnpei, Micronesia, this week.
‘Australia’s continued determination to dig up coal, while refusing to dig deep to tackle climate change, has put it increasingly at odds with world opinion. Nowhere is this more evident than when Australian politicians meet with their Pacific island counterparts.
‘It is widely acknowledged that Pacific island states are at the front line of climate change. It is perhaps less well known that, for a quarter of a century, Australia has attempted to undermine their demands in climate negotiations at the United Nations.
‘… While Pacific leaders are praised for their efforts to develop global climate solutions, Australia faces ignominy. Unless Australia changes direction, it will continue to be seen as an irresponsible middle power – a rogue state undermining global efforts to tackle climate change.
‘Australian governments will also find it increasingly hard to convince Pacific island countries they are a friend as well as a neighbour.’
Australia Institute analysis adds to Pacific pile-on over Morrison’s climate policy
Michelle Grattan writes in The Conversation (14.8.19) about Pacific Island leaders’ criticisms of Australian government inaction over the impacts of climate change on their island nations.
‘An analysis from The Australia Institute accuses Scott Morrison of planning to exploit a “pollution loophole” equivalent to about eight years of fossil-fuel emissions from the rest of the Pacific and New Zealand.
‘The “loophole” is using Kyoto credits to help the government meet its emissions reduction target.
‘The progressive think tank issued its salvo ahead of the Pacific Island Forum in Tuvalu, which Morrison is attending and starts today.
‘Anxious to sandbag the Australian government against criticism over its climate policy from island countries, for which the climate change issue is major, Morrison has announced Australia is redirecting $500 million of the aid budget over five years to go to “investing for the Pacific’s renewable energy and its climate change and disaster resilience”.
‘But Tuvalu’s Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga quickly said the money should not be a substitute for action.’