Pacific negotiators outnumbered at COP26, Fiji PM not happy with UKCOP draft text


By Pita Ligaiula in Glasgow

Pacific Island negotiators are outnumbered by fossil fuel reps at COP26 by more than 12 to 1.

Forum Chair and Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama expressed his concern as the world attempts to hammer an agreement on the UK COP26 final text before the meeting wraps up Friday.

“We’re team David — fighting for our children’s future — against a Goliath powered by “clean” coal. I’ll take our quality of purpose over quantity any day of the week,” Bainimarama tweeted.

Bainimarama said the decision text released Wednesday does not reflect any process nor does it reflect the position of AOSIS or PSIDS.

“Fiji seeks an outcome on this at COP to not only avert and minimise loss and damage but to address it through a dedicated financial mechanism which is backed by the United Nations.

He said the decision text must create a process and structure for mobilising finance for loss and damage so that Fiji can compensate nations for what has been lost and what will be lost.

The latest on COP26 climate negotiations Thursday, indicate there won’t be new cover decision texts until tonight, as the push continues to get more ‘balance’ into mitigation-heavy texts. Finance discussion is moving slowly with efforts to strengthen language on adaptation and finance underway.

Bainimarama also welcomed China and the United States of America announcement to work together on cutting down greenhouse gas emissions over the next 10 years.

China and the U.S are two of the planet’s largest carbon dioxide emitters, followed by the European Union, India, and Russia.

“If there is any one issue we must agree on, it’s climate. Great to see America and China commit to raise ambition at COP26 — now let’s deliver. There is only one path that puts us below 1.5 degrees: We must halve global emissions by 2030 and achieve net-zero by 2050, zero excuses,” said Bainimarama.

World Health Organisation Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus thanked Fiji PM on his bold leadership on climate change.

“Our health and our children’s future is not negotiable. WHO stands with you in our fight for a fair Climate Action, and a healthier, safer world,” he said.

UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres said one day before the end of COP26 “we cannot settle for the lowest common Climate Action denominator.

“I appeal to all countries to increase ambition in mitigation, in adaptation and in finance,” the UN chief said.

Meanwhile, CSO’s in the Pacific Islands are standing in solidarity with Pacific negotiators in the final days of COP26 and hope they will elevate their voices to the highest levels in their absence.

The CSOs said fossil fuels are fossils and world emitters must keep them in the ground to save the Pacific.

“No new coal, oil or gas projects, and an immediate end to all fossil fuel subsidies, everywhere.

“Show real commitment, your NDCs must limit global heating to 1.5 degrees, we’re already out of time in the islands. Sustained, radical, and socially just cuts to emissions are required now, not later.

“Show us the money! Mobilise all of the promised US$100 billion annually until 2025 and agree that polluters must Pay the trillions actually needed for resilient Pacific peoples and communities,” a Pacific CSO statement said.

It said loss and damage is life and death in the Pacific.

“Your political will is required now to finance and deliver support to the Pacific people who are already losing everything.

“Climate change is a symptom of deeper injustice and inequalities. Gender justice and women’s human rights and empowerment is a precondition for climate, social, economic, ecological and climate justice

“Climate justice will prevail. Your emissions are already responsible for the loss of universal human rights, and environmental rights of Pacific people, communities and ecosystems. We will see you in courts of law, and in all other forums, to protect and retain our Rights.

“Global climate negotiations at COP26 must be inclusive, intersectional, and intergenerational: Do not dare to marginalise the voices of Pacific Island peoples,” the CSO statement said.