Pacific island leaders and institutes are concerned whether Australia’s engagement to tackle climate change is genuine.
The Australia Institute, a left-wing public policy think tank in Australia, revealed earlier this month that, despite Albanese’s $20 billion (US$13 billion) commitment to strengthen its ties to the region, where climate change is the single most pressing issue of development, Australia’s third largest export is still fossil fuel, and 28 coal mines are still in the approval pipeline.
Vanuatu has expressed disappointment with the irony of this initiative.
Vanuatu’s Minister for Climate Change Adaptation Ralph Regenvanu said they are currently in their third month of a state of emergency after a double-category four cyclone ravaged the country earlier this year, forcing the island nation to lose over 40 percent of its GDP.
“And now we see countries like Australia talking about the rule of law internationally. You signed up to all these agreements, you signed up to the Paris agreement, that is an international rule of law, if you don’t meet that commitment, do you have the right to talk about meeting the international rule of law in other areas.”
Regenvanu said the Pacific is vulnerable to the effects of developed countries capitalistic projects given that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has reported that carbon emissions contain nearly 90 percent coal, oil, and gas.
“Countries utilising coal, oil and gas, contributing to emissions, not meeting their targets, contributing to these disasters we’re experience, which cause us to lose so much of our potential development for our people and have to put it back to relief and recovery that’s like what we’re doing now.”
Tuvalu’s Minister for Finance Seve Paeniu agreed that livelihoods in the region have been compromised.
“Our food and water security is being threatened and livelihoods of our people, therefore being threatened and this is all caused by climate change and we know that fossil fuel is the cause of climate change.”
FBC News has sent questions to the Australian Embassy here in Suva about these narratives, but they have yet to respond.
The Australian Government has proposed to host the 2026 UN Climate Conference, in “partnership” with Pacific nations.
SOURCE: FBC NEWS/PACNEWS