November 30, 2016 Pacific react to Australian Government praise of Fijian Presidency at COP 23

SUVA, December 01 – Pacific has called on the Australian Government to rapidly cease the extraction and burning of fossil fuels if they genuinely care about the plight of the Pacific Islands affected by climate change, rather than just the offering of flowery language and congratulations.

A spokesperson for the Australian Government two days ago, said that a Fijian presidency of COP 23 would raise the profile of the challenges that Pacific Island countries face in dealing with climate change.

“While it is welcome that the Australian Government has recognized the plight the Pacific Islands face in dealing with climate change and rising sea levels, the Australian Government must look at its complicity in the problem the Pacific is facing,” Pacific Coordinator, Mrs. Koreti Tiumalu said.

“The most effective move the Australian Government could take is to immediately say no to the Carmichael coal mine and urgently take the necessary actions required to move away from fossil fuels and transition to clean energy.”

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s $300m climate commitment to the Pacific is nowhere near enough to counter the destruction Australia is wreaking on the global climate and vulnerable island nations.

“As the world’s largest coal producer and one of the biggest per capita climate polluters, Australia has a responsibility to act swiftly on climate. If Australia wants to be good regional neighbors we need to see genuine action to tackle the causes of climate change, rather than just flowery words of congratulation and support.”

In the lead up to COP 23, 350 Pacific and the Pacific Climate Warriors will continue to highlight Australia’s inaction on climate change and urge Pacific leaders to rally together and call on Australia to end its fossil fuel expansion.

“Our Pacific leaders must remain vigilant for the future of our Islands – they know what is at stake. The opportunity that Fiji has at the next COP will be a chance for the Pacific to emphasize how Australia’s inaction on climate change speaks louder than words,” concluded Timalu.


Contact: Fenton Lutunatabua, [email protected]