Australia offers $340 million in climate funding to Pacific islands

Elias Hubbard
August 13, 2019

Morrison is due to arrive in the Tuvalu capital Funafuti on Wednesday.

"While getting rid of plastics and ocean plastics is incredibly important, [Tuvalu] is a nation that will disappear unless the world, including Australia, takes action on climate change", Conroy told Guardian Australia.

As part of the Pacific Uplift Strategy, the United Kingdom is increasing engagement in the Pacific region, which will see the diplomatic network doubled.

The Federal Opposition has accused Mr Morrison of putting relations with the region at risk by not budging on climate change.

'It will not fix Australia's reputation with our Pacific neighbours that has been damaged by this government's reactionary stance on climate change, ' labour climate change spokesman Pat Conroy said.

The draft statement concludes on a call to all countries, "with no caveats", to take decisive and transformative action - a likely dig at Australia for planning to use Kyoto-era carbon credits to meet its Paris Agreement pledges.

"This highlights our commitment to not just meeting our emissions reduction obligations at home but supporting our neighbours and friends", he said.

"They do demonstrate the commitment that we have to a cleaner blue in the Pacific."

"So, it really does come down to who is prepared to give ground and where".

"I appeal to Australia to do everything possible to achieve a rapid transition from coal to energy sources that do not contribute to climate change", Fiji's Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama said on Monday ahead of the Pacific Islands Forum.

China, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia and the United Kingdom have all been focusing more attention on the Pacific because of the region's geo-strategic importance.

To counter China's economic aid to the Pacific, Australia and its Western allies have increased their support to the region.

"Mr Morrison doesn't want to create a situation where they're having to have conversations about [financial support]".

Other countries from further overseas are seeking closer relations with the Pacific, with both Norway and Chile applying to become dialogue partners.

"Pacific leaders, including New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden, will gather at Tuvalu, where the community is grappling with the extreme toll of climate damage - where rising seas and higher storm surges are already swallowing land and contaminating scarce water supplies, and where homes, livelihoods and the fate of an entire nation are at stake", Le Mesurier said.

Tuvalu has warned Australia that redirecting aid money to climate resilience projects in the Pacific should not be used as an "excuse" to avoid reducing emissions and phasing out coal-fired power generation.

It will be Mr Morrison's first time attending the PIF Leaders Meeting and he can be expected to promote the brand new, $2 billion Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the region.

But host Tuvalu will be ensuring their visitors can't avoid their biggest challenge: climate change and its threat to the nation's fragile reefs.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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