August 21st, 2019

Australia waters down Pacific Islands plea on climate crisis

Forum’s chair describes leaders’ 12 hours of talks as ‘very, very tough struggle’

Australia stands in opposition to other Pacific Islands nations after distancing itself from language calling for urgent action on climate change at a regional meeting in Tuvalu.

Eighteen leaders including Australia’s Scott Morrison, New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern and Fiji’s Frank Bainimarama met for almost 12 hours at the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), and its chair, Enele Sopoaga, the Tuvaluan prime minister, described the talks as “a very, very tough, difficult struggle”.

Some attending nations had hoped all 18 members would commit to policies to limit temperature rises to no more than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, but the leaders agreed to an opt-out from specific measures they opposed.

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Pacific islands will survive climate crisis because they 'pick our fruit', Australia's deputy PM says



Exclusive: Michael McCormack says island nations want Australia to shut down industry ‘so they can survive’


Pacific island nations affected by the climate crisis will continue to survive “because many of their workers come here to pick our fruit”, Australia’s deputy prime minister has said.

Michael McCormack’s comments were made after critical talks at the Pacific Islands Forum that almost collapsed over Australia’s positions on coal and climate change.

Fears are growing the situation might come at a diplomatic cost for Australia in a region where China has become increasingly influential.

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