Australia Puts Coal Ahead of Pacific Survival

If a ban or limitation of coal is not in today’s 50th Pacific Islands Forum communique, it will be because Australia has bullied its Pacific Island neighbours into taking it out.

“This Government’s fixation on coal puts Australia in direct conflict with Pacific leaders fighting for the future of their nations,” said Richie Merzian, Climate & Energy Program Director at the Australia Institute.

“Being a partner with our Pacific neighbours means listening to them and working with them – not bullying them.

“In addition to committing to no new coal, the Prime Minister must rule out the use of Kyoto credits – a dodgy loophole that lets Australia off the hook when it comes to cutting emissions.

“Analysis from the Australia Institute shows that if Australia were to use this pollution loophole, it would be the equivalent of around eight years’ fossil fuel emissions for the Pacific, including New Zealand. 

“Australia can’t be constructive leader in the region while the nation undermines climate change efforts.

“Today will be a test for the Prime Minister – a choice between forcing a no-coal communique on smaller Pacific nations,  or listening regional neighbours pleading for real climate action and a future for their children.”

Pacific leaders have been clear that real action on climate change will mean no new coal mines:

“No matter how much money you put on the table it doesn’t give you the excuse not to do the right thing, which is cutting down your emissions, including not opening your coalmines.” [Enele Sopoaga, Prime Minister of Tuvalu, 14 August 2019]

“…It’s very disheartening that (Australia’s) actions are not parallel with what we know they understand in terms of our situation.” [Hilda Heine, President of the Marshall Islands, 14 August 2019]

“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.” [Frank Bainimarama, Prime Minister of Fiji, 12 August 2019]