‘A down payment on real action’: COP28 finance package welcome, but Australia must step up for the Pacific

DUBAI/SYDNEY, Thursday 7 December 2023 — The Pacific climate finance package announced by the Australian government today does not go far enough to address accelerating climate harm, says Greenpeace Australia Pacific.

Traditional paopao (canoes) escorted the arriving ship to shore, where those aboard were welcomed by the community of Tuvalu, civil society groups, and addressed by Representatives from the Government of Tuvalu including the Hon. Prime Minister Kausea Natano and the Hon. Minister for Finance and Climate Change Seve Paeniu. © Greenpeace / Sam Pedro

© Greenpeace / Sam Pedro

The announcement comes as Climate and Energy Minister Chris Bowen arrives in Dubai for Week 2 of COP28, where fraught battles over fossil fuel phase out and climate finance are set to be waged.

Head of Pacific at Greenpeace Australia Pacific, Shiva Gounden, said that to meet its responsibility to ‘the Pacific Family’, Australia must take action to phase out fossil fuels and to make fair contributions to the Loss and Damage fund.

“I am frustrated by another piecemeal announcement from the Australian government that does not go far enough to address the climate-driven loss and damage that is devastating communities across the Pacific.

“$150 million barely scratches the surface of what Pacific communities need to deal with the impacts of the climate crisis — peanuts, considering the billions of taxpayer dollars poured into the fossil fuel industry as subsidies every year, which could be channelled towards supporting our Pacific family.

“As the third largest fossil fuel exporter in the world, we can not shirk our responsibility to help pay for the climate damage we have helped to create. The funds committed today will not save the Pacific from the climate destruction it is facing — we must tackle the root causes and stop approving new fossil fuel projects now.

“Australia has a responsibility under the UNFCCC process to help fill the Loss and Damage Fund, operationalised on Day 1 of this year’s COP. Instead, we are seeing unilateral side deals which are not in the spirit of the COP process, nor our obligations under the international agreements to which we have signed up. Australia must do better.”

Head of Advocacy at Greenpeace Australia Pacific, Dr Susie Byers, acknowledged the finance package as a good first step, but urged the Australian government to go much further.

“This finance package, while welcome, is a down payment on the real action required to meet our responsibilities as a major contributor to the climate crisis globally.

“It does not negate our obligation to make fair payments to the Loss and Damage fund, a hard-fought victory at COP27 that will help support those countries least responsible for creating the climate crisis to deal with its impacts.

“Of course we must help the world prepare for the climate disasters that are already coming towards us, but we must also stop making the problem worse. By expanding, subsidising and exporting coal and fossil gas, we are exporting climate harm to our Pacific neighbours and to the whole world.

“We can not afford another COP without radical action and a commitment to phase out fossil fuels globally. Australia must help fill the Loss and Damage fund and outline a clear, ambitious plan to phase out fossil fuels for good.”

—ENDS—

For more information or to arrange an interview please contact:

Kate O’Callaghan in Dubai on +61 406 231 892 (Whatsapp/Signal) or [email protected]

Greenpeace Australia Pacific is on the ground in Dubai during COP28 and can provide a range of COP delegates, experts and Pacific climate leaders for interviews and commentary.