Fijian PM hits back at Morrison’s UN speech, saying there is ‘no alternative’ to a coal phaseout

NEW YORK, Sept 26, 2019 - The only credible way to address the climate crisis is to end the use of coal, Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama tweeted moments after Scott Morrison defended Australia’s climate inaction at the UN General Assembly. 

“Unless we stop burning coal, we have no hope of achieving net-zero emissions in 31 years’ time”, Mr Bainimarama said on Twitter.

The Pacific leader made the comments following a speech the Australian prime minister used to muddy the waters around climate action by putting a focus on reducing plastic waste and increasing recycling rates. 

Greenpeace’s Head of Pacific, Joseph Moeono-Kolio applauded the leadership shown by the Fijian Prime Minister and other Pacific leaders here at the summit.

“Morrisson’s non-committal tone on climate action was followed by PM Bainimarama who spoke to the truth of the matter. This is what real climate leadership looks like. 

“Despite Australia’s recent refusal at the Pacific Islands Forum to back Pacific leaders’ calls to end new coal, those leaders have shown that they won’t step back from their calls to action. They continue to demonstrate moral authority on climate action. 

“Scott Morrison’s longstanding refusal to address the single largest contributor to climate change shows that he continues to prioritise the short term profits of the coal industry over the future of entire Pacific peoples.

“Mr Bainimarama’s calls are consistent with the science that demands we phase out coal as quickly as possible.” 

The comments come as the latest UN climate report, released last night, warns of dire consequences for coastal communities and low-lying islands such as those in the Pacific, with climate change driving potentially rapid and irreversible loss of Pacific home lands.

“In the Pacific, we are living the reality of the climate emergency every day, with sea-level rise, increasing king tides, and storm surges already causing severe damage to our homes, our national infrastructure, livelihoods and our food sources and threatening to wipe out our cultures, our histories, and the very things that make us Pacific peoples.”


For interviews:

Greenpeace Australia Pacific Communications Campaigner, Martin Zavan

0424 295 422

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