Morrison defies Pacific ‘family’, seeks to remove Australian coal phase-out from Pacific Islands Forum communique

SYDNEY, Aug 14, 2019 - Australia is poised to become “the pariah of the Pacific” after Australian officials told regional leaders that the Morrison Government would not sign onto any joint declaration that mentioned phasing out coal.

Earlier today the PM arrived at the Pacific Islands Forum meeting in Tuvalu, where the heads of island nations had already made progress on a communique that calls for states to rule out new coal mines and eventually phase out the climate-destroying commodity.

“The Prime Minister of Tuvalu was very clear this morning – Australia’s money is useless if the country continues to open new coal mines, exacerbating the climate crisis we are facing in the Pacific. How does Morrison reconcile calling the Pacific family while he persistently ignores our demands for Australia to reduce its emissions?” Greenpeace’s Head of Pacific, Joseph Moeono-Kolio, said.

“Australia’s logic is self-defeating and signals to us that the only ‘family’ Morrison knows is cash and coal. Not only is Morrison refusing to have Australia do its part, he is now sabotaging efforts by our own Pacific leaders to fight the crisis which is already causing harm to our islands.”

Ahead of the Pacific Island Forum leaders’ meeting the heads of Small Island Developing States signed the Nadi Bay Declaration, which calls on countries to rule out new coal mines with an eye to a phase-out, and to stop using Kyoto carry-over credits to meet emissions reductions targets.  

Earlier in the week Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama advised Australia “to do everything possible to achieve a rapid transition from coal to energy sources that do not contribute to climate change”.

“Scott Morrison has done the exact opposite of what the leaders of the Pacific have asked Australia to do, and placed Pacific communities who are on the frontlines of the climate crisis in an even more precarious position,” Moeono-Kolio said

“Morrison’s callous indifference to the plight of Pacific Islanders suggests he has no problem sacrificing entire nations for the short-term profits of his backers in the coal industry”

 

Contacts:

Greenpeace Australia Pacific Communications Campaigner, Martin Zavan0424 295 422 / [email protected]