Australia 'waters down' Tuvalu Forum communique's climate references

Prime Minister Scott Morrison meets with stakeholders and participants of the NDIS during a roundtable meeting at the NDIS in Penrith Sydney

Prime Minister Scott Morrison meets with stakeholders and participants of the NDIS during a roundtable meeting at the NDIS in Penrith Sydney

The NZ Prime Minister says her nation will continue to make the worldwide call for more action on Climate Change because anything less, will have a catastrophic effect on Pacific island countries.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison can expect a hard visit.

Climate change has been the major theme of the forum so far, with pressure mounting on some of the bigger PIF countries, such as New Zealand and Australia, to do more.

The venue is tactical.

Seeking to improve its credentials in the Pacific, Australia this week offered A$500 million (£280 million) to the region to invest in renewables and prepare for the impacts of climate change, although leaders said that was not enough.

"I think by coming to Tuvalu and seeing how extremely vulnerable ... there will be realisation of the plights that people in Tuvalu face", said Prime Minister Enele Sopoga, who is also the chair of this year's forum.

"I will be utterly consistent in the support I hope to have shown the Pacific".

McCormack, who has been the acting prime minister while Scott Morrison attended the forum in low-lying Tuvalu, attended a business function in Wagga Wagga on Friday.

There, a communique was released.

"[Call on] the members of the G7 and G20 to rapidly implement their commitment to phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies".

Australia, which has a large coal mining industry, opposes the proposal.

"Call for. all parties to the Paris Agreement to meet or exceed their nationally determined contributions".

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Beck questioned McCormack at the function on Friday and said she felt "embarrassed" by Australia's lack of urgency during Pacific talks.

"That's not helping the issue of emissions; we know that they understand that", she said.

Their aim was to issue a compelling global call to action from nations on the frontline of climate change ahead of UN talks in NY next month. Indeed, in July, the Australian government unveiled the Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific, which will provide some $1.3 billion for development loans and grants to Pacific partners.

There are reports of tough negotiations on a final communique, with Australia said to be trying to water down the section on climate change.

"I'm concerned about saving my people in Tuvalu and likewise the leaders of other South Pacific small island countries".

"The time to act is now", the statement said.

"That is the thing that we want to see".

Other countries, aside from Australia, had some concerns over the communique.

The text used terms different from those proposed by small island nations in regards to emissions reduction, funding for the United Nations' Green Climate Fund and coal use.

He told reporters he had said to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison: "You are concerned about saving your economy in Australia".

"Like our Pacific Island neighbours, we will continue that worldwide call, we will continue to say that New Zealand will do our bit and we have an expectation that everyone else will as well; we have to".

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