The Morrison Government’s inaction on climate and energy policy means Australia is not only failing to do its part in tackling climate change but is also suffering serious damage to its standing in the Pacific region.
Pacific island leaders yesterday issued a strongly worded declaration on climate change.
They called on Australia not to engage in the accounting trick of using Kyoto carry-over credits to meet its emissions targets under the Paris Agreement on climate change.
The use of Kyoto carry-over credits to meet the government’s already inadequate targets is not consistent with the spirit of the Paris agreement and is a step backwards in addressing climate change.
Fiji’s Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama said Pacific island nations “should not accept anything less than concrete commitments to curb greenhouse gas emissions in line with the most ambitious aspirations of the Paris Agreement”.
But instead of listening to Australia’s Pacific partners, the Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Alex Hawke, has this morning flatly rejected their views on carry-over credits.
This lack of respect for Pacific views on climate change is harming Australia’s standing and influence in the region, undermining Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s signature foreign policy, the Pacific Step Up.
When Mr Morrison attends the next Pacific Islands Forum leaders’ meeting in Tuvalu later this month he must explain to his counterparts why his Government is not taking meaningful domestic action to reduce Australia’s emissions, is effectively watering down Australia’s emission reduction commitments through the use of accounting tricks, and is failing to help their countries avoid the existential threat posed by climate change.