24. January 2022

As my people move to higher ground, we need Australia to rise above its dangerous addiction to coal


As my people move to higher floor, we need Australia to rise above its dangerous addiction to coal

By Frank Bainimarama

Less than one month in the past I returned from COP26 – probably the most essential international local weather conferences in a technology. The Fijian delegation went to Glasgow with the pursuits of the Pacific and Small Island Developing States on the centre of our strategy. We knew from expertise that we had been concerned in a long-term course of.

But we additionally knew that COP26 wanted to resolve, as a matter of urgency, numerous points that had been holding up progress on each mitigation of local weather change and adaptation to its impacts.

Some Fijians are already retreating to higher ground.

Some Fijians are already retreating to higher floor. Credit:Tourism Fiji 

While we had been happy that the events agreed to keep on observe to hold warming to underneath 1.5 levels, we are deeply involved that the pledges made to date is not going to take us there. It can be clear that many, together with Australia, have positioned far an excessive amount of emphasis on web zero by 2050, on condition that one of the best hope for limiting temperature rise to under 1.5 levels is contingent on what we do between now and 2030.

The settlement within the Glasgow local weather pact to evaluate and improve 2030 targets by 2022 was due to this fact probably the most welcome outcomes of COP26. All signatory events can have to carry larger ambition and extra sturdy insurance policies to COP27 subsequent yr, notably the biggest emitters – and Australia is within the prime 20 of worldwide emitters. We encourage Australia to rethink its current feedback that it’s going to not revisit its 2030 targets. The alternative to contest this important tenet of the pact was throughout COP26, not after it.

While COP26 didn’t obtain the size of commitments we need on the entire, it did present us with the language and choices wanted to enhance stress on those that proceed to favor to drag their toes and shirk their share of the burden.


We additionally need to see extra ambition from the Australian authorities on its dangerous addiction to coal. We perceive the place coal occupies within the Australian economic system and in Australian historical past and tradition however we need to additional discover how we take this feature off the desk. Australia is just not solely in an influential place to section out coal gross sales globally; it’s able to grow to be a centre for international power innovation with its abundance of renewable power potential.

Prime ministers Scott Morrison and Frank Bainimarama at the COP26 summit in Glasgow in November.

Prime ministers Scott Morrison and Frank Bainimarama on the COP26 summit in Glasgow in November. Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

The impacts and prices of local weather change are all too actual for Pacific islanders, and we can’t escape the science. In mild of this actuality, Fiji went to Glasgow with some very particular aims on financing for adaptation. We had struggled to get developed international locations to observe by way of on their dedication to mobilise $100 billion a yr by 2020. Since Glasgow, we now have an settlement for impartial monitoring of these commitments to guarantee we obtain the $100 billion goal as quickly as attainable.

In that vein, I commend Australia for its new Indo-Pacific Carbon Offset Scheme (IPCOS). Trading in carbon credit will assist fill the gaps in financing for adaptation. It is just not a long-term answer, neither is it an alternate to motion to quickly drive down carbon emissions, however the system has benefit.

Australia’s IPCOS will imply that Fijian useful resource house owners and traders in renewable power can generate carbon models that may be bought to Australian firms at a gorgeous value. Empowered by the authorized framework established by our new Climate Change Act, this creates robust incentives to hold pure sources intact in Fiji and appeal to investments in nature-based options. We are additionally very happy that Australia pledged to enhance its local weather finance dedication by $A500 million for the Pacific and south-east Asia.


Agreements like this recognise that, finally, the stakes are the identical for all of us – survival, plain and easy. Just as we are shifting communities to excessive floor to escape sea-level rise, we hold maintain of the ethical excessive floor, and we consider that requires us to do extra. We are one of many first international locations – if not the primary – to undertake a Climate Change Act which suggests authorities ministries should now significantly think about the local weather impression of each program, each initiative and each expenditure.

A rising majority of governments and companies have discarded the drained notion that financial progress and environmental safety are at odds. Profitable enterprise, robust economies and efficient local weather motion go hand in hand. By benefiting from the market potential that lies in carbon neutrality, authorities and enterprise can drive quicker decarbonisation – and assist avert local weather disaster.

It is time to create a brand new period for the planet we name dwelling. Political leaders – if they’re worthy of the time period – have essential levers for change at their disposal. Businesses, state and native governments, native communities, civic organisations, organised labour, religion communities and people in all places should additionally champion change. If we can muster braveness and good will – and if we significantly think about the worth we can pay if our efforts fall brief – then I belief we will prevail.

Frank Bainimarama is the Prime Minister of Fiji. He can be presenting on the Carbon Market Institute’s eighth Australasian Emission Reduction Summit on Thursday.

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