NEWS

PM To Turnbull, Don’t Betray Our Stand

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has made a special plea to his Australian counterpart. He told Malcolm Turnbull: “Make good on your previous strong stance in favour of deep and binding
29 Oct 2015 13:25
PM To Turnbull, Don’t Betray Our Stand
Fijian PM Voreqe Bainimarama and his Australian counterpart, Malcolm Turnbull.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has made a special plea to his Australian counterpart.

He told Malcolm Turnbull: “Make good on your previous strong stance in favour of deep and binding cuts in carbon emissions. Do not do deals with those who have enabled you to gain high office and betray your principles and our position”

Mr Turnbull had been a strong advocate on measures to combat climate change – before he became PM.

Mr Bainimarama made his plea at the closing of the Pacific Ministers Meeting on Strengthening Climate Change Resilience at Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa, Denarau, Nadi, last night,

He said Australia and New Zealand “have failed to back us in this struggle. The Australian Government, in particular, seems intent on putting its own immediate economic interests first.

“I implore you to put our welfare and our very existence as Pacific islanders before your energy sector. I implore you to highlight to your people that such economic practices are only for short-term gains and not sustainable economically and environmentally, thereby undermining future growth potential.

“I urge you to impose a moratorium on the development of further reserves of Australian coal. It is the dirtiest of energy sources. And there is no place for it in a world that desperately needs cleaner energy to halt the present rate of global warming.”

Mr Bainimarama said he was encour aged by the recent groundswell of public opinion within Australia calling for a ban on new coal mines and the expansion of existing ones. “This includes an appeal by 61 prominent Australians published yesterday for such a ban to be placed firmly on the agenda of the Paris summit. And for the carbon reduction targets contained in the Suva Declaration to be adopted by the entire world.

“I urge you, Mr Turnbull, to heed that call. And to side with us in the Pacific against the proponents of coal and the climate change deniers in your own government. You have shown leadership on this issue before. Now that you have the job of prime minister and can really make a difference, please show leadership again.”

Mr Bainimarama said he feared that Cop-21 climate conference in Paris next month “can be a cop out”.

He said he went to the Pacific Ministers Meeting on Strengthening Climate Change Resilience at Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa, Denarau, Nadi last night, with “a deep sense of foreboding.”

Mr Bainimarama said five weeks away from the United Nations conference, he had yet to detect the necessary political will of the industrialised nations to face up to their obligation to humanity to effectively confront this crisis.

He said unless the world “acts decisively in the coming weeks to begin addressing the greatest challenge of our age, then the Pacific, as we know it, is doomed. “Doomed to suffer the most negative impact of the rising temperatures caused by the carbon emissions that have accompanied the industrial age,” he said. “In fact, we in the Pacific are innocent bystanders in the greatest act of folly of any age. The industrialised nations putting the welfare of the entire planet at risk so that their economic growth is assured and their citizens can continue to enjoy lives of comparative ease. All at the expense of those of us in low lying areas of the Pacific and the rest of the world.

He said in Paris, “there can be dozens of speeches but they can be more of the same.”

“The world’s biggest polluters giving lip service to the need for effective cuts in carbon emissions. Yet stalling – once again – on taking the hard decisions we all know are required to ensure our futures and save our planet,” he said.

“Speaking personally, I won’t be going to Paris wearing the usual friendly, compliant Pacific smile. In fact, I won’t be going to Paris in a Pacific frame of mind at all. Standing shoulder to shoulder with the other island leaders, I will sternly remind the industrialised nations of their obligations and press as hard as I can for the adoption of the recent Suva Declaration. To limit the global average temperature increase to less than 1.5 degrees centigrade above pre-industrial levels. And for the Paris agreement to be legally binding on all parties.”

“I fear that the Small Island Developing States – and least developed nations the world over – are destined to leave the French capital empty-handed. I fear that our interests are about to be sacrificed. That might will triumph over reason. Over justice.

“This will happen even though the argument for urgent and decisive action is unassailable. Three of our Pacific neighbours – Kiribati, Tuvalu and the Marshall Islands – are destined to physically sink beneath the waves altogether.

Feedback:  waisean@fijisun.com.fj

 

 

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