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Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama speaking at the 4th Australasian Emissions Reduction Summit in Melbourne, Australia, on May 2, 2017. Photo: DEPTFO News
May 03
11:00 2017

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama yesterday made a second impassioned plea to United States President Donald Trump on climate change.

“Mr President, please do not abandon the Paris Agreement. Stay the course,” he said.

“Listen to those around you who are encouraging you to do so. Don’t let the whole side down by leaving when we have a clear game plan and have put so many scores on the board.

“Let’s see this process through for the benefit of all 7.5 billion people on Planet Earth, including your own citizens in the vulnerable parts of America.”

Mr Bainimarama made the new plea during the opening of the 4th Australasian Emissions Reduction Summit in Melbourne, Australia.

Shortly after his appointment as president of COP23, he made his first call on Mr Trump, to not withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate.

He wrote to Mr Trump and asked that the US continue to take a leadership role as “we confront undoubtedly the greatest challenge of our age.”

This second plea underscores the seriousness in which Mr Bainimarama regards the threat by Mr Trump to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, abolish the Environment Protection Authority’s climate policy role, scrap former US President Barack Obama’s centerpiece Clean Power Plan and dismantle any curbs on fossil fuel developments.

Mr Bainimarama had also asked his Australian counterpart, Malcolm Turnbull, during their meeting in Sydney on Sunday, to reinforce his message when he met with Mr Trump.

Mr Turnbull will head to the United States this week where he will meet Mr Trump.

And, he will be taking an important message from Mr Bainimarama.

“So my message to Donald Trump and the message I hope that Prime Minister Turnbull will also convey to him is very simple.”

Mr Bainimarama also called on countries to come through on promises regarding climate change funding and COP23 meetings.

Mr Bainimarama spoke candidly about Fiji’s presidency of COP23 which will be held in Bonn, Germany in November.

“We must preserve at all costs, the historic achievement that was reached in Paris at the end of 2015; the multilateral consensus to take decisive action to reduce carbon emissions and arrest the current rate of global warming.

“The Paris Agreement must be implemented in full and the groundwork laid for even more ambitious action down the track.  And that means every nation fulfilling the pledges they made in Paris. And demonstrating an unwavering commitment to see this process through.”

At the Melbourne event were key business decision-makers, climate policy leaders and private sector investors.

Mr Bainimarama also highlighted the need for civil society groups and the private sector to play an increasingly important role during COP23.

“Our No. #1 priority is to build a grand coalition of governments, civil society and the private sector to defend and uphold the Paris Agreement. And formulate a plan of action for everyone.”

While thanking the German government for funding part of the cost of COP23, he called other countries to do their part.

“The COP23 in Bonn is a selfless act of generosity on the part of the German government and the German people that we in the Pacific will never forget.

“Of course, we still have to fund the Fijian presidency itself. And we have gone to the world seeking support in the form of contributions to enable us to do this job properly on behalf of everyone. I have to say that the response so far has been disappointing.

“And if any of you can assist with this effort, I am especially keen to hear from you. Because we have a lot of ground to cover in the next six months and we need to do it well.”

Edited by Jonathan Bryce


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