NATION

Move Away From Fossil Fuels, Fijian PM Urges

Australia must not put the interests of any single industry above the welfare of Pacific peoples and vulnerable people worldwide battling climate change. This was the message from Prime Minister
18 Jan 2019 15:37
Move Away From Fossil Fuels, Fijian PM Urges
From left: Minister For Defence and National Security Inia Seruiratu, Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, Permanent Secretary Prime Minister’s Office Yogesh Karan, Permanent Secretary Foreign Affairs Ioane Naivalurua and High Commissioner to Australia Luke Daunivalu at the end of the Bilateral meeting on January 17, 2019. Photo: DEPTFO

Australia must not put the interests of any single industry above the welfare of Pacific peoples and vulnerable people worldwide battling climate change.

This was the message from Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama to his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison during the welcome reception and official dinner last night at Suva’s Grand Pacific Hotel.

He said the only way to guarantee the survival of Pacific island countries was for Australia to shift away from fossil fuels.

“I urged your predecessor repeatedly to honour his commitment to a clean energy future; the only future that guarantees the survival of your neighbours in the Pacific,” Mr Bainimarama said.

“The consensus from the scientific community is clear and the existential threat posed to Pacific Island countries is a certainty.”

Mr Bainimarama said Fiji would remain a climate change champion.

“I hope that Australia and the Australian people join us on the frontlines of the global campaign for climate action. Because as we talk about the many steps of our relationship, including this ‘step up’, we must not

forget that the steps we take leave footprints and the impact of our actions today must be mindful of the legacy, and the consequences, that mark this path.”

He reiterated the climate realities faced by Fijians.

“Here in Fiji, climate change is no laughing matter; the threat faced by Fijians, and all Pacific Islanders, is enormous, and with each passing day that danger becomes more serious,” Mr Bainimarama said.

“Our countries are being rocked by more frequent and more severe cyclones and deadlier flooding, with every storm carrying the disastrous potential to bring our entire economy to its knees.

“The rising seas threaten whole communities, forcing them to endure the trauma of relocating from land they’ve called home for generations.

“And Fijian farmers are watching their crops perish in soil that has been spoiled by the heightened salinity levels associated with sea level rise.”

Mr Morrison responded that Mr Bainimarama’s passion was evident when it came to climate change issues.

Edited by Epineri Vula

Feedback: selita.bolanavanua@fijisun.com.fj

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