Australia is facing pressure to reduce fossil fuel subsides as new figures show a small amount of the spending could fully fund a clean energy transition for eight Pacific countries.
The climate is top of the agenda at this week’s Pacific Island forum in the Cook Islands with Vanuatu calling for radical change to stop emissions.
It comes as a new report released to coincide with the bilateral discussions has highlighted that Pacific nations are on the frontline of the climate crisis despite being responsible for 0.23 per cent of emissions.
The world’s 15 largest-emitting nations account for 71.88 per cent of annual emissions.
Australia is the 15th biggest polluter on that list.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese arrived at Rarotonga yesterday to participate in the talks.
He acknowledged that the climate crisis was “certainly felt most acutely in island states”, and reaffirmed his government’s commitments to climate change.
“We are taking the challenge of climate change seriously, not just domestically but also helping in the Pacific.”
Auimatagi Joe Moeono-Kolio, an adviser to the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative, has told the Guardian in the last year the federal government has handed $11 billion to the fossil fuel industry.
“That’s seven times the amount of money it would take to fund a renewable energy transition for eight Pacific countries.”
The Prime Minister says Australia will announcing more climate funding during the forum.
“We will have further discussions and announcements tomorrow, including specific programs that we’ve been asked to support by Tuvalu.
But it has been extremely positive, the reception that Australia has received here.
There’s a recognition that my government is committed to climate action, and that we are playing a positive role not just with our commitment to reduce our emissions by 43 per cent by 2030 and to reach zero by 2050.
But importantly we are playing a role in the region and indeed around the globe.”
Image Credit AAP/Mick Tsikas