Australia will be granting a USD 340 million climate change package to the pacific island countries to help them invest in renewable energy projects
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced that Australia will be granting an AU$ 500 million (USD 340 million) climate change package to the pacific island countries. The move to grant the funding has been in response to the constant demands being made by the Island nations for their powerful neighbour to cut down on its carbon emissions.
The announcement was made before the minister schedule travel to the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) in Tuvalu, where island nations threatened by rising seas have vowed to put global warming at the top of the agenda. Smaller members of the 18-nation grouping have been sharply critical of Australia’s climate policies ahead of this year’s summit amid a diplomatic push from Canberra to counter China’s growing power in the region.
High-level representatives from the likes of Tuvalu, Palau and Vanuatu have criticised Australia for not doing enough, with Fiji’s Frank Bainimarama saying Canberra’s reliance on coal poses an “existential threat” to low-lying islands.
According to the minister, the fund which has been drawn from the states existing international aid budget will be utilised for funding green energy and climate resilience initiatives in the Pacific island nations.
In a statement, Morrison said the funding “highlights our commitment to not just meeting our emissions reduction obligations at home but supporting our neighbours and friends.”
“We’re here to work with our Pacific partners to confront the potential challenges they face in the years ahead.”
The money is aimed at helping Pacific countries invest in renewable energy, as well as improving infrastructure in roads, hospitals, and schools to withstand extreme weather events.
There has also been disquiet in the Pacific that Australia recently approved the giant Adani coal mine in Queensland state. The minister has, however, staunchly defended Australia’s climate record, insisting the country will meet its 2030 emissions reduction target set under the Paris Agreement.
“The AU$ 500 million accounting trick will do nothing to address the cause of the climate crisis that threatens the viability of the entire Pacific,” Greenpeace’s Pacific head Joseph Moeono-Kolio said in a statement.