Smaller Pacific Island states are asking Australia to ban new coal mines but it seems a similar demand has not been made of Papua New Guinea.
PNG recently announced K10 million in government funding to support the development of coal mining in Gulf province.
A bloc of seven small Pacific Island States — Cook Islands, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau and Tuvalu – seem either unaware of PNG’s position on coal mining or willing to overlook it in the interests of island solidarity.
The smaller states should come out and make their position on coal mining in PNG clear – or face accusations of double standards. And PNG should publicly declare whether or not it continues to support coal mining.
Pacific Islands Forum: Tony Abbott to be asked to ban new coal mines, take stronger stand on climate change
Liam Cochrane | ABC News
Prime Minister Tony Abbott will be asked to ban new coal mines and support a more ambitious target for limiting global warming when he attends the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) in Papua New Guinea today.
The leaders of Pacific nations that lie just metres above sea level say for them climate change is a matter of life and death.
They want more support from Australia and New Zealand ahead of a crucial climate change meeting in Paris in December.
“I think they need to come to the party, if they really are our friends then they should be looking after our future as well,” Kiribati’s president Anote Tong said earlier this week.
“What we are talking about is survival, it’s not about economic development… it’s not politics, it’s survival.”
Mr Abbott will be asked to support a ban on new coal mines — a position at odds with his comments that coal is “good for humanity”.
Mr Tong has warned Australia could be asked to leave PIF if it does not take a stronger stand on climate change.
Kiribati, with its population of 110,000 spread across 33 low-lying islands, is particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels.
The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), which includes Pacific Ocean countries like Tuvalu and Palau, said it was realistic about its chances of convincing Australia to give up its lucrative fossil fuel assets.
“We’re simply seeking for the rights of small island states to survive,” Tuvalu’s prime minister Enele Sopoaga, who is the new chair of AOSIS, said this week.
“We feel our security is compromised; survival of the people of the Pacific is compromised.”
Pacific nations also want to limit global temperature increases to just 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
They say the current goal of 2 degrees could see their homes under water.
The low-lying island nations of the Pacific emit a relatively small amount of carbon, but are predicted to be the first affected by sea-level rise and extreme weather events caused by global warming.
Mr Abbott will take part in the main PIF leaders retreat on Thursday.