Pacific islands back Australia joint bid to host Cop 29

  • : Emissions
  • 22/07/15

The Australian government's plans to co-host the Cop 29 UN climate summit in 2024 with its Pacific island neighbours received support from regional leaders atthis week's annual meeting of the Pacific Island Forum (PIF) held in Suva, Fiji.

The move by the recently elected Labor federal government in Australia aims to demonstrate to the global community that the country is serious about being a progressive partner in reducing global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions after delay and obstruction by the previous coalition administration and to reset relations with the Pacific island region, which has demanded Australia deepen it GHG cuts.

"In the (PIF) communique it is reflected the support of all of, every single one of, the island nations support for our bid for a Conference of the Parties on climate change to be held with Australia and the Pacific," Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese said after the PIF leaders meeting.

The conference itself, the lead-up to Cop 29, consists of a meeting of the world's leaders and also consists of a range of advance forums and activities in the years leading up to it, Albanese said. "That is something in which I asked Pacific islanders leaders to think about what contribution they could make and how they could be involved and engaged and involved. They were interested in doing that."

The decision to award the hosting of Cop 29 will not be made until Cop 27, which is being held at Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt in November. "There are other bidders, my understanding is Germany, for example, is one bidder to host the conference," Albanese said. "I think it really helps Australia's chances of hosting, the fact that we have such strong support from the Pacific."

Pacific island leaders have called for deeper GHG cuts to avoid the impact of climate change as many of the countries dotted across the Pacific Ocean are susceptible to rising seas levels as global average temperature increase.

Pacific island leaders welcomed the Australian government's deeper GHG emissions reduction by 2030 to 43pc below 2005 levels from the previous target under the previous administration of a 26-28pc cut.

"Throughout every meeting and discussion I've held this week, I have been clear and consistent in our asks for more ambitious climate commitments," Fiji prime minister Frank Bainimarama said during the PIF. "We simply cannot settle for anything less than the survival of every Pacific Island country."

"Most urgently, it requires that we end our fossil fuel addiction, including coal. That is our ask of Australia. That is our ask of New Zealand, the USA, India, the European Union, China and every other high-emitting country," Bainimarama said.

Australia is the world's second largest exporter of thermal coal and around 60pc of electricity in east Australia is generated from coal-fired power plants.

Developed nation funding

The Pacific islands also depend on funding from developed nations, such as Australia, to finance climate change adaption and mitigation measures. Australia's former prime minister Scott Morrison in November last year pledged A$500mn ($337mn) in international climate financing over the next five years to a total of A$2bn to support Pacific island countries and southeast Asia to tackle the impact of climate change. But the funding would not be allocated through the Green Climate Fund (GCF).

The GCF is the UN's main vehicle to transfer $100bn/yr from developed to developing countries by 2020, which was a pledge made by developed nations in 2010.Australian foreign minister Penny Wong said the government has not made a final decision yet on rejoining the GCF.

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