Australian coal is sinking our Pacific islands

Coal burning power station. Coal is the dirtiest fossil fuel and a major conributor to climate change. File photo/Pixabay

Australia, the world’s largest coal exporter, is actively trying to undermine the Pacific islands by continuing to promote coal – the dirtiest of the fossil fuels that are driving the world’s warming climate. 

As Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull prepares to meet with his island counterparts this week in Apia, Samoa, Pacific civil society groups say Australia’s promotion of coal puts their communities at risk.

Pacific island countries, including some of the world’s most vulnerable low-lying islands, are demanding greater ambition to tackle climate change and renewed political commitment to the 2015 Paris Agreement.

The Vanuatu flag flies at a 2014 blockade of Australian coal export port Newcastle by Pacific islanders campaigning against climate change. Photo: 350.org

The Vanuatu flag flies at a 2014 blockade of Australian coal export port Newcastle by Pacific islanders campaigning against climate change. Photo: 350.org

On Thursday, Pacific Islands Forum leaders will consider a ‘united’ Pacific voice to take to the COP23 climate negotiations in November.  At those talks – to be held in Bonn, Germany – the world’s eyes will be on the Pacific as Fiji takes over as president of the UN climate negotiations, the first time a small island developing state has held this important role.

However, members of the Pacific Islands Climate Action Network (PICAN) say there is a low probability of an authentic ‘united’ Pacific voice being forged in Apia, with Australia’s presence and economic interests being historically responsible for watering-down regional climate declarations.

Australia’s continued promotion of coal – the dirtiest of the fossil fuels that are driving the world’s warming climate — jeopardises negotiation outcomes, and ultimately the safety of the entire Pacific region.

Maina Talia, from the Tuvalu Climate Action Network (TuCAN), said Pacific island leaders Read the rest of this entry »

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Pacific Week of Agriculture 2017 announces theme in preparation for October’s premier event

Pacific Week of Agriculture 2017 logo

The Pacific Week of Agriculture was officially launched yesterday with presentation of the event’s overarching theme and its branding. Agriculture Minister Matai Seremiah congratulated the organising committee for coming up with the theme of CROPS – standing for Culture, Resilience, Opportunities, Products and Sustainability.

The Minister said, “Government believes the theme fits in well with much of what Pacific countries are trying to achieve in the agriculture sector through their national agendas, and for Vanuatu, with the People’s Plan 2030. When it comes to tourism we have to talk about products. What kind of products do we want to produce to meet tourist demand?”

The first-ever Pacific Week of Agriculture PWA opens 16 October here in Port Vila and will become an annual event for the region’s farmers and agritourism businesses.

The event is being hosted by the Vanuatu Government, with support from the Pacific Community (SPC), the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the ACP-EU Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) in the Netherlands.


Pacific Forum Island Countries’s Chief Trade Adviser declares his independence

Ghanaian lawyer Dr Edwini Kessie – Chief Trade Adviser for OCTA. Photo: OCTA

Ghanaian lawyer Dr Edwini Kessie – Chief Trade Adviser for OCTA. Photo: OCTA

The Chief Trade adviser for the Forum Island Countries, Dr Edwin Kessie, defends the integrity of his position and denies he or his office takes instructions from Australia or New Zealand, he says Read the rest of this entry »


Vanuatu one year after Pam: we need to talk about cyclones

A father and daughter stand in the wreckage of their home after Cyclone Pam. Photo: Unicef/Further Arts

A ni-Vanuatu father and daughter stand in the wreckage of their home after Cyclone Pam. Photo: UNICEF/Further Arts

By Karen Allen

Something is seriously wrong in the Pacific.

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