Carry-over credits slammed
Pacific nations do not want Australia to use carry-over credits to meet climate change commitments.
Australia's Foreign Minister Marise Payne says Pacific states “should be pleased” with Australia's actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which includes an accounting trick whereby spare emissions credits are carried over from the Kyoto Protocol to the Paris Agreement.
The Paris Agreement does not have specific rules against using carry-over credits, but Australia's decision to count past efforts towards new targets has not gone over well.
At a recent meeting of the Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF), all nations signed the Nadi Bay Declaration – which calls for a halt on using carryover credits, no new coal mining projects and for coal-fired power generation to be phased out over the next decade.
Signatories included the leaders of Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Timor Leste and Tonga.
Reports say a draft version of the declaration described the use of carry-over credits as “underhanded”, but this was left out of the final document.
Chair of the PIDF, Fiji's Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, said developed economies must make their Paris emissions reduction commitments more ambitious “including and most especially our larger neighbours in the Pacific”.
His strong words come ahead of a meeting with Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison and leaders of the Pacific Islands in two weeks’ time.
“As we look ahead to the Pacific Islands Forum … we should not accept anything less than concrete commitments to curb greenhouse gas emissions in line with the most ambitious aspirations of the Paris Agreement,” Mr Bainimarama said.
“We cannot allow climate commitments to be watered down in the meeting hosted by the nation whose very existence is threatened by the rising waters lapping at its shores.”
Australia Institute climate and energy program director Richie Merzian said the Nadi Bay Declaration should be seen as “a powerful message to Australia … to lift their game on climate action”.
“Prime Minister Morrison will be in Tuvalu in a fortnight to meet regional leaders, and they have made it crystal clear they will advocate for their largest neighbour to step on climate change, including moving away from coal,” he said.
“The Prime Minister will struggle to sell a sensible and balanced approach to climate change when the Pacific have just declared a regional climate emergency.”