Climate Change

Greta Thunberg: 'Leaders failed us on climate change'

"You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words," she told a UN climate summit in New York.

About 60 world leaders are taking part in the one-day meeting organised by UN Secretary General António Guterres.

He earlier said countries could only speak at the summit if they came with action plans to cut carbon emissions.

US President Donald Trump, a climate change sceptic, had not been expected at the meeting - but he was briefly spotted in the audience.

Samoan PM stresses importance of energy and transport to tackle climate change

Speaking at the opening of the 4th Pacific Regional Energy and Transport Ministers meeting in Apia, the prime minister said that energy and transport are at the crux of global efforts to tackle climate change and achieve sustainable development objectives.

“I understand that this will be the opportunity to review commitments and progress with regard to the provision of sustainable, modern and efficient energy services, and sustainable, reliable and safe transportation and mobility in the Pacific islands region,” he said.

Samoa PM downplays Tuvalu tension

He said the tension was to be expected.

The Samoa Observer reported Tuila'epa saying the leaders' retreat at the forum summit was a place where leaders were encouraged to have frank exchanges of ideas to resolve difficult issues confronting the region.

Part of the tension in Tuvalu was the way Australia drove its perspectives home by reminding leaders of the aid Canberra had provided the region, he said.

But Australia should pay attention to climate change for its own benefit, Tuilaepa said.

Local fishing in Samoa facing climate of uncertainty

The Assistant Chief Executive Officer of the Fisheries Division, Magele Etuati Ropeti, says that while fish continues to be Samoa's number one export earner (taro and nonu are second and third) its long-term growth cannot be presumed. 

 A recently-released report, making use of modelling from Pacific fisheries authorities forecast that by 2050 the population of Skipjack tuna will increase by 40 per cent by 2050 as climate change makes fish move into cooler waters). 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announces $150m Pacific climate funding

Ms Ardern made the announcement in Tuvalu, where she is attending the 18-nation Pacific Islands Forum which starts today.

She said the government was ring-fencing half of its global commitment to climate change-related development, to ensure it went to the Pacific.

The funding will go towards providing infrastructure such as water tanks, better tools for dealing with droughts, floods and coastal inundation, as well as further climate hazard mapping and risk planning.

Australia says its committed to addressing climate change

Last week a number of Pacific nations signed a declaration calling for greater action against what they called a "Climate Crisis" and an end to coal mining.

Palau's President Tommy Remengesau Junior also made a plea for Australia to take further climate action and the environmental NGO Greenpeace said the country should step aside from engaging in the region, if it wasn't going to change its policies around coal and energy.

World Bank to prioritise climate change resilience in Pacific

Its vice president for East Asia and the Pacific, Victoria Kwakwa, was in Tonga last week for talks.

Ms Kwakwa said the World Bank was working closely within Australia's Step Up and New Zealand's Pacific Reset programmes.

"We've been working on several things including supporting countries to strengthen their climate change resilience, working to support policy reforms to build their economic resilience and we're also working together on the connectivity agenda," Ms Kwakwa said.

"As you know, this region is very remote, even compared to other small island states."

Call for bold move by Australia to improve Pacific relationship

But observers said no substantial change is expected for Australia's engagement in the region after the Coalition's surprise win at the weekend.

Shane McLeod of the Australian think-tank, the Lowy Institute, said Australia's so-called Pacific step up, a suite of policies and funding initiatives brought in in 2017, will likely continue.

But he said with losses on the hard right, there may be more room for the government to manoeuvre on climate change.

Samoa PM hopeful Australians will vote for climate action

A question on the debate during Australia’s election campaign about climate change was posed to the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres at a press conference in Suva this week.

Guterres replied,” “If I have learned something in more than 20 years of political life is that foreigners should not get involved in electoral debates in other countries, so I do not intend to get involved in the national debate of Australia.”

Tuilaepa, who has been vocal about the effects of climate change in the Pacific, gave his own answer.

Pacific leaders call for urgent global action to reverse climate change

Following a high-level political dialogue with the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres in Suva, the leaders issued a statement saying climate change is the ‘single biggest threat to our Blue Pacific region.”

Forum Chair and Nauru President, Baron Waqa read the statement on behalf of the leaders.

The Pacific leaders said all countries must take decisive and transformative action to reduce global emissions and ensure at scale mitigation and adaptation support for those countries that need it.