17 Oct 2017

Aust to face heat over new coal mine at Fiji climate meeting

3:23 pm on 17 October 2017

The Pacific Climate Action Network, or PICAN, is calling for a strong commitment at next month's COP 23 meeting in Bonn to a lower limit of global temperature rise.

A high tide across Ejit Island in Majuro Atoll, Marshall Islands on March 3, 2014, causing widespread flooding. Officials in the Marshall Islands blamed climate change for severe flooding in the Pacific nation's capital Majuro.

Flooding caused by huge spring tides which Marshall Islands officials have blamed on climate change. Photo: AFP

Fiji is co-hosting the UN conference on climate change in Germany and is holding a series of preliminary meetings this week in Nadi.

Most Pacific countries have long backed limiting temperature rise to 1.5 degrees celsius abover pre-industrial levels, while New Zealand and Australia have committed to two-degrees in line with most other developed nations.

At the meeting, Australia is set to face criticism over the planned Adani coal mine in Queensland and PICAN's Genevieve Jiva said it should not go ahead.

"At PICAN's press conference we had the Prime Minister of Tuvalu, Enele Sopoaga, who said this was simply not sustainable. We cannot continue to promote coal and continue to open new fossil fuel mines and resources when our islands are sinking."

Ms Jiva said there was a desire to forge a common Pacific position on climate change and on compensation.

Sogi village in Samoa being relocated due to climate change

Sogi village in Samoa being relocated due to climate change Photo: RNZI/Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia

She said while it would be difficult to extract compensation from polluting countries, a climate change insurance proposal may serve the same purpose.

"The government of Tuvalu is putting forward a proposal for a Pacific Climate Change Insurance Facility and one of the ways to pay for those premiums is to have the polluters pay. So we are hoping that that might be an avenue where we can get finance for loss and damage."

New Zealand climate change minister Paula Bennett was due to speak in Nadi today.

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