29 Nov 2022

Vanuatu minister urges Australia to stop approving new fossil fuel projects

3:12 pm on 29 November 2022
Ralph Regenvanu, leader of the opposition in Vanuatu.

Vanuatu's Climate Change Minister Ralph Regenvanu Photo: Hilaire Bule

Vanuatu's Climate Change Minister has urged Australia to stop approving new fossil fuel projects if it wants to be a friend to the Pacific.

The Vanuatu Daily Post reports Australia recognised climate change as the single greatest threat to the livelihoods, security and well-being of the Pacific, but the paper reported it is still looking to open new fossil fuel projects and spending huge money in the fossil fuel industry.

Minister Ralph Regenvanu said they know Australia had a transition plan to move away from fossil fuel to renewable energy, but he urged it not to do any new projects and stop funding the fossil fuel industry.

In his remarks at the COP27 in Egypt, the Australian Minister for Development and the Pacific, Pat Conroy said that Australia is rebuilding its relations with the Pacific, after a decade of climate inaction.

Australia is negotiating to co-host the annual United Nations climate summit with Pacific island nations in 2026.

However, Regenvanu said Vanuatu could not endorse Australia's proposal if it invested more in developing fossil fuels and would call on other Pacific countries to adopt the same stance.

Asked if his call could jeopardise the good relationship Vanuatu has with Australia, Regenvanu replied: "I think Australia appreciates us talking frankly and that's what we should be doing, we should be able to disagree and ask each other to do things for each other."

- Vanuatu Daily Post