Fiji welcomes PIF members commitment to cap global warming: PM

Xinhua News Agency | Aug 16, 2019 at 6:54 AM

SUVA, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- Fiji welcomes the commitment by all Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) members to cap global warming at no more than 1.5 degrees centigrade above that of the pre-industrial age, Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said on Friday.

According to a Fijian government statement, Bainimarama, who is in the Tuvalu capital Funafuti to attend the 50th PIF meeting, said on Friday that Pacific Islanders and climate-vulnerable people in the world will welcome their collective declarations at the end of the meeting on the urgent need for the world to step up its response to the climate threat.

"There is no doubt that holding our gathering in one of the Pacific atoll nations whose very existence is threatened has focused the minds of our leaders on the scale of the disaster we face if the world fails to rise to this challenge," he said.

"Fiji welcomes the commitment by all PIF members to cap global warming at no more than 1.5 degrees centigrade above that of the pre-industrial age. This was the cornerstone of our Suva Declaration five years ago that was subsequently endorsed by the world's scientists on the IPCC - the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change."

Fiji also welcomes the commitment by all members to take whatever steps they determine necessary to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and achieve net zero emissions by 2050, which is the only way to remain within the 1.5 degree threshold, he said, adding that as they have made clear, 1.5 is non-negotiable for Pacific Island countries, and they will resist all attempts to derail it in global forums.

The prime minister pointed out that while there has been a great deal of agreement in Funafuti, it is clear that there are differences of opinion, emphasis and approach between the island nations and New Zealand, on the one hand, and Australia on the other.

"Some of these differences inevitably weaken the strength of our collective position on the climate threat and it is disappointing that we could not achieve a unanimous consensus. But I will continue to positively engage with our Australian friends and try to persuade them to make a more rapid transition from coal to energy sources that do not contribute to climate change," he said.

Leaders attending the meeting on Friday called for urgent and transformational global action to tackle climate change, saying that the time to act is now.

The four-day meeting officially kicked off on Tuesday night in Funafuti with the participation of leaders and representatives from the regional organization's 18 member countries and territories.

During the meeting with the theme of "Securing Our Future in the Pacific," the PIF leaders mainly discussed the issues such as climate change, economic development, maritime security and marine pollution. And on Friday, the PIF leaders met with all Forum Dialogue Partners including China with a focus on greater global action on combatting climate change and protecting the ocean.

Founded as an inter-governmental organization in 1971, PIF aims to enhance cooperation between countries and territories of the Pacific region.