GREENPEACE’S Pacific Net head, Matisse Walkden-Brown, says Australia is either with the coal industry or with the Pacific.
She was responding to this week’s lobby trip by Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, to meet the CEO of the company behind the proposed Carmichael mega-mine, Gautam Adani.
“This week, Australia has truly shown its tireless commitment to selling out Pacific islanders,” she said.
“If the Carmichael coal mine goes ahead, it would supply 2.3bn tonnes of coal to be burnt over the next 60 years, fuelling catastrophic climate change.
“Typically, in an attempt to remain being seen as a friend to the Pacific, and continue fending off Chinese advances, Australia’s Ambassador for Climate Change, Patrick Suckling, came to Fiji in January, with a completely opposing message.”
Earlier this year, Suckling said: “The purpose of my visit here is to talk to the Government and the business community on how Australia and Fiji can strongly work together on the damaging impacts of climate change.
“Both countries take climate change very seriously. It is a serious concern to the region, and part of Australia’s interest in climate change is that we support and work with the Pacific Island nations in terms of meeting the challenges of climate change,” he said.
“The events this week prove once again that Australia’s climate promises to the Pacific are empty sweet nothings. While Australia may claim to consider climate change ‘a serious concern to the region’, they still have plans to double their coal exports in the next 10 years (despite already having a larger share of the seaborne coal market than Saudi Arabia has of the world oil market), which will further fuel catastrophic climate change,” said Ms Walkden-Brown.
“Not content with trampling the rights of Pacific islanders by lobbying for more coal as climate change impacts intensify, PM Turnbull also sold out Australia’s Indigenous people this week, claiming that native title laws “will be fixed” to let the mine go ahead.
“However, in the true Pacific spirit, we remain hopeful that Australia will change their course and join us. Join us in a world moving toward 100 per cent renewable energy. A world that recognises that gains in technology, science, medicine, and other fields that give people a chance at a higher standard of living, are now possible using 100 per cent clean energy.
“A world that accepts that developed and developing countries alike must pave the way, instead of propping up out-dated fossil fuel industries. A world that does not allow for politicised speeches to be dressed up as solutions. A world that understands climate finance is not a bargaining chip to be used against the vulnerable and unfairly affected. A world that knows words, promises, deals and temporary financial gains, cannot absorb carbon. A world that needs fewer coal mines, not more.’’