By Talebula Kate
Fiji has done its part in the fight against climate change by pushing for the first international accord to include the 1.5-degree threshold in the Suva Declaration in 2015 and committing to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, says Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.
“At COP21, in a fury of forceful negotiations in Paris, France, the 1.5-degree guardrail was written into the Paris Agreement on climate change,” he said.
“Fiji has since done our part — legally empowering ourselves to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 through our recently passed Climate Change Act,” he said at a COP26 briefing in Glasgow, Scotland this week.
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“But too few countries have joined us.
“Six years post-Paris, we are on track for 2.7 degrees of warming — a hellish future that will spare no nation,” he said.
“To demand the action we need, the world’s climate champions are marching to Glasgow to the mantra of ‘keep 1.5 alive’ — a battle cry first uttered here in the Pacific.”
PM condemns selfish ‘carbon addicts’
Timoci Vula reports that in his speech at COP26 yesterday, Bainimarama said the world could not let “a coalition of carbon addicts” write out the urgency of accelerating climate action for the survival of low-lying island nations and communities.
Bainimarama said the “1.5” (global warming limit target) was a compromise that Fiji had struck alongside all of the world’s most climate vulnerable nations.
He said they knew then all the human tragedy that level of warming would mean, but it would also ensure that, at the very least, low-lying island nations and communities would survive.
“Six years on, where has that goodwill gotten us? The world’s collective climate commitments will see us fly past 1.5 by the end of the decade.
“We are losing the race to net-zero to a coalition of carbon addicts who would rather fight for coal than for a future of good jobs and innovative industries created by climate ambition,” Bainimarama said.
“These leaders make pledges but won’t show us plans. They even seek to spin the science. But we cannot let them write out the urgency of accelerating action.
“Clean coal, responsible natural gas, and ethical oil are all figments of the selfish mind.
“No matter what they call them, carbon emissions are wrecking the climate. There’s nothing clean, natural or ethical about it.”
Bainimarama claimed other leaders pursued a “policy of appeasement”.
“They sit idly by as their high-emitting counterparts destroy our children’s futures.”
Talebula Kate and Timoci Vula are Fiji Times reporters. Republished with permission.