Wale questions PICs’ stand on climate change

Matthew Wale
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LEADER of Opposition, Matthew Wale urges the Pacific Island Countries to work with Australia and China to reduce climate.

Wale raised this call in Parliament yesterday after PIC could not come up with an ambitious climate action as a result of Australia’s refusal to cut down on coal mining during the recent 50th Pacific Islands Forum in Tuvalu.

“If we, the region with the most vulnerable, the least contributors of emissions, the weakest to meet the costs associated with action, cannot agree to be ambitious on climate action – how can we expect ambition from other countries in the world,” he said.

Wale said Temotu Pele will be wiped out at some stage in not too distant future.

“So will 90 percent of Aoke Langalanga, Malaita Outer Islands, Kwai & Ngongosila, Walande & Fanalei, much of Santa Ana, most of the Marovo lagoon, Roviana lagoon, Taro Island, Wagina, to name a few of our communities that will for certain be faced with the need to relocate to higher ground.

“These are the vulnerable communities in Solomon Islands who expect leadership on climate action from PIF leaders,” he said.

Wale said clearly, Solomon Islands is not exempt from the effects of climate change and sea level rise.

“It is from this context that I must express my disappointment with the lack of ambition in the communique issued by the Leaders,” he said.

Wale noted the position Australia took in those discussions made it difficult to arrive at an ambitious statement on climate action.

“As climate change and sea level rise are existential threats to us in the Pacific Islands, there must be other ways to work in international fora to seek consensus on ambitious climate action.

“Australia’s emissions contribution is only 1%. But this is not the issue for PICs,” he said.

Wale said it is important that all PICs work strategically with Australia to seek a change in the use of carry over credits.

He said Australia’s carry over credits cannot pass off as ambitious targets.

“Australia’s carry over credits represent 8 years of emissions by NZ and all PICs combined.

“No other developed country is using those. In fact, all other countries accept that carry over credits under Kyoto are a loop hole in the Paris Agreement.”

Wale said PICs must persuade Australia to take the same line.

He said the consequences for them are existential.

Wale said almost all of Australia’s coal is exported to China.

“Although we note the positive remarks made by China at the PIF meeting that it will work with PICs in climate action, we know that China continues to export and build coal fired power plants throughout the world.

“China’s emissions are 28 percent, followed by the US at 15 percent, India at six percent, Russia at five percent Japan four percent and so on, “he said.

Wale said PICs must be proactively working with all these countries to encourage ambition.

“The consequences for us are certain. China’s track record calls into question the sincerity of its statement.

“But the PICs must work with China,” he said.

Wale said u unfortunately, Solomon Islands’ sustained policy of deforestation over so many years mitigate our calls for ambitious climate action.

“This is a matter we ought to be ashamed of,” he said.

Parliament had adjourned to Monday, September 9.