Australia should be regional ‘big brother’



Australia’s push to host a global climate conference would be a “contradictory” to the approval of new coal and gas projects, former Pacific leaders say.

Former Kiribati President Anote Tong and former Palau President Tommy Remengesau Jr met with MPs in Canberra on Wednesday to push for stronger action on climate change and halt new projects.

When asked about the federal government’s bid to co-host the United Nations’ COP 29 climate summit in 2024 with its Pacific neighbors, Mr. Tong said it would “seem a contradiction” with support for fossil fuels. fuels.

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“It makes no sense,” he told reporters in Canberra.

“We support hosting in Australia because it would be in our part of the world… but to be a part of something not doing the right thing is wrong.”

Mr Remengesau said the Pacific countries are facing a “very delicate, very dangerous moment”.

“We want Australia as a big brother to set the tone and speak for all of us,” he said.

“That would be a perfect opportunity for the Pacific to really come together as a family and show the rest of the world that we’re doing something meaningful in our own backyard.”

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Mr Tong said that climate change, rather than the actions of major powers, is the main security issue.

He welcomed the government’s new emissions target, but said the policy could be more ambitious.

“Unless we can do more about climate change, our future, the future of my grandchildren, our grandchildren are at stake,” Mr Tong said.

Independent Senator David Pocock, who co-hosted the press conference with the former leaders, said Australia had a “moral responsibility” to stand by its neighbors.

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Meanwhile, Climate Change Secretary Chris Bowen announced on Wednesday that three new members had been appointed to the Climate Change Authority: Dr. Virginia Marshall, Professor Lesley Hughes and Sam Mostyn.

Senator Pocock said the appointments were a “great first step,” but he wanted to see more people with climate science backgrounds.

“We can’t be in a situation where with every change of government we just see all these appointments that are in line with their ideology,” he said.