Pacific leaders, Australia agree to disagree about action on climate change

An aerial view of Funafuti Tuvalu Tuesday

Their aim had been to issue a compelling global call to action from nations on the front line of climate change ahead of UN talks scheduled to be held in NY next month. Australia has recently tried to strengthen its relationships in the Pacific, amid concerns about China's growing influence in the region.

Mr. Marape said he will be vocal about that when he attends the United Nations General Assembly meeting in September this year.

Australia recently announced a $500m package of funding redirected from aid funding to help Pacific countries invest in renewable energy and climate resilience.

Michael McCormack's comments were made after critical talks at the Pacific Islands Forum that nearly collapsed over Australia's positions on coal and climate change.

Mr Sopoaga said Tongan Prime Minister Akilisi Pohiva had been left in tears after one climate change presentation at the forum, saying "such is the passion".

Strategy will consider social, cultural, environmental and economic integrity, sovereignty and security in order to "protect people, place and prospects of the Blue Pacific".

"We stressed very strongly during our exchange, in fact, between me and Scott (Morrison), that you are concerned about saving your economy in your situation", he told reporters.

The acting opposition leader, Richard Marles, said on Friday evening: "These are ignorant comments from the acting prime minister and he should know better".

Fijian prime minister Frank Bainimarama says the communique "settled for the status quo".

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"Their enemies (Australia and its allies) are not our enemies", he said.

Of course, Australia is now led by a dude who once stood next to current Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton while he joked about water lapping at the door of Pacific nations. So.

On Friday, the Guardian newspaper reported that the forum's talks had nearly broke down twice amid "fierce" clashes between Morrison and Sopoaga over Australia's "red lines" on climate change.

"I understand the deep sensitivity to these issues, particularly where we're standing".

In footage obtained exclusively by The Guardian, Michael McCormack can be heard telling an audience that he "gets a little bit annoyed when people in those sorts of countries who point the finger in Australia who say we should be shutting down our resources so they can continue to survive".

It is unlikely to endorse any kind of wording that urges a move away from coal, or to resume payments to the Green Climate Fund.

Australia has always been the largest donor of aid in the Pacific and its new policy is widely seen as an effort to counter the rising influence of China.

Leaders at the Pacific Islands Forum in Tuvalu debated the issue for 12 hours on Thursday but were unable to secure a pledge from Morrison to end coal mining and go carbon neutral by 2050.

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