7 Sep 2015

Small island states worry about PIF climate draft

8:15 pm on 7 September 2015

The leaders of Pacific small island states are worried the region will take a watered down position on climate change after lobbying by Australia and New Zealand.

High tides in Kili Island, Marshall Islands, February 2015.

High tides in Kili Island, Marshall Islands, February 2015. Photo: Kili/Bikini/Ejit Local Government Marshall Islands

A statement on climate change is expected from the Pacific Islands Forum summit being held in Papua New Guinea this week.

A senior official at the small island states leaders' summit has told Islands Business magazine his country is unhappy about the draft statement on climate change.

Islands' Business reports the document, not officially released but in circulation, supports a 2 degrees temperature rise target, instead of the 1.5 degrees being advocated by small island states.

The official says the small nations prefer the strong wording of the Suva Declaration of the Pacific Islands Development Forum summit that concluded in Fiji last week.

The official says the Pacific Island Forum's advocacy for a 2 degrees target would be unacceptable and a separate small island states position to take to the COP 21 meeting in Paris could end up being pushed for.

Meanwhile the New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, who departs for the summit tomorrow, says, on the climate issue, his focus will be outlining New Zealand's achievements.

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Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

"I will be more than happy to talk about, from New Zealand's perspective, what we have done and what we are doing. I think a lot of people understand the makeup and profile of our emissions target but in recent years we have held the Energy Summit in New Zealand, around renewable energy. We have rolled out a lot of those projects around the Pacific, so we will be talking to leaders about how well that's working, the effectiveness of it."