9 Sep 2015

Abbott warned he may face cold shoulder at Pacific Forum

8:02 pm on 9 September 2015

Greenpeace has warned Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott faces a cold shoulder from other Pacific island leaders when he attends the Pacific Islands Forum in Port Moresby.

The environment group's chief executive David Ritter says it would be nice if the Australian and New Zealand governments tried not to water down language in a Pacific Island Forum statement on climate change to be released later this week.

He says Australia and New Zealand are bad neighbours.

Six small island states issued a declaration on Monday calling for a global moratorium on all new coal mines but it is unlikely the move will get the backing within the wider forum of 16 nations, which includes Australia and New Zea;and.

The President of Kiribati, Anote Tong, says the Forum could split over the climate change issue, claiming this may be necessary to reach a uniform position on climate change.

His Palau counterpart Tommy Remengesau echoes his sentiments, saying the time for talk has ended and that urgent action is needed which would require greater unity.

"This is the challenge facing regionalism is what can we do that brings out the most good for everybody, especially when it comes to matters of life and death and survival, sustainability. Those issues are the very reason why there is a Pacific Islands Forum. If you don't believe in those then there really should be no solid effort here."

Prime Minister John Key (left) and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott at the  Australian Memorial at Pukeahu National War Memorial.

Isolated? Leaders of New Zealand and Australia are under scrutiny at the Forum over their government's climate change responses. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Meanwhile, David Ritter accuses Mr Abbott of being missing in action on the welfare of Pacific neighbours.

He says it's appropriate for him to face a cold shoulder, because he's dealing with people facing an existential threat and he's not treating them respectfully.

The Abbott government has announced a carbon emissions reduction target of 26-28 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030 which has been criticised for lacking ambition.

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