SYDNEY – The Australian government announced on Tuesday the creation of a fund to finance projects that will help Pacific island countries fight the climate crisis caused by global warming.
The climate change package, worth around 500 million Australian dollars ($337 million) over five years, is meant to help Pacific nations to invest in renewable energy and improve infrastructure, hospitals and schools to better cope with extreme weather events.
“The Pacific is our home, which we share as a family of nations. We’re here to work with our Pacific partners to confront the potential challenges they face in the years ahead,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a statement.
The prime minister, whose government has so far avoided introducing laws to meet the signed objectives of the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change, announced the package ahead of his participation in the Pacific Islands Forum, which is set to be held until Friday in Tuvalu.
The climate emergency is the main issue on the table for the forum, as the Pacific is the planet’s most affected region and is already experiencing the results of rising sea levels and extreme weather events.
The existence of several island nations in the Pacific is being threatened due to their loss of territory and the progressive salinization of soil and drinking water.
In May 2019, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, described the climate emergency as “the defining issue of our time” during a visit of several countries in the South Pacific, in which he warned of the fading political will to fight climate change.