Time for Australia to ‘Answer to the Pacific’, New Zealand PM Asserts
With 18 Pacific Island nations pressing Australia to agree to a global coal phaseout, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is urging Scott Morrison’s climate-denying Liberal coalition to “answer to the Pacific” on the climate crisis.
Ardern stopped short of explicitly calling on Australia to abandon coal, nor did she directly comment on Morrison’s push to water down climate language in the final declaration of the annual Pacific Islands Forum. But she reiterated her own government’s promise to phase out fossil fuels by 2035 and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 30% of 2005 levels.
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“Like our Pacific Island neighbours, we will continue that international call, we will continue to say that New Zealand will do our bit, and we have an expectation that everyone else will as well,” she said. “We have to.”
Ardern’s statement was still enough to spark an exchange between Liberal-affiliated Australian radio host Alan Jones and Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama, EcoWatch reports.
“Here she is preaching on global warming and saying that we’ve got to do something about climate change,” Jones said in an on-air rant Thursday. “I just wonder whether Scott Morrison is going to be fully briefed to shove a sock down her throat.” “Easy to tell someone to shove a sock down a throat when you’re sitting in the comfort of a studio,” Bainimarama tweeted in reply. “The people of the Pacific, forced to abandon their homes due to climate change, don’t have that luxury.”