Former Pacific leaders expressed dismay over the “hollow” promise of Australia over climate actions that ignore the plight of its neighboring small island countries. 

In a statement yesterday, Pacific Elders Voice, a group of former Pacific leaders that include former Palau President Tommy Remengesau Jr. and former Marshall President Hilde Heine said once again Australia failed to “stand beside the Pacific family.

“This was an opportunity for Australia to state beside the Pacific family,” said Ms. Heine.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison earlier announced the climate action plan to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

But Heine said the plan gives very little detail and “none of the clear action on fossil fuels required to keep global warming at the 1.5 degrees Celsius level we know low lying level nations need to survive.”

Former Kiribati president Anote Tong said Australia’s plan lacked urgency and ambition and which is disappointing to the Pacific states. 

“We hoped for far more from our Pacific neighbor. The rest of the world hoped for more, this great nation is becoming more and more isolated due to the Government’s lack of action and ambition on climate change,” he said. 

Former Palau president Remengesau said Australia needs to show concern for its Pacific neighbors.

“Prime Minister Morrison cannot buy himself out of much greater responsibility for urgent and rapid action to reduce emissions at home and to stop the exports of coal, “ Remenegsau said.

The leaders also are disappointed that Australia’s pledge of $500 million for international climate finance will be done bilaterally and not through Green Climate Fund. 

Former Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga said there is little confidence that the money will ever leave Australia and trickle down to developing nations  

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