15 September 2022

Pocock joins Pacific elders in calling for more climate action from Australia

| Chris Johnson
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Four men speaking to media at Parliament House

Senator David Pocock with Pacific Elders Tommy Remengesau Jr and Anote Tong. Photo: Chris Johnson.

Independent Senator for the ACT David Pocock has joined with Pacific island elders in calling for the Australian Government to take stronger action on climate change and embrace policies that could help the very survival of small nations in the region.

Former Kiribati president Anote Tong and former Palau president Tommy Remengesau Jr have been in Canberra representing the independent advisory group Pacific Elders’ Voice to ask for Australia’s help in ensuring a future for tiny island states.

Mr Tong is a longtime visitor to Australia and has been fighting for action on climate for nearly two decades.

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In 2015 he led a call for a moratorium on new fossil fuel projects, saying then that more such ventures would see the demise of his country.

In Canberra this week, the former president said he was still asking and waiting for the moratorium.

He pointed to science that predicted Kiribati and other small island nations would not be habitable by 2060 unless drastic action is implemented immediately.

“Our purpose in coming here at this time was very deliberate because we hope that your government is still formulating its policies on climate change and we thought this would be a great opportunity to maybe advise them of some ideas that are pertaining to the Pacific islands.” Mr Tong said.

“Of course, we are very conscious of the fact that the current government is willing to take a much more proactive scientific approach to climate change and wants to be more proactive with respect to the Pacific.

“For countries like ours, our future depends on it.”

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He acknowledged last week’s passing of legislation for a 43 per cent minimum emissions reduction target by 2030 and net zero by 2050.

Mr Remengesau described the region as a family and called on Australia to be a big brother and care for its smaller neighbours.

“Really, the message that we bring together is a united message, because while we are ex-presidents we share the same message from our current island presidents and prime ministers,” he said.

“This is all because we are all in the same … very delicate, perilous moment in our existence.

“So our message is really that we come here and we emphasise the need for family and family action, Australia being the big brother that needs to take the lead when it comes to reducing climate change.”

Both former presidents said although they understood and even welcomed Australia’s desire to host a United Nations Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP 29) in 2024, it would be a contradiction and even seem wrong if the government was still approving new fossil fuel projects.

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Senator Pocock said the issue of where Australian coal and gas was burned was not the concern for Pacific islands, but rather that it shouldn’t be burned at all.

“Here in Australia, we care a lot about the Pacific family, and this is clearly something where we have to step up and ensure that our actions match our talk when it comes to this family,” he said.

“Some of these Pacific island nations have moved beyond having adaptation plans to having survival plans.

“We have a moral responsibility to stand with them … Really, we are at a point in our history where we have to look at our actions going forward and how much responsibility we are willing to take for what we are doing.”

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Senator Pocock also commented on the appointment of three women with environmental backgrounds to the board of the Climate Change Authority.

In response to the Coalition appointing business leaders to the advisory body, the Labor government has appointed Professor Lesley Hughes, Dr Virginia Marshall, and Sam Mostyn – all with strong climate change credentials – to the board.

“It’s a great first step,” Senator Pocock said.

“I’d like to see another person or two on there with climate science backgrounds.”

Asked if the authority’s chair (Grant King, a former head of Origin Energy and president of the Business Council of Australia) should be replaced by someone with a climate science background, Senator Pocock said, “I’d love to see that”.

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HiddenDragon6:47 pm 16 Sep 22

Nice to see the Pacific cargo cultists getting together with Canberra cargo cultists.

Capital Retro9:49 am 19 Sep 22

Prepare for a berating from phydeaux with backup from chewy14.

i a normally ok with David Pocock but this self serving drivel has to end. China makes 7 times more coal than us according to UN and other websites and burns more coal in a day than we do in a year but i do not see the new senator marching on the Chinese embassy. There are more cars registered in London than in all of Australia but i do nor see the senator marching on the British high commission demanding they drive less. Utter hypocrite.

I can see that you feel strongly about Pocock’s failure to march on the Chinese Embassy or British High Commissionabout climate change, dsact.

So why haven’t you?

Is it that you are attacking Pocock to cover for your own moral disengagement? Or denialism?
That would be hypocritical.

Capital Retro11:33 am 16 Sep 22

Ignore this comment, dsact. People like phydeaux and chewy14 have trouble dealing with facts and the dilemmas they cause them so they simply revert to attacking the messenger.

Cute, CR, endorsing dsact’s specific attack on a messenger, Pocock, while avoiding facts of moral disengagement and denialism (in which you too indulge) which underly dsact’s post, and which I addressed.

You seem stressed by the fact so many have moved to agree with 99% of climate scientists, the old 97% figure being out of date. It’s tough, being last of the fantasists. Perhaps you can think of a comforting conspiracy to help you through the day.

Capital Retro2:10 pm 19 Sep 22

If those 99% of climate scientists are saying “the science is settled” then their mission is complete so the UN should sack them, right?

The UN principally employs a co-ordinating secretariat, CR. Countries dominantly employ scientists.

You miss pertinent facts quite a lot.

Should aeronautics research have been shut down early in the 20th century because planes could already fly? All weather forecasting stopped as soon as someone noticed clouds could lead to rain? Agriculture stopped with domesticated wheat and lentils, or with the wheelbarrow?

Quite daft.

There’s money in the main theory climate change. There’s no money in alternative theories.
So far the main theory has failed to meet predictions.

Pocock is the government now, i wonder if he is angry at himself yet?

A ridiculous argument which was pushed only after the warming evidence became so strong in the 90s, gooterz. How much money was available to warming hypotheses in the late 19th and throughout the 20th centuries? How much support to such research did the Howard government offer in the 90s to early 2000s, rather than attacking or de-funding?

As for whether predictions are being met, yes predictions consistent with the hypotheses are, but of course we should take your word for it over published research.

Japan, China, India, Korea and Taiwan all have their own plans and timetables to reduce their carbon emissions, agreed to at international forums, and they will require Australian coal and gas until they reach their targets.

According to Our World In Data electricity generation in Kiribati was 100% from fossil fuels in 2020, and according to IRENA electricity generation in Palau was 4% from renewables in 2022.

Capital Retro7:57 pm 14 Sep 22

“Senator Pocock said the issue of where Australian coal and gas was burned was not the concern for Pacific islands, but rather that it shouldn’t be burned at all”

So Mr Pocock, when are you presenting your demands to the Chinese Ambassador?

Are all these Pacific Island rent seekers going to demand “climate asylum” in Australia or China?

Good to see you finally admit Climate Change is real CR.

Capital Retro10:42 am 15 Sep 22

Can’t actually see where I said that chewy – think you should have gone to Specsavers.

Why would anyone be seeking “climate asylum” if Climate Change isn’t real CR.

Or are you saying your original comment was meaninglessly facetious.

Capital Retro12:13 pm 16 Sep 22

Refer to “rent seeker”, chewy.

That makes zero sense.

Your comment contends that the leaders of Pacific Nations will seek climate asylum in Australia to escape the effects of climate change.

In what way is that rent seeking? They literally would go from being powerful leaders of their countries to nobodies as refugees in Australia.

I know you’re trying to walk back the content of your initial comment but that “logic” is wild even compared to your usual level.

Also hilarious to see you talk about ignoring “facts”, whilst arguing that the overwhelming majority of world climate scientists are wrong just because you say so.

That level of cognitive dissonance is all time.

I recollect during the last election Capital Retro advising people here to take advice from the “Advance Australia” site favoured by, and expressing views of, the extreme right. It is there that one can find a claim that Pacific Islands are merely seeking money, hence “rent seeking”. We know where CR seeks affirmation of his views, and it is not in any facts. David Jackson is on the same horse-drawn rail.

Capital Retro3:51 pm 19 Sep 22

But their countries will be worthless if they cease to exist so how could you call them “powerful” leaders? It’s not like you who is undisputedly super-intelligent to miss that simple observation, chewy.

Makes my logic even more logical.

Capital Retro,
Yes their countries will be worthless if they cease to exist.

Which would only happen due to climate change. Are you really that dense? You’ve just agreed that climate change exists again if we are to believe your points.

The only way they claim climate asylum in Australia as you say they will is if climate change is real.

There’s definitely some logic there, but it involves you now repeatedly contradicting your own supposed position. Just very weird.

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