Island nations commit to a fossil-free Pacific and 100% renewables
By Pacific Island Times News Staff
Port Villa -- Pacific Island governments have committed to creating a “fossil fuel-free Pacific” and agreed on new Pacific-tailored development pathways based on 100 percent renewable energy.
Vanuatu and Tuvalu hosted the Second Pacific Ministerial Dialogue on Pathways for the Global Just Transition from Fossil Fuels in Port Vila, Vanuatu, during a state of emergency after the country was hit by two severe cyclones and an earthquake in 48 hours.
Six Pacific countries – Vanuatu, Tuvalu, Tonga, Fiji, Niue and the Solomon Islands – on Friday agreed on the “Port Vila Call for a Just Transition to a Fossil Fuel Free Pacific,” which cements the region’s leadership in the global phase-out of fossil fuels, and exemplifies Pacific innovation in making the just transition to accessible renewable energy.
“We welcome the Pacific leaders’ decision to commit to a Fossil Free Pacific and dramatically scale up the deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency," said Joseph Sikulu, 350.org Pacific managing director.
"There is no pathway to 1.5 degrees that doesn’t dramatically power down fossil fuels and power up just, equitable and renewable energy. Our people need global leaders to now follow the leadership and innovation of Pacific representatives at the Pacific Ministerial Dialogue in dramatically phasing out fossil fuels.
"But our people also need energy to power their homes, their fishing boats and their schools, which is where we are ready to work with governments in their commitment to progress the development and implementation of fossil-free development pathways at the grassroots level," Sikulu added.
The Pacific region has consistently led the world in climate ambition and the political will to transition away from climate-destroying fossil fuels.
This includes Vanuatu’s push for an advisory opinion on climate change from the International Court of Justice, the development of a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty and Tuvalu’s recent joining of the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance as a core member.
All of this is despite almost no historical responsibility for the climate crisis and a constant battle on the frontlines of increasingly devastating climate impacts.
“International climate negotiations are failing us. This dialogue of Pacific Ministers is stepping outside of the box and acknowledging that we must try new ways to save ourselves – and that is going to require a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty," said Brianna Fruean, Samoan Pacific climate warrior.
"While the guilty continue to reap profit off the expansion of fossil fuels behind our backs, the meeting is bringing renewed energy to Pacific leadership that will not just echo across our islands but drive action with our allies globally," she added.
But in order to make the transition swiftly and in a just and equitable manner, the Port Vila Call for a Just Transition also calls for expanded public and private finance for the just transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy at the scale required, with innovative, simplified mechanisms and reforms of existing financial institutions.
"Pacific Island nations are once again showing immense leadership in the fight against the climate crisis, a crisis they had no part in creating, yet are suffering the worst impacts," said Cansin Leylim, 350.org associate director of global campaigns.
"Pacific leaders have told us time and again – in order to stay below 1.5 degrees, the historically responsible countries need to immediately commit to a fossil fuel-free future without loopholes. This means ensuring adequate and grant-based climate finance is swiftly mobilized to both adapt to the crisis and limit the heating to survival limits, ensuring energy independence and resource resilience with renewable energy," Leylim said. (350.org)