PM promises $150m to combat climate change in Pacific

PM Jacinda Ardern talks to children in Tuvalu. Photo: NZ Herald
PM Jacinda Ardern talks to children in Tuvalu. Photo: NZ Herald

Half of the $300 million the Government has allocated to fighting the effects of climate change has been earmarked for projects in the Pacific Islands.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made the announcement from Tuvalu at the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) this morning.

Climate change has been the major theme of the forum so far, with pressure mounting on some of the bigger PIF countries, such as New Zealand and Australia, to do more.

After stepping off the plane yesterday, Ardern was greeted by a group of school children singing, "Save Tuvalu, save the world".

The Government had previously earmarked $300m for providing what it calls "change-related development assistance" for climate change-related projects.

Ardern announced this morning that half of that sum had been ring-fended specifically for Pacific programmes, meaning at least $150m of the total package has to be spent in this area.

But Ardern said that the Government expects up to two thirds of the overall $300m fund will be spent on projects that help the Pacific.

Tuvalu, which has a population of just over 11,000, will receive at least $5.6m for projects, the first of which will be a water storage facility.

The money will also help pay for a renewable energy and drought modelling support system.

The rest of the funding will be split between various other projects in the Pacific, including providing infrastructure to build more water tanks and mapping and planning for climate change hazards.

Jacinda Ardern meets with Australian PM Scott Morrison in Tuvalu. Photo: NZ Herald
Jacinda Ardern meets with Australian PM Scott Morrison in Tuvalu. Photo: NZ Herald

Money has also been allocated to projects that will eliminate invasive species that threaten food security.

"Pacific people have made it clear they want to stay where they are and defend their homes and livelihoods against climate change, and we will support them in this," Ardern said.

Her announcement comes just days after the Australian Government allocated $500m in climate change funding.

But Enele Sopoaga, Tuvalu's Prime Minister and Pacific Islands Forum chair, said this wasn't enough.

"No matter how much money you put on the table, it doesn't give you the excuse to not to do the right thing, which is to cut down on your emissions, including not opening your coal mines."

Ardern met with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison last night where the pair discussed what more the two countries could do for climate change in the Pacific.

Comments

How about being open and transparent abouth this JA. The only reason you are giving them 150million is to help the Aussies ($500mill) try to out bribe the Chinese in the region under orders from the US. This is despite China being the main export market for both NZ and OZ. By the way Tuvalu has been growing in land area not shrinking. A recent study has proven this, but why would you point that out when countires are bending over to hand you millions - a bit like welfare..

A University of Auckland study examined changes in the geography of Tuvalu's nine atolls and 101 reef islands between 1971 and 2014, using aerial photographs and satellite imagery.

The study found eight of the atolls and almost three-quarters of the islands grew during the study period, lifting Tuvalu's total land area by 2.9 percent!!!

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