Australia's $500 million in aid for Pacific island nations to deal with climate change doesn't give it a free pass on reducing emissions and coal, Tuvalu's leader says.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Tuesday announced the funding for climate resilience and renewable energy, which draws on Australia's existing aid budget.
Minister for the Pacific Alex Hawke, who is the face of Australia at the Pacific Islands Forum in Tuvalu until Mr Morrison's arrival on Wednesday, says the projects will help the region adapt to climate change.
Tuvalu's prime minister Enele Sopoaga has welcomed the goodwill behind the funding but said he hoped it wouldn't undermine what was needed in global climate finance through the United Nations' Green Climate Fund.
"No matter how much money you put on the table it doesn't give you the excuse not to do the right thing, which is cutting down your emissions, including not opening your coal mines," he told reporters on Tuesday.
Australia was formerly a co-chair of the fund but Mr Hawke insists it's best to deal directly with nations to determine suitable funding.
Mr Sopoaga also urged world leaders to focus on the human side of climate change.
"When we talk about this in isolation from the impacts on the real lives of people, it doesn't make any sense," he said.
The smaller island nations have released a declaration on their survival in the face of climate change, which again calls for an immediate global ban on the construction of new coal-fired power plants and coal mines.
The Morrison government is currently weighing up a feasibility study into a new coal-fired power plant in Queensland, while the Adani coal mine is on track for its final federal approvals.
But Mr Hawke defended the Adani project by saying there were hundreds of new coal mines opening across the world.
"Australia's position has always been (that) without global action on these sorts of issues we can't see any global solutions."
The Morrison government is also standing firm by its decision to use carryover credits to meet the Paris emissions reduction target of 26 to 28 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030.
"Australia is going to meet its 2030 Paris commitments. Australia is going to smash its 2020 commitments," Mr Morrison told reporters in Sydney.
"Australia is doing its bit and it's doing it in, I think, a very effective way and that includes, by the way, I should stress, work that we're doing to reduce emissions of waste in this country that have been a big contributor."
Tuvalu's prime minister hopes visiting leaders, including Mr Morrison, take time out to see the direct impact of climate change on his nation, which is made up of nine coral atolls.
"So when they go back (home) they can tell the story not only on the issues but on the culture, the culture and traditions and the strength of the local Pacific communities."
Australian Associated Press
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