I have attended numerous international meetings on climate change for the better part of a decade and I have never felt as sad, embarrassed, and disillusioned as I did two weeks ago in Funafuti, Tuvalu.
Pacific leaders have long recognised climate change as an existential threat to the region, and the tableau of Pacific children sitting in a moat of seawater as leaders arrived at the forum left little doubt about what the top priority would be at this year's forum.
Their demands have been clear and consistent, as have the stakes. To survive, the Pacific needs global warming to be capped at 1.5 degrees, a ban on new coal mines, and rapid reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
But from the lead-up to the forum to its awful aftermath, Australia has made it clear at every turn that this was never going to happen.
From reshuffling the aid budget to pledge $500 million to help increase disaster resilience to weakening language on emissions reduction commitments and refusing to endorse a ban on new coal, to callously using Pacific workers' livelihoods in Australia to justify inaction, Australia's behaviour has been abysmal.
It is no surprise, then, that frustrated Pacific leaders - some of whom were reduced to tears during the negotiations - have said that Australia's conduct at the PIF was not good for the relationship between the island nations and Australia.
The former president of Kiribati, Anote Tong, even labelled Australia a potential "worst of two evils" in a recent interview, and pondered: "What is the benefit of keeping that relationship going?"
Also unsurprising is China's move to seize upon our shocking showing to talk up its own "sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith" in the region.
Australia has already frittered away much political capital in the region, and can't afford to lose much more. Pacific Islanders remember Peter Dutton's offhand joke at their expense, and Scott Morrison's coal show-and-tell in Parliament all too well.
As experts point out, Australia and China's competition for influence in the Pacific is a complex equation, with trade, diplomatic, security, and geopolitical variables at play.
But it doesn't take a political genius to realise that a breakdown in Australia-Pacific relations would be a tragedy.
The only way for us to repair ties with the region is to heed their pleas for survival, and their call to action. Australia must not open up new coal mines, and accelerate its efforts to reduce emissions.
We need a credible climate policy, and given the proven financial, health and environmental benefits of renewable energy, politicians should stop hiding behind flimsy political and electoral excuses for inaction.
Ultimately, we cannot forsake our deep historic, cultural, and kinship ties with the Pacific. They are our neighbours, our friends, and our family. We must act now, or mourn a loss that there's no recovering from.
- Phil Glendenning is the director of human rights and social justice advocacy organisation the Edmund Rice Centre. He recently attended the Pacific Island Forum leaders' meeting in Funafuti, Tuvalu.