Climate Change: a Priority for Australia and Solomon Islands
Australia and Solomon Islands, along with all countries in the Pacific region, stand together on the front lines of climate change.
Two weeks out from COP26, Australia remains clear and steadfast on doing its part to respond to climate change, focusing on technological solutions, and working together with partners to reach net zero carbon emissions.
This stand was reiterated at a meeting hosted by the Australian High Commission with stakeholders from the Solomon Islands National Government, private sector, non-government organisations, youth group, civil society and implementing partners.
Speaking at the opening, Acting High Commissioner Sally-Anne Vincent emphasised that climate change is real and continues to be a huge challenge, thus it also requires enhanced cooperation on all fronts.
‘The science is clear: it is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land, with widespread and rapid changes. We must work together if we are to respond to the challenges presented by climate change – the latest IPCC report reinforces the need for a coordinated, global effort to reduce emissions.’
Leading the presentation, First Secretary Jess Carpenter spoke of Australia’s record on emissions.
‘On the emissions front, Australia has reduced emissions between 2005 and 2020 by over 20% and we are on track to beat our 2030 emission reduction target. Reaching this target will mean that Australia’s emissions fall by 50% per person and by 70% per unit of GDP.’
‘Australia is already walking on the path to net zero carbon emissions. We are investing to bring priority low emissions technologies to economic parity, including clean hydrogen, energy storage, low emissions materials including steel and aluminium, Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), and soil carbon measurement’, said Ms Carpenter.
Australia has also committed to updating its Long-term Emissions Reduction Strategy and National Climate Resilience and Adaptation Strategy before COP26.
On the local front, through the bilateral program, Australia has provided more than SBD270 million in climate finance from 2016-2020; this is in addition to support given through regional and global programs.
Support includes ensuring local infrastructure is climate resilient, for example: all schools Australia builds (usually in partnership with New Zealand) are rated to Category 4 Cyclone; and ensuring markets, like in Gizo, can also stand up to Category 5 cyclone and are resilient to flooding and coastal erosion. Also covered under Australia’s climate finance support are local businesses, the agriculture sector, forestry, water, sanitation, disaster preparedness, governance and planning, climate science and research, conservation and biodiversity protection, and youth, women, children and people living with disabilities.
Looking to the future, Australia has committed AUD1.5 billion in new climate finance over 2021 to 2025 to be implemented through our development program, demonstrating Australia’s commitment to mitigation and to building climate change resilience, including through adaptation.
This includes AUD500 million to help Pacific nations invest in renewable energy and climate change and disaster resilience. Approximately two thirds of Australia’s climate finance has benefited small island developing states and least developed countries in the Indo-Pacific.
‘There is much work still to do,’ said Ms Carpenter. ‘Australia is pleased to continue working with Solomon Islands, with our region and with the world – including at COP26 – to stand up resolutely together against climate change.’