PNG prime minister Sir Michael Somare and the new Australian prime minister will meet officially for the first time at the forthcoming global leaders’ meeting on climate change in Bali. It is likely their discussion will extend beyond Kyoto issues and into other matters of pressing concern between the two countries.
Sir Michael has commended Kevin Rudd for having Australia sign the Kyoto protocol on climate change. “Being aware of the relative importance of the fossil fuel use in Australia’s economy, I applaud the courage of the new prime minister’s action,’’ Sir Michael said. “It is encouraging to know that Australia has finally joined the party.”
He said the timing of the Australian government’s ratification of the Kyoto Protocol couldn’t have been more appropriate with world leaders are preparing to meet in Bali to discuss post-Kyoto climate policy.
Sir Michael has maintained for many years that big regional players like Australia, PNG and New Zealand have an obligation to the Pacific people, especially when global warming is responsible for drastic weather changes and sinking atolls.
“Australia’s accession to Kyoto places the Pacific region on a higher moral ground to advocate for clean development and clean energy initiatives,’’ Sir Michael said. “PNG has already done a lot of work on climate change and I look forward to engaging with the Australian prime minister and his ministers in Bali.”