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COP out: How PNG & the Pacific lost in Glasgow

Glasgow - K6m tripKEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – For me, the first big cop out of the COP26 climate change conference came with the revelation that Papua New Guinea prime minister James Marape had spent K5 million sending a 62-member delegation to Glasgow.

On Twitter I remarked that this was at the criminal end of reckless indulgence for a country that is literally broke and having to borrow billions just to sustain its basic operations, and which has a health system in tatters.

As one of my 8,000 followers Ian Taukuro commented: “I'm disgusted over this waste of funds we don't have. Who does the vetting? It all better translate into something great for PNG when they get back.”

Well what it translates into is not looking great, or even slightly positive.

Palau president Surangel Whipps Jr (SPREP)
Palau president Surangel Whipps Jr (SPREP)

As Palau's president, Surangel Whipps Jr, told world leaders at the UN talks, “You might as well drop bombs on our islands” if they fail to agree on radical climate action.

His colleague from over the water in the Marshall Islands, president David Kabua, said “at this conference, action must begin because, if we don't, we're gone”.

"That why I used the example of you might as well bomb us...if there is no hope, we might as well just end it now," he said.

Whipps said Australia should be doing more to lead the way in reducing emissions.

"Australia is the leader in the Pacific and I think they need to step up and understand that we as small islands are going under and you need to take responsibility and take the lead,” he said.

Whipps would have been disappointed, but probably not surprised, that Morrison had come to the conference empty handed, even if he was to leave with egg on his face.

Another big disappointment was Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands’ next door neighbour , Indonesia.

Siti Nurbaya Bakar addresses COP26
Siti Nurbaya Bakar addresses COP26 to pledge the end of deforestation by 2030. She later took to Twitter to state "the loss of forest area is included as deforestation, not the loss of trees"

After telling the forum that her government had the signed COP26 pledge to end deforestation by 2030, Indonesia’s environment and forestry minister, Siti Nurbaya Bakar, posted on Twitter that she "rejected use of deforestation terminology that isn't in accordance with conditions in Indonesia.

“There is not a single study that says that cutting down a tree is part of deforestation,” Bakar wrote. “The point is that the loss of forest area is included as deforestation, not the loss of trees.

“The massive development of president Jokowi’s era must not stop in the name of carbon emissions, or in the name of deforestation.”

Scomo would have been proud of that verbal legerdemain.

Speaking of the now world-recognised Liar from the Shire, it has been the case for some years that most Australians want their government to act to reduce carbon emissions. Some polls have shown this to be favoured by as much as 70% of voters.

Morrison knows this, but thinks he can get around it by doing what he does best – lying.

He says his government is already taking the required action to achieve a target of zero emissions by 2050.

There are two problems with this claim: it isn’t true and it’s not the target the world now needs.

“All the other advanced market economies have understood this point and have increased their target emissions cuts by 2030 in the lead-up to Glasgow climate summit,” says Michael Keating, former head of the prime minister’s department, now a visiting fellow at the Australian National University.

“Australia is the sole exception.

“Morrison would have us believe that (zero emissions by 2050) is sufficient to constrain global warming to an acceptable extent.

“Nothing could be further from the truth. To achieve that goal of limiting global warming to less than 2C, we must have an ambitious target for cuts in emissions by 2030.”

The experts say that if the world doesn’t cut emissions by at least 50% by 2030 – that’s in eight years - there is no hope in keeping global warming to less than a 2ºC increase in temperatures.

That, my friends, will be disastrous for every living thing on the planet.

Cartoon - M DavidMeanwhile, Heai Steven Hoko comments that, now PNG’s loggers have been given a deadline, “I bet the logging environment destroyers will increase the rate [of] logging sophistication in the next eight  years [and] speed up their operations.”

And Tim Hollo observes that “we're in a climate emergency, and here is the Australian government yet again looking to expand fossil fuel extraction.

“The reckless indifference to the deaths of countless people, creatures, entire communities and ecosystems, is just horrifying.”

Correct, and the people of the Pacific Islands and Papua New Guinea know that Tim has precisely expressed their betrayal by the Morrison government.

This is the man who calls them ‘family’; but in reality regards them as expendable.

Sources: Pearls & Irritations, ABC Pacific Beat, Tweets by Max Walden, Siti Nurbaya Bakar, Yudith Ho, Aaron Chin, Ian Taukuro, Tim Hollo and Heai Steven Hoko


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Vincent Bayang

Climate change may be an issue in PNG and it is something we can do nothing about. In fact right now, we need to build more coal electricity generating plants for all I care.

Nothing we do will matter, nothing we do will stop the ocean from rising whether building more coal plants or planting more trees.

So what matters? Answer: China

China is the single largest contributor to this mess we are in. If they do nothing, than forget about a 1.5 degrees C let alone 2 degrees C.

So like I said, we need to build more coal plants.

And party like there was no tomorrow, Vincent. I mean what has posterity done for us - absolutely nothing - KJ

Bernard Corden

"The way to make money is to buy when blood is running in the streets." - John D Rockefeller

Stephen Charteris

Climate feedback mechanisms are now driving global temperature rise independently of any further increase in atmospheric CO2.

The following documentary explains what they are and how they are exacerbating an already dire situation:

It makes the feeble efforts at COP26 look farcical.

Ms Thunberg is right. Our so called leaders just don't get it. If they did they would have already shut down every fossil fuel mining operation on the planet.

Dr John Christie

In simple terms, climate change is driven by ever increasing consumption, driven by an exponentially increasing world population.

Without serious consideration of how to control world population expansion, little if anything will be achieved by current world governments.

In medical terms, we are currently looking to treat the symptom, not the disease.

Nicholas Bates

62 MPs from Papua New Guinea attending the Climate Change Conference. The irony of the carbon emissions....🤦🏻‍♂️

Harry Topham

This begs the question of why it was necessary to send 62 delegates to the COP conference.

But then again, why not let your hair down once in a while? After all everyone who went to Glasgow has been working very, very, very hard to combat the scourge of climate change in PNG.

Hang on, why didn't they also invite their Asian timber getting mates along to join in the festivities?

I guess they were too busy getting rid of those pesky trees.

Stephen  Charteris

I fear the quantum of the problem facing humanity is beyond our collective political systems to solve.

It confronts the established structures of power to do the antithesis of what they represent.

What leader has the courage to reverse the world view that got them into power in the first place?

Will the impetus for change on the scale and within the time fames required be reliant upon a catastrophic event of global proportions to shake the present system to the ground and from the wreckage for a new global leadership, committed to an equitable vision to emerge?

Something like this happened in the aftermath of World War II. A war that resulted from the gross failure of politics in the decades following World War I.

Sadly, the post WW2 vision for a more equable and collaborative family of nations, championed by the United Nations, did not survive the fall of the 'Iron Curtain' and the Korean conflict.

I fear the lessons of the recent past, point towards the need for the citizens of the great polluters to get brutal with their leadership.

They must wrest back their futures if they are to avoid another great failure of politics and set mankind on a more sustainable path into the future.

Philip Fitzpatrick

I'm with Greta Thunberg - 'You can shove your climate crisis up your arse'.

These conferences achieve very little.

This one seems to be about photo opportunities. Getting their photograph taken with such luminaries as David Attenborough, Charlie Windsor, Joe Biden and Bill Gates seemed to be the aim of many of the participants, the PNG contingent included.

I'm also highly suspicious of the motives of people like Andrew 'Twiggy' Forrest. They see tackling climate change in terms of economic opportunities.

Reducing carbon emissions using renewable energy still means that the unsustainable capitalist exploitation of the planet's natural resources will continue unabated.

We really need to stop doing that and begin thinking about our obsession with economic growth and what it is doing to the planet and the other creatures that we share it with.

75% of the stuff we manufacture we don't need.

And we need to drastically curb our population growth.

The way we are going we will end up with a dead planet running on renewables.


Lindsay F Bond

So, COP26 meets at Glasgow. Is that because Scotland knows a bit about disasters or because it faces much the anticipated challenge, the very "venue to be underwater by 2030 as sea levels?"


Of one disaster, the designer "had sought expert advice on wind loading when designing a proposed rail bridge over the Firth of Forth; as a result of that advice ... had made no explicit allowance for wind loading in the design of the Tay Bridge.

"There were other flaws in detailed design, in maintenance, and in quality control of castings, all of which were, at least in part, [the designer's] responsibility.


Please note, this is no ridicule of person(s) past, but to spur on best horse for course beyond COP26.

And yes, I have visited the Tay.

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