Pacific climate targets more focused beyond COP24

New Zealand‘s climate change minister says there were three key disappointments for the Pacific at the recent UN climate summit in Poland.

Flooding caused by huge spring tides which Marshall Islands officials have blamed on climate change. Photo: AFP

James Shaw said countries not using COP24 to lift their emissions reductions targets was a blow to the Pacific.

He said the other two areas were around financial mechanisms to help developing nations.

However, Mr Shaw said he was pleased that there is now agreed rules around reporting on commitments which will provide a framework for improving these areas.

He said with the so-called rule-book agreed upon, the big international focus is on lifting ambitions to achieving the Paris Agreement target.

He said the Pacific focus will also look to other areas.

“There are still some unresolved questions around finance which is shorthand for the developed countries supporting developing countries through the transition.

“And the third one is, I don‘t think there‘s yet much resolution on the question of what they call loss and damage which is essentially compensation.”

‘Really gritty‘ Pacific climate issues discussed at UK conference

Meanwhile, the UK government has been hosting a high-level dialogue about building resilience and navigating the effects of climate change in the Pacific.

The UK government has been hosting a high-level dialogue about building resilience and navigating the effects of climate change in the Pacific.

The British Foreign Office met with leaders from the Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Tokelau, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and from Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands Forum secretariat, who were in Europe for the UN climate summit in Poland.

The Pacific Futures conference aimed to focus on regional security issues posed by ocean and atmospheric temperature rise, and James Shaw said it included some of the “really gritty” issues facing the region, James Shaw said.

James Shaw Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

He said these ranged from climate finance mechanisms to migration issues and the protection of exclusive economic zones and maritime boundaries.

“It was a very helpful conference because it had a big presence from the British and a number of European institutions and just helped to keep that focus on the urgent and dramatic scale of the challenges that the Pacific faces.

“And because Britain is a member of the Security Council, they‘re going to be able to start to put that perspective more strongly.”

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