Australian PM announces new Pacific climate fund

The UN has warned that Pacific Island nations like Fiji are on the front line of climate change

The UN has warned that Pacific Island nations like Fiji are on the front line of climate change

"While greater certainty on Australia's future funding for climate change adaptation in the region is welcome, it is not a substitute for action at home to tackle the causes of this crisis - the burning of fossil fuels".

'It will not fix Australia's reputation with our Pacific neighbours that has been damaged by this government's reactionary stance on climate change, ' labour climate change spokesman Pat Conroy said.

"Without taking effective action in Australia on climate change, our entire Pacific "step up" is undermined."

In a statement, Mr Morrison said the funding "highlights our commitment to not just meeting our emissions reduction obligations at home but supporting our neighbours and friends".

It could make for some testy exchanges.

"It would be very unusual for there to be a stalemate", she said.

Following an agreement at the Council of Australian Governments meeting in Cairns on Friday to end the export of recyclables - with the timetable to be thrashed out by state environment leaders later this year - Scott Morrison said the deal was in part aimed at addressing the environmental concerns of Pacific nations.

The dispute has led to strained relations between Australia and other nations in the region, opening the door for China, reports Reuters. Only recently have Australia and its Western Allies made attempts to counter China's economic aid to Pacific Islanders, a case of closing the barn door after the horses have run out.

"Mr Morrison doesn't want to create a situation where they're having to have conversations about [financial support]".

Australia announced a Aus$500 million ($340 million) climate change package for Pacific countries Tuesday but received a lukewarm response from low-lying island nations demanding urgent action from their powerful neighbour to curb its carbon emissions.

Other countries from further overseas are seeking closer relations with the Pacific, with both Norway and Chile applying to become dialogue partners.

As well as the shifting geopolitics of the region, the power dynamics within the PIF are changing, too.

The Australian government has replied to Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama's plea saying they are making a transition from coal energy overtime.

On Monday, Tuvalu hosted a one-day climate conference - with Fijian prime minister, Frank Bainimarama, a global leader in the fight against climate change, issuing a direct appeal to Australia to move away from coal-powered energy.

Papua New Guinea's new Prime Minister James Marape will be looking to establish relationships, along with the new Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogovare.

The announcement today comes ahead of Morrison's arrival at a meeting of Pacific leaders in Tuvalu on Wednesday.

But host Tuvalu will be ensuring their visitors can't avoid their biggest challenge: climate change and its threat to the nation's fragile reefs.

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