COP 28 | Biggest emitters response ‘very disappointing’, says Puna

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Pacific Islands Forum secretary general Henry Puna. Picture PIFS

PACIFIC Islands Forum secretary general Henry Puna says the biggest emitters’ response to Pacific Leaders urgent call for access to climate finance and commitment to the 1.5 degrees Celsius threshold was “very disappointing.”

During a forum with the media this afternoon and in response to a query from The Fiji Times, he said that would not stop the PIF from continuing with their push for real action.

“It has been very disappointing but we are never going to give up on our call, there’s no choice,” Mr Puna said.

“Our priority in the Pacific on climate change is the 1.5 degree Celsius threshold but unfortunately the big emitters are not listening to science which is very surprising because we are all guided by science.

“And the science is saying very clearly unless we reverse the trend, we are overshooting the 1.5 threshold.

“Sadly, the big emitters have not listened they are still carrying on their merry way.

“But we have our political climate champions here at COP 28 who will continue the advocacy on important things to us and to the world on the 1.5 degrees threshold.”

Mr Puna was referring to the presence of the eight Political Climate Champions of the Pacific who are at COP 28 in the United Arab Emirates: Oceans and climate nexus – Fijian Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka, Global Stock take – Cook Islands PM and Forum chair Mark Brown, Climate Finance – Tongan PM Huákavameiliku, Loss and Damage – Vanuatu Minister of Climate Change Ralph Regenvanu, Just Transition – Tuvalu Minister of Finance and Climate Change Seve Paeniu, Mitigation – Samoan Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Toesulusulu Cedric Schuster, Adaptation – RMI Minister of Natural Resources and Commerce John Silk, and Gender and Social Inclusion – Niue Minister of Natural Resources Mona Ainu’u.

Mr Puna has been at the forefront of pushing for real climate action. In a statement on the IPCC Working Group 1 report on the Physical Science basis of the sixth assessment in 2021, he said it was only reporting what the Pacific knew to be true – on the current trajectory, the world was on track to exceed the 1.5-degree limit on global warning by 2040. He said sea levels could rise by two metres by 2100 and five metres by 2150.