PM, Biden could visit climate 'frontline'

Paul Osborne
·1-min read

Scott Morrison and Joe Biden could jointly get a first-hand view of how climate change is impacting on Pacific nations at a meeting later this year.

Mr Morrison joined 17 other leaders for a Pacific Islands Forum online meeting on Wednesday, ahead of a face-to-face meeting scheduled for August.

Fijian leader Frank Bainimarama said on Twitter after the meeting he had invited the new US president to come to Fiji for the in-person meeting despite America not formally being part of the bloc.

"I've invited Joe Biden to join us and see first-hand how Pacific island nations are coping on the frontlines of the climate crisis," he said.

Mr Morrison has yet to commit to a target of net zero emissions by 2050, which is now the policy of the Biden administration.

However, the prime minister this week expressed a preference to hit net zero carbon emissions by 2050 or earlier.

"The question is not when, it's how," Mr Morrison told parliament on Tuesday.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken tweeted his congratulations on Pacific islands leaders holding their meeting on Wednesday, noting Mr Biden is committed to working with Pacific leaders "to confront the defining challenges of our time, including climate change and COVID-19".

Mr Morrison said Australia wanted to see a "resilient, sustainable and secure" Pacific region.

He told leaders Australia had committed $200 million to help deliver the rollout of vaccines in the region, in addition to $80 million for the Gavi COVAX Facility's Advance Market Commitment which provides vaccines to the highest-risk groups in eligible countries, including in the Pacific.