|President Anote Tong in center, chairing a panel at the UNFCCC in Cancun|
Tarawa, Kiribati, 2 December 2011 - The President of Kiribati, H.E. Anote Tong, has welcomed Australia’s carbon tax initiative, recently passed by the Australian Senate.
The Clean Energy Legislative Package, made into law when passed by the Senate on 8 November 2011, sets out the way that Australia will introduce a carbon price to reduce Australia’s carbon pollution and move to a clean energy future. According to the Australian Government, the initiative will allow the country to begin reducing emissions, developing and fostering new technologies in renewable energy, encouraging energy efficiency and creating opportunities in the land sector to cut pollution.
A fixed carbon price of AUD$23 a tonne will apply from 1 July, 2012, moving to a flexible price after three years.
The carbon price is a tax on pollution and will be paid by Australia’s largest polluters.
“I’ve said to the Australians that we commend what they are doing with the carbon tax,” said President Tong, calling on other developed countries to follow suit.
The Australian carbon tax initiative is one of the few undertakings to legalise national actions towards international commitments of reducing carbon emissions. Similar schemes exist in Finland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Switzerland and Ireland.
Kiribati, a small island nation of low-lying atolls scattered over more than five million square kilometers of the Pacific Ocean, is one of the world’s most vulnerable countries to the effects of Climate Change.
Like other Climate Change-vulnerable Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in the Pacific, issues such as substantial coastal erosion, food security and lack of access to potable water haunt the day-to-day lives of the Kiribati people.
“The problem that we developing countries face, particularly small island developing countries, the SIDS, is we want to avoid bickering over what resources are coming forward because I think it’s got to be judged on the need – by the degree of vulnerability,” said President Tong.
“That has not been easy to get agreement on because everyone is vulnerable. I have no choice but to say we are very, very, very vulnerable.”
Key issues on Climate Change are currently being addressed in Durban, South Africa, at the 17th Conference of Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 7th Session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties (CMP7) to the Kyoto Protocol.
Fourteen Pacific island countries are represented at COP17 under the banner of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS). They include the Cook Islands, Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.