(Radio New Zealand) — Speaking at an emergency Pacific Climate Security Summit in Canberra on Monday, Anote Tong re-emphasised a call by the Pacific Elders Voice group that the greatest security challenge facing Pacific Island countries is not superpower rivalry, but climate change.
Tong is primarily known for his efforts to raise awareness around climate change and served as the president of Kiribati from 2003 to 2016.
He joined the summit virtually from Tarawa and singled out the Australian Government for its poor track record to cut emissions to help its Pacific neighbours on the frontlines of climate change challenge.
“One of my biggest disappointments has been the politicisation of climate change,” he said.
“Whenever there is a different government, a different administration coming in Australia, in New Zealand, in the United States, policies on climate change, change. We cannot continue doing that.”
The Pacific Climate Security Summit was organised by the Smart Energy Council to focus on the urgent need for Australia to tackle climate change and work with Pacific nations to address its impact on the region.