Pacific Island leaders challenged to support True Security for the Pacific
*Port Moresby, Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Greenpeace today challenged leaders attending the Pacific Islands Forum to address the real threats to people in the Pacific and to set them on the path to true energy security.
"This meeting should be a turning point to ensure the Pacific moves to renewable energy and true energy security as we face a global oil crisis and the first signs of catastrophic climate change," said Catherine Fitzpatrick, Energy Team Leader for Greenpeace. "The very existence of some Pacific Islands is threatened by the failure of decision makers to deal with the Pacific's vulnerability and heavy reliance on imported polluting diesel for transport and power generation."
The lead-up to this year's Pacific Island Forum has been dominated by discussions on the adoption of a Pacific Plan for Regional Cooperation and Integration (the Pacific Plan).
"Currently, the Pacific Plan is focused on narrowly defined "economic interests". It is failing to address the concerns that should be front and centre of any discussions, such as health, food and energy security, and climate change," Ms Fitzpatrick said.
"The Pacific is being held hostage by oil price hikes, uncertainty of supply, and global climate change. Yet the main measure in the Pacific Plan to address the problem of fuel costs and supply is a suggestion to bulk buy petroleum products and expand existing oil storage. This is a short term solution that cannot deal with the long term projections for increased costs and, ultimately, uncertain supplies,"" she said.
"Renewable energy sources are abundant in the Pacific. And a move to clean energy is a win for human development, poverty reduction and an effective exit strategy for the multiple problems of relying too heavily on fossil fuels such as imported diesel."
"There is little in the Pacific Plan to indicate how the Pacific is going to move to True Security for its people. The question remains, will the Pacific Plan lose a historic opportunity to bring true security to the region or will it continue with business as usual?" Ms Fitzpatrick concluded.
Greenpeace is calling for:
* All nations to implement regional and national energy plans with binding renewable energy targets and to remove existing barriers to renewable energy development;
* Australia to join with Pacific Island Nations and the international community to ratify the Kyoto Protocol.