A delegation led by Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) yesterday arrived in Tuvalu for the Pacific Islands Forum.
The final document encouraged policies to limit temperature rises to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7°F) above pre-industrial levels and called for an immediate halt to coal mining.
New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is dedicating $150 million to support climate change resilience in the Pacific.
"There were serious arguments and even shouting, crying, people, leaders were shedding tears", Tuvalu Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga told Australia's national broadcaster ABC after the summit broke up with a communique with "watered down" language on global warming.
This sets the scene for what could be a tense standoff when the leaders of the forum's 18 countries and territories meet in a falekaupule at the northern end of the main atoll, Funafuti, today.
"We expressed very strongly during our exchange, between me and Scott [Morrison], I said: 'You are concerned about saving your economy in Australia ..." Australia is one of the most vulnerable developed nations to climate change. Australia also wants to change the wording in the draft statement that talks about new coal mines and phasing out coal production.
"I'm accountable to the Australian people and Australia comes here with a very strong record", he told reporters.
The Australian leader has conceded climate change is real but argued it can be managed in a way that does not hurt the economy.
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Prime Minister Scott Morrison at a press conference after the Leaders Retreat during the Pacific Islands Forum in Tuvalu on Thursday.
Australia has historically enjoyed virtually unchecked influence in the Pacific, but its sway in the region has been challenged in recent years by China.
Of course, Australia is now led by a dude who once stood next to current Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton while he joked about water lapping at the door of Pacific nations. So.
"They will continue to survive, there's no question they'll continue to survive and they'll continue to survive on large aid assistance from Australia".
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made the announcement from Tuvalu at the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) this morning.
But China has won favour with the region with calls for stronger action to tackle the impacts of climate change. "Instead, Mr Morrison has further damaged Australia's worldwide reputation and disregarded our long-term national interest", said Dr Rice.
The acting opposition leader, Richard Marles, said on Friday evening: "These are ignorant comments from the acting prime minister and he should know better".
Unwilling to budge on the issue at the PIF, Australia is now looking for allies to prevent agreement among the other 17 Forum members, and Morrison acknowledged tension among the group.