Monday 01/05/2017

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama (right) and his Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull.

The Australian assistance for Fiji’s COP23 presidency has been the subject of talks in Sydney between the Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and his Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull.

The Prime Minister is in Australia for a four day visit and left soon after arriving to meet Turnbull at his home in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.

Bainimarama told Turnbull that it was critical to preserve the multilateral consensus contained in the Paris Agreement for decisive cuts in carbon emissions to arrest the current rate of global warming and reduce the impacts of climate change, including extreme weather events such as Tropical Cyclone Winston.

He says Fiji had deeply appreciated Australian assistance in the wake of the devastation caused by Winston last February.

The PM also asked Turnbull to use his influence with countries like New Zealand and Japan to fully support Fiji’s leadership of the ongoing UN climate change negotiations in Bonn, Germany, in November.

During his visit to Australia, the Prime Minister will deliver the keynote address at the 4th Australasian Emissions Reduction Summit in Melbourne today.

How About some action at Home Frank….

Less than three years ago, I was given a verbal assurance by Fiji’s top mover and shaker (while his 6 bodyguards kept a cautious eye on me) that given all the tourist development proposed and existing at Vuda and in the Nadi Bay area, the government would not allow new ocean pipelines for the discharge of Residual Fuel Oil (HFO) into Vuda Point storage tanks
This type of fuel oil can be made from high sulphur Middle Eastern Crude in which case the fuel oil will have a high sulphur content which will necessitate using more expensive lubricating oil in the engines and also doing something to scrub the exhaust gases so that you don’t just put nasty oxides of sulphur up the chimneys, which will give children and adults living in the area of the power station asthma and respiration problems, over time it also corrodes everything made of steel. It has a high specific gravity and might be borderline in terms of whether or not it floats.( which means it is extremely dangerous to marine life in the event of a pipe leak or accidental discharge).
It could be made from low sulphur South East Asian Crudes – like Tapis for example. In that case it will not have such a high sulphur content but it will be waxy which means that it will be solid or semi solid at ambient temperatures (high pour point) and will certainly need heating for storage and handling.
In short it is a low cost product with disadvantages that Fiji really does not need.
However guess what???, contractors are currently installing the new pipeline to handle this product, and we are advised two new fuel storage tanks are to be built at Vuda.

Have the public, or the residents of Vuda, the investors in hotels and developments in the area been advised or consulted??. Not to my knowledge.
It is rumoured that the local land owners have been paid a pittance to obtain their approval for an additional pipeline, but were they fully informed about its proposed use.

Has our erstwhile PM, whilst campaigning against air and ocean pollution been kept advised. Has he advised his peers on the world stage that Fiji is facilitating and encouraging the use of this product, in one of Fiji’s main tourist areas.???

One thing is certain, trust has been shattered and nothing can mend it.