FIJI CAN BE A CARBON-NEUTRAL MODEL

Growing interest in decarbonizing Fiji’s economy was evident at the sixth Australasian Emissions Reduction Summit 2019 held in Melbourne, Australia today. It is possible for Fiji to be a model for a carbon neutral destination. This was the view of Peter Castellas, the CEO of Tasman Environment Market and convenor of the Summit.

Meeting with Prime Minister Bainimarama in the margins of the conference, Mr Castellas indicated that with the right support from the Fijian Government, the scope for Fiji becoming the first place that is carbon neutral is high. With a strong tourism sector and the increased awareness of the importance of preserving the pristine environment so vital for tourism in Fiji, it would not be too difficult to connect the dots and offset the carbon footprints of visitors to the country.

The Prime Minister highlighted that Fiji is already set on this trajectory through the Environment and Climate Adaptation Levy (ECAL). The funds collected through the 10 per cent environment and climate levy is enabling the Government to do more in managing Fiji’s biodiversity and climate adaptation activities.

In his keynote address at the opening session of the Melbourne Summit, Prime Minister Bainimarama stressed that ECAL is an innovative revenue stream that comes entirely from non-essential spending and high-income earners. These include yachts, privately chartered flights, imported vehicles, resort stays, entertainment, and meals and alcohol at establishments making more than 1.5 million dollars.

A partnership with organisations such as Tasman Environment Market would accelerate the pace of transitioning Fiji into a carbon-neutral destination.