In recent years, Australia’s global climate policy leadership has faced severe challenges, tarnishing its reputation and credibility, particularly in the Oceania region. Meanwhile, Pacific Island nations have gained significant momentum, leveraging their collective voice to shape international climate discourse. This dynamic has spotlighted Australia’s shortcomings and sparked calls for renewed engagement and cooperation within the region.

Australia’s climate credentials have been questioned due to political inertia, policy blind spots, and perceived diplomatic isolation. Pacific Island leaders have been vocal in expressing their concerns, highlighting the urgency of addressing climate change and demanding stronger commitments from Australia. As the climate crisis escalates, there is a pressing need for a fresh approach to regional collaboration and strategic alignment.

A new book titled “Climate Politics in Oceani: Renewing Austalia-Pacific relations ina warming world” edited by Griffith Asia Institute members, Susan Harris Rimmer, Caitlin Byrne and Wesley Morgan brings together a diverse range of voices from both Australia and the Pacific Islands to examine the evolving climate debates in the region. It underscores the importance of constructive engagement and partnership-building to safeguard the interests of Oceania amidst the challenges of a warming world.

To regain credibility and influence in the Pacific, Australia must demonstrate genuine commitment to climate action and prioritise cooperation with its regional counterparts. This entails not only policy reforms but also a rethinking of diplomatic strategies to foster trust and collaboration.

The urgency of the climate crisis necessitates immediate action. Australia has a crucial role to play in advancing climate resilience and sustainability in Oceania. By embracing the opportunity for meaningful engagement and partnership, Australia can reaffirm its place in the Pacific family and contribute to a more secure and prosperous future for all nations in Oceania.

In our recent Perspectives:Asia Professor Susan Harris Rimmer, Dr Wesley Morgan (co-editors), Associate Professor Tess Newton Cain (author) and Mary Maselina Harm (respondent) conduct a panel presentation about climate politics. The full recording can be viewed here:


Editors, Professor Susan Harris Rimmer (Director, Policy Innovation Hub), Professor Caitlin Byrne (Pro Vice Chancellor, Business) and Dr Wesley Morgan (Research Fellow) are members of the Griffith Asia Institute.