PNG Leader Issues Clear Reminder To Scott Morrison On Climate Change Action

Papua New Guinea prime minister Peter O'Neill has used a meeting with Scott Morrison to publicly remind him about the importance of Australian leadership in tackling climate change.

O'Neill made the direct remarks during a one-on-one meeting with his Australian counterpart in Sydney on Thursday.

In his brief opening comments, O'Neill lauded economic ties between the two nations and praised the impact of sporting events like the Melbourne Cup and rugby league State of Origin.

But his focus quickly shifted to global warming.

Soon after becoming prime minister two months ago, Morrison decided not to attend the annual Pacific Islands Forum, sending his foreign minister instead.

O'Neill traveled to Sydney to speak with the Prime Minister this week. Image: AAP

At the conference, Australia signed a declaration describing climate change as the "single greatest threat" to the Pacific.

The strongly-worded declaration, signed by all 18 Pacific leaders at the forum, also spoke of the need for all countries to meet their commitments under the Paris climate agreement.

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The Morrison government has been consistently criticised for its lack of clear climate change policies, although the prime minister has repeatedly argued Australia will meet its pollution reduction targets "at a canter".

Scott Morrison and Peter O'Neil' sign an agreement between Australia and Papua New Guinea on defence and law enforcement. Image: AAP

Morrison will travel to Port Moresby later this month for an APEC leaders meeting.

"It will also give us an opportunity to engage with our Pacific Island leaders who are going to be present at that meeting as well," O'Neill told his Australian peer.

"As you know, one thing foremost on their minds is climate change and again we look forward to the Australian government's leadership on that and we will continue to work with you."