Powering the Pacific: Impacts, Opportunities and Challenges of a Renewable Transition

Experts and activists discuss the prospects of transitioning from fossil fuels to renewables in the Pacific as communities suffer from worsening disasters and low electrification rates.

University of Sydney

Climate change is the greatest threat to Pacific Small Island Developing States, which face devastating impacts from rising sea levels and an increase in severe weather events. The region is also powered predominantly by imported fossil fuels and suffers from low electrification rates in many areas, making the transition to renewable energy a policy priority to reduce emissions and promote energy security and resilience.

A panel of activists and experts will highlight the impacts of fossil fuels on Pacific communities, what opportunities for renewable transition exist as well as the current lack of global environmental regulation in this space. This event seeks to examine how the Pacific region, as a moral and diplomatic leader in addressing climate change, is decarbonising and what role Australia can, and should play, in that process.


Howard Bamsey is Chair of the Global Water Partnership and Honorary Professor in the School of Regulation and Global Governance at the Australian National University. He is a member of the Board of the Climate Policy Initiative and Climate Works Australia. He was previously Executive Director at the Green Climate Fund and Director General of the Global Green Growth Institute. Howard has served as Senior Advisor on Sustainable Development to the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Special Adviser on Green Growth to AusAID.

Genevieve Jiva is from Suva, Fiji, and a youth advocate for stronger action on the climate crisis. She is the coordinator for the Pacific Islands Climate Action Network (PICAN), the Pacific regional node of CAN International. She is also a member of 350 Fiji and the Pacific Climate Warriors and has participated in Peace Boat’s Ocean and Climate Youth Ambassador Program.

Susan Park is a Professor of Global Governance at the University of Sydney. She focuses on how state and non-state actors use formal and informal influence to make the Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) greener and more accountable. Susan is the Research Lead on Unsettling Resources, The Global Shift to Renewables and Environmental Disasters and Just Governance.

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