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Eyes turn to China for climate leadership

 Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama addressing climate change talks consultations in Bonn, May 2017 [Photo: Supplied]

An Australian think tank says the withdrawal of the US Trump administration from the Paris Accord presents an opportunity for the Pacific to look to China.

The director of research at The Australian Institute, Rod Campbell said China is getting more serious about climate change.

Mr Campbell said he lived in China for a few years and the air quality and use of coal for power and heating is a big deal but there is a push for China to clean up its act.

He said as well as signing up to the Paris Accord, there is this political push in domestic China for fossil fuel reduction and coal mining moratorium and the eyeing up jobs in the green economy.

"I think China is obviously pretty central to any international agreement as they are the biggest greenhouse gas emitter and the biggest coal user. So China is very important to any international climate change negotiation."

He said what is perhaps most interesting about China and the next round of negotiations is that China has already implemented a policy around no more new coal mines.

Meanwhile Fiji is the first small island state to preside over the conference of parties (COP23), the annual round of the ongoing UN climate negotiations later this year.

A policy analyst and consultant for the Fiji government, Joseph Veramu, said its Prime Minister is on a mission to get developed nations to reduce emissions and China seems committed to do more to support.