Scott Morrison 'as welcome as diarrhea in a wetsuit' at Pacific Islands Forum - Russel Norman

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is very unwelcome at the Pacific Islands Forum, Greenpeace executive director Russel Norman says.

The annual forum is taking place in Tuvalu this week. Foreign leaders attending the forum, including New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, were greeted by children from the island nation sitting submerged in water, singing: "Save Tuvalu, save the world."

Dr Norman told The AM Show pro-coal Morrison wouldn't be popular on the island, which faces the prospect of sinking under rising sea levels.

"He's about as welcome as diarrhea in a wetsuit in that place, I mean unbelievable that he turns up to the Pacific Island Forum and won't make any commitments to do anything about climate change."

The Brisbane-born former Green Party leader said there has been movement towards renewables in Australia, but that's happening on a state level "in spite of" the federal government.

"Scott Morrison the Prime Minister famously took a lump of coal into the Australian parliament and told people not to be frightened of coal, so you can imagine how popular he is [in Tuvalu]," Dr Norman said.

Ardern in a tricky spot


Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has been pulled into the middle of a fight between Australia and the other Pacific Island nations, Newshub political reporter Jenna Lynch says.

Island leaders are asking for all countries at the forum to commit to a phase-out of coal, but Australia is pushing back against it.

Ardern's trying not to get caught up in the scrap. 

"[She] said Aussie has to answer to the pacific leaders themselves and they'll be nutting that out in the leader's conference today," Lynch told The AM Show.

Lynch said Ardern's in a tough spot with the situation, caught between showing her commitment to the environment, while also keeping Australia happy.

"On the one hand we're in the middle of a Pacific reset, Ardern's has been out there on the world stage championing climate change

"On the other hand we've got this relationship with Aussie, they're our closest ally and the relationship's been a bit rocky with the refugee situation, the deportee situation, so maybe not wanting to ruffle too many feathers with the Aussies again."