Last night we felt priveleged to hear Anote Tong, the President of Kiribati, call for no new coal mines. Before being invited I knew next to nothing about the pacific island state of Kiribati: straddling the equator and the international dateline, it was a British colony (The Gilbert and Ellice Islands) until 1979. A hundred thousand people live there at an average of 2m above sea level. He explained in a disarmingly friendly way that climate threats are worsening faster than expected, with this year’s flooding the worst ever, forcing many people to leave their salinated land for good.
Cyclones normally start on the equator and move North or South, but Cyclone Pam stayed close to the equator. This is the biggest threat, with a maternity ward washed away this year. So their call is “1.5 to stay alive” – as in 1.5 degrees global temperature rise being the safe limit, rather than 2 degrees.
No New Coal Mines calls for a global moratorium. Their prime target is paricuarly Australia, who want to double their massive coal exports in a decade, including the masive Carmichael mine: a 40km long open cast mine planned to produce 60 million tonnes per year! Please add your voice against this monster. Coal expansion would wreck the possibility of staying below 2 degrees rise, let alone 1.5