Approval for new Australian coal mine bad news for Pacific, says climate scientist

A leading Pacific climate change expert says plans to go ahead with the controversial Adani coal mine in Australia fly in the face of climate science and the global attempts to reduce carbon emissions.

The Adani project is expected to be one of the largest coal mines in Australia and its proponents claim it will bring much needed jobs to the area but there's been plenty of concern about the environmental impact.

Dr Morgan Wairui of the University of South Pacific said the new coal mine would only increase global emissions.

“I'm surprised in the sense that the science is very clear, the information is out there for policy makers. So the reason why they’re not taking science seriously is an issue what we need to ask ourselves,” said Dr Wairui.

He is the lead author of a report a 2018 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

“If we reach 1.5 degrees, like 70 per cent of the coral reef systems will actually be disappearing under that temperature regime, that’s not good news of the Pacific Island community where most of the community rely on coral ecosystems.”

Climate activist Joseph Sikulu of the environmental organisation said he’s worried the mine is just the beginning.

“If the Carmichael mine goes ahead and [they] establish a railway line in the Galillee Basin then it's likely to open up the region for another six mines and means that Australia will be releasing billions of tonnes of coal getting burnt and carbon in the atmosphere. That spells disaster for climate change.”

“I think it’s definitely a slap in the face of the Boe Declaration which the Morrison Government signed on to last year that specifically outlined climate change as the single greatest threat.”

Dr Morgan Wairui said the developments in Adani coal mine are undermining the Australian government’s step up in the region.

Sikulu said his organisation will be rallying support in the region to campaign against the Adani coal mine.

“The fight is definitely not over for this coalmine. We in the Pacific will do all we can to support the movement here and ensure that we are supporting our leaders when they go into some really important regional negotiations like Pacific Islands Forum meeting in the next couple of months and also climate change negotiations,” he said

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