Australia’s Obstinacy Over Coal and Resulting Plight of the Pacific Wins China Brownie Points

Australia’s stubborn and divided allegiance to coal is threatening countries, who may be at the risk of losing their identity due to the predicament of climate change. The strong Australian voice that wants less noise on cutting carbon emissions has been turning arguments in favor of China for smaller pacific nations like Tuvalu and Kiribati who may be sucked up by declining shores and overreaching waves in the near future.

Last week’s Pacific Islands Forum saw a grave backlash from the Australian Government when probed about their efforts on mitigating climate change by reducing emissions. It was forcing leaders from the Pacific Islands to water down language on cutting carbon emissions. A few leaders of the Pacific’s countries have spoken aloud about this and suggested they may look to China for support, being the “lesser evil of the two” right now.

Australia’s insistence on sustenance of its carbon emitting operations, as they are great economic propellers, has taken precedence over their thought-out plan to help the world fight effects of climate change.

Anote Tong, who from 2003 to 2016 served as president of Kiribati — a series of islands atolls in the Pacific which is home to more than 100,000 people. “And at the moment, Australia is coming up as the worst of two evils, and there’s got to be a better understanding, there’s got to be a more … respectful way of understanding each other. The dialogue, the conversation has to carry on. It cannot be dictated by the coal industry in the background, “said the Former President.

Tuvalu’s Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga uttered similar sentiments and concerns over the future of its country, “We expressed very strongly during our exchange, between me and Scott [Morrison], I said ‘You are concerned about saving your economy in Australia … I am concerned about saving my people in Tuvalu’,” Mr Sopoaga said.

Kiribati has already begun suffering from climate change, with rising sea levels engulfing parts of the islands and causing serious concern for residents worried about their future.