23 SEPTEMBER (NORWAY) 24 SEPTEMBER (AUSTRALIA), 2015: In the lead up to the Paris climate talks in December the Kiribati President, Anote Tong, has recently demanded a global and immediate moratorium on all new coal mines and coal mine expansions, and has called on all State leaders to back his call to action.

The President of this low lying island state in the Pacific, already suffering the severe impacts of climate change, has written to the Prime Minister of Norway asking for her support for a moratorium on new coal mines. So far at least 11 other countries have supported that call.

“The moratorium is designed to prevent countries like Australia from proceeding with mega mines such as the Adani/Carmichael mine in Queensland’s Galilee basin. At 40km long and 10km wide it will produce more than 2 billion tonnes of coal, and that is just one of many proposed new coal projects” said Dr Richard Denniss, Chief Economist with The Australia Institute.

New coal mines have attracted strong support from the ex-Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, who in addition to claiming that ‘coal is good for humanity’ has made public money available to subsidise the infrastructure required by the new mines.

Truls Gulowsen, Program Manager for Greenpeace Norway said “…as everyone knows, to combat climate change most of the coal already discovered needs to stay in the ground. We need to close as many coal mines as possible, and it makes no sense to invest in opening new coal mines.”

“We urge every responsible government and citizen to support the call from Kiribati to ban all new coal mines, before this beautiful Pacific paradise disappears forever.”

“Today coal is the single largest driver of climate change. The people of Kiribati, vulnerable and exposed from rising sea levels, are calling for a coal moratorium. We strongly support this demand. This is a natural continuation of the majority vote in the Norwegian parliament, which banned coal from our Sovereign Wealth Fund,” said Arild Hermstad, Head of Framtiden i våre hender (Future in our Hands).

“We call on the Norwegian Government to show leadership in the Climate Conference in Paris in December, and to support this call from Kiribati. Paris should be the beginning of the end for the global coal industry, and the Norwegian Government should endorse this transition” said Helmstad.

“Australia’s determination to build enormous new coal mines makes a mockery of other counties desire to tackle climate change. If the world wants to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and Australia wants to double its coal exports then somebody is going to lose,” said Dr Denniss.

Images recently released show that just one of Australia’s proposed new coal mines would dwarf Oslo.

 **The new coal mines planned in Australia are bigger than most people can even comprehend. At 40 kilometres long, just one of these planned mines would dwarf Oslo, covering it from one end to the other.

**The new coal mines planned in Australia are bigger than most people can even comprehend. At 40 kilometres long, just one of these planned mines would dwarf Oslo, covering it from one end to the other.

“Over its life the 2 billion tonnes of coal from the Adani/Carmichael mine would be enough to make a road of coal 10 metres wide, one metre deep and 200,000 km long. Such a road could stretch around the world five times,” he said.

“Australia wants the Paris climate talks to fail and is working hard to achieve that goal. Australia has a bigger share of the traded coal market than Saudi Arabia have of the world oil market — and has made its intent to double coal exports in the coming decade a centerpiece of its political efforts domestically and globally. Australian leaders do not want the world to buy less coal, they want it to burn more.

“In the lead up to Paris President Tong is writing to all Heads of State to ask them a simple question, will they support a moratorium on new coal or won’t they. Given that there is no scenario in which tackling climate change requires enormous new coal mines the only issue is whether Prime Minister Solberg will be in the tight side of history, or not” Dr Denniss said.

The Moratorium has already been supported by at least 12 Countries. Lord Nicholas Stern, Bill McKibben, Naomi Klein and in a recent statement by the President of the European Union the threats to the Pacific Island States, through the linked coal and climate challenges, were bought into sharp relief.

You can find further information here: http://www.nonewcoalmines.org.au 

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