No, Kiribati Isn’t Drowning, Mr Tong. And What Of China?

Posted on Thu 10/11/2018 by


By Andrew Bolt ~

Why is Anote Tong,  ex-president of Kiribati, lecturing Australia when China’s emissions are more than 20 times our own, and soaring fast?:

Half a degree of warming may seem trifling but, for my country, Kiribati, these fractional figures are a matter of life and death.Our whole nation is only two metres above sea level, and the report shows that the difference between 1.5°C and 2°C of warming is several centimetres of sea level rise. Given that we are already feeling the impacts of rising water, every millimetre counts.

Increasingly frequent king tides and storm surges, floods and longer droughts are new, unwelcome additions to our way of life on Kiribati.Sea level rise is turning our freshwater resources salty… We are being told that we may have to abandon our islands, the places where our ancestors have been buried, where our children have a home and an identity.

Fact check. Tong is giving an entirely false impression. Here is the truth:

Professor Paul Kench, an Auckland University coastal geomorphologist, along with Australian scientists, has studied more than 600 coral reef islands.

His findings: about 40 per cent have actually grown in size. Another 40 per cent stayed stable, and just 20 per cent have shrunk.

Much of that is because coral islands, essentially living things, grow with rising seas, as well as with sand washed up by the waves.

What’s more, populated islands can reclaim land.

Result: Betio, Kiribati’s most populous atoll, has grown 30 per cent in 60 years. Kiribati’s main South Tarawa island has grown 19 per cent over 30 years, as its government poured lagoon sand behind seawalls.

Kench’s latest paper on sea level rises on Tuvalu reaffirms his findings that such Pacific Islands are not drowning:

Results challenge perceptions of island loss, showing islands are dynamic features that will persist as sites for habitation over the next century, presenting alternate opportunities for adaptation that embrace the heterogeneity of island types and their dynamics.

But back to Tong. Why is is demanding action from Australia, whose carbon dioxide emissions are so small that any change will make no difference?

Why is Tong lecturing Australia, which pumps out less than 1.3 per cent of the world’s total man-made emissions,while saying nothing about China, whose emissions are around 30 per cent of the total – and growing very fast:

Already, Australia has one of the highest per capita emissions in the world, and its national greenhouse gas emissions are still rising. The country is twiddling its thumbs as the window of opportunity to keep the people of the Pacific – and Australia – safe slams shut…

As we witness their indifference to the reality of climate change, this longstanding friendly relationship is giving way to disillusionment and disappointment. We believe Australia is failing in its duty as a regional leader. The implications of this for Australia’s foreign policy are immense, as the inroads made by Chinese diplomacy have shown.

Australia must play a more constructive role. Ceasing to approve new coalmines would be a good place to start.

Why does Tong demand we ban new coal mines – but not demand China stop burning coal?

And, finally, why does the Guardian not question any of this tripe that it publishes?

Andrew Bolt writes for the Herald Sun, Daily Telegraph, and The Advertiser and runs Australia’s most-read political blog. On week nights he hosts The Bolt Report on Sky News at 7pm and his Macquarie Radio show at 8pm with Steve Price.

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