WESLEY MORGAN | Twitter
SUVA - News has broken that the controversial Adani coal mine in Australia has been given the green light for work to start.
So how will this news be greeted by other countries in Australia's Pacific neighbourhood?
Coal is the single greatest driver of climate change. In 2018 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) explained that coal-fired power must be phased out to avoid dangerous climate change.
To avoid catastrophic impacts, the world cannot expand coal production. Last year, 12 Pacific island countries issued a joint statement at United Nations climate talks explaining "there must be no expansion of existing coal mines or the creation of new mines."
At last year's annual Pacific Islands Forum meeting, 16 countries (including Australia) issued a regional security declaration explaining climate change is the "single greatest threat" facing the region.
In August, Australian prime minister Scott Morrison will attend the 2019 Pacific Islands Forum meeting in Tuvalu.
Tuvalu prime minister Enele Sopoaga has explained, "it is my strong prayer that Australia will reconsider opening this new coal mine."
Sopoaga's counterpart, the president of the Marshall Islands, Hilda Heine, has also explained that, "now is not the time to be debating the science, trashing solar power, or building new coal mines.
Fiji prime minister Bainimarama will attend the Pacific Islands Forum. He has told Scott Morrison directly: "We cannot imagine how the interests of any single industry can be placed above the welfare of Pacific peoples and vulnerable people in the world over.”
The secretary general of the Pacific Islands Forum, Dame Meg Taylor, has explained: "I hope that the Australian government will see the importance of the climate issues ... we're all in this together. And we've got to help each other."
So, to summarise, news that the Adani coal mine has been granted approval to start construction is unlikely to be well received for the simple reason that expanding coal exports is not compatible with helping to address the “single greatest threat” facing the region.
Dr Wesley Morgan is a lecturer in the School of Government, Development and International Affairs at the University of the South Pacific in Suva and an Adjunct Fellow at Griffith University in Brisbane