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Exciting news from Norway

Exciting news: Just yesterday, five Nobel Peace Laureates have written to Norwegian Prime Ministerial candidates calling for Norwegian climate leadership and an end to fossil fuel exploration and expansion. The letter reads:

“Leadership in this century will be characterized by those who redefine themselves in a clean energy economy and who cease to profit from perpetuating the climate crisis. We believe Norway can be this leader.”

Sent from the Nobel Women’s Initiative, the letter was signed by:

  • Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Peace Laureate (2003) — Iran
  • Tawakkol Karman, Nobel Peace Laureate (2011) — Yemen
  • Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate (1976) — Northern Ireland
  • Rigoberta Menchú Tum, Nobel Peace Laureate (1992) — Guatemala
  • Jody Williams, Nobel Peace Laureate (1997) — USA

These five Nobel Peace Laureates join three Nobel Laureates to have signed open letters calling for no new coal mines.

On the eve of Paris COP21 in late 2015, three Nobel Laureates, along with other global eminent experts, co-signed domestic and international open letters in support of the President of Kiribati’s call for a moratorium on new coal mines, as part of the Australia Institute’s No New Coal Mines project —

  • Professor Kenneth Arrow, Nobel Economics Laureate (1972)
  • Prof Peter Doherty AC, Nobel Physiology/Medicine Laureate (1996)
  • J.M. Coetzee, Nobel Literature Laureate (2003)

Politicians in Scandinavian countries have already called for support for a moratorium. In December 2015, the Swedish Parliament debated President Tong’s letter for No New Coal Mines, including nine eminent Swedes calling on the Swedish government to support a moratorium on new coal mines, as proposed by the President of Kiribati, in one of Sweden’s top news sites. In February 2016 the Danish Parliament (Folketinget) debated No New Coal Mines, with the massive Adani mega-coal mine referenced specifically.

(Above: Swedish MP, Jens Holm, holding up letter from President of Kiribati during parliamentary debate.)

Now, as Fiji prepares to chair the COP23 UN climate talks in late 2017, Pacific leaders consider what policies to push for. One should be a moratorium on new coal mines. Australia Institute research shows Australia’s generosity towards the Pacific in dealing with climate change is miserly compare towards its generosity to the coal industry. As the Australia Institute argued at a recent Fiji pre-COP event, Pacific advocacy for a coal mine moratorium could make a powerful impact at this Pacific COP — calling out countries like Australia that want to expand coal exports while moving the debate towards an agreement to keep most coal in the ground.

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