A new report from Oxfam suggests that new coalmines will exacerbate poverty, leaving the poorest most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. The study comes in response to the suggestion of a new coalmine in Queensland, Australia that would be the largest in that country’s history. The Australian and Queensland government both support the project, arguing that it will bring a much needed economic revival to the region, but environmental and human rights groups have banded together against the mine.
Pacific island nations have joined Oxfam to take a hard stance against Australian coal mining, noting that the effects of coal and other fossil-fuel powered industries disproportionately affect the poor while offering little benefit. Fiji in particular has voiced concern over the effects of rising sea levels and unpredictable storm patterns resulting from greenhouse gas emissions.