Nicholas Stern welcomes initiative on coal mines by Anote Tong, President of the Republic of Kiribati

Welcoming the Letter from His Excellency Anote Tong, President of the Republic of Kiribati, to introduce a worldwide moratorium on the opening of new coal mines and extension of existing mines, Nicholas Stern, Chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics and Political Science, said: “This is an important move, as the world must rapidly put an end to the burning of coal with the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere if it is to have any realistic chance of limiting the increase in global average temperature to no more than 2 centigrade degrees above its last 19th century level, beyond which the risks of climate change grow dangerously. A moratorium on new mines and mine extensions would complement the action that is being taken around the world to radically reduce and eliminate the demand for coal through the introduction of cleaner energy sources. Coal is not only the worst fossil fuel in terms of emissions of carbon dioxide, but also contributes worldwide each year to human illness and the premature deaths of millions of people from air pollution. When its true costs are taken into account, coal is far more expensive than its current purchase price, and it is poor people who are most exposed and vulnerable to the impacts of air pollution and climate change. The failure by governments to price coal correctly represents a huge and unjustified subsidy of hundreds of billions of dollars each year. The use of coal is simply bad economics, unless one refuses to count as a cost the damages and deaths now and in the future from air pollution and climate change. There are far more attractive routes to growth, development and poverty reduction. Now is the time for the people of the world and governments, as well as the producers and consumers of coal, to recognise just how deeply destructive this fossil fuel is to lives and livelihoods.”

 – Letter from His Excellency Anote Tong, President of the Republic of Kiribati

NOTES FOR EDITORS

  1. Lord Stern is chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment and the ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy, as well as I.G. Patel Professor of Economics and Government, at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Since July 2013, Lord Stern has been President of the British Academy for the humanities and social sciences. Lord Stern was with HM Treasury between October 2003 and May 2007. He served as Second Permanent Secretary and Head of the Government Economic Service, head of the review of the economics of climate change (the results of which were published in ‘The Economics of Climate Change: The Stern Review’ in October 2006), and director of policy and research for the Commission for Africa. His previous posts included Senior Vice-President and Chief Economist at the World Bank, and Chief Economist and Special Counsellor to the President at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Baron Stern of Brentford was introduced in December 2007 to the House of Lords, where he sits on the independent cross-benches. He was recommended as a non-party-political life peer by the UK House of Lords Appointments Commission in October 2007.
  2. The Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment (http://www.lse.ac.uk/grantham) was launched at the London School of Economics and Political Science in October 2008. It is funded by The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment (http://www.granthamfoundation.org/).