Published in The Nation
At the precise moment that Donald Trump was giving his acceptance speech, I was in a room packed with a thousand people in Sydney, Australia, listening to Maria Tiimon Chi-Fang, a leading activist from the island state of Kiribati. All day I had been sending e-mails with the subject line “It’s the end of the world.” I suddenly felt embarrassed by the privilege of this hyperbole.
If Trump does what he says and rolls back the (insufficient) climate progress won under Obama, inspiring other nations to do the same, Chi-Fang’s nation and culture will almost surely disappear beneath the waves. Literally, the end of their whole world.
Chi-Fang talked about how the Paris climate negotiations was a rare moment of hope. It’s not a perfect text, but island nations waged—and won—a valiant battle to include language reflecting the need to keep warming below 1.5. Celsius. “We didn’t sleep,” she told the crowd.
That 1.5 degree target gives Kiribati and other low-lying islands a fighting chance at survival. But we know that meeting that target, or even the more lenient 2 degree one, means we cannot sink a single piece of new fossil-fuel infrastructure. We have already blown our carbon budget just with the fossil fuels currently in production.
Read the rest of the article in The Nation