Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Rugby World Cup Highlights Climate Injustice

Climate
This aerial view shows the Ogasayama Sports Park Ecopa Stadium, one of the venues for 2019 Rugby World Cup. MARTIN BUREAU / AFP / Getty Images

The Rugby World Cup starts Friday in Japan where Pacific Island teams from Samoa, Fiji and Tonga will face off against teams from industrialized nations. However, a new report from a UK-based NGO says that when the teams gather for the opening ceremony on Friday night and listen to the theme song "World In Union," the hypocrisy of climate injustice will take center stage.


"[F]ew, if any, of the most polluting competitors have credible plans to cut their emissions to safe levels—suggesting the World Cup's theme song is just an empty promise," the report summary says.

The report from Christian Aid — the official relief and development agency of 41 Protestant and Orthodox churches in the United Kingdom and Ireland — blasts the Rugby World Cup for its false show of unity when the actions of the industrialized nations are a direct threat to the people and the future security of Pacific Islanders, according to the Samoa Observer.

"Climate change is the ultimate injustice issue and nowhere is that captured more clearly than among the nations taking part in the Rugby World Cup," said Dr. Katherine Kramer, Christian Aid's Global Climate Lead, as the Samoa Observer reported. "The main culprits for causing the climate crisis are European nations as well as major coal burners like Australia, the USA, and Japan. Not only have they caused the current dire situation, but they are dragging their feet on making the needed transition to a zero-carbon economy."

The report notes that the Pacific island nations competing in the World Cup face a frightening future, with the prospect of catastrophic storms and sea level rise.

"Together these climate change impacts threaten to undermine the islands' economies, deter tourists, making life increasingly tough and driving young people away, putting strain on the countries' ability to field competitive rugby teams," says the Christian Aid report. "Researchers warn of mass migration from the islands as a result of climate change in the coming decades."

Christian Aid also noted that wealthier nations pluck the best players from the Pacific island nations, in a move that parallels the way the industrialized world exploits and discards the tiny island nations, as the BBC reported.

The BBC reported that current stars like England's Manu Tuilagi and Ireland's Bundee Aki both have Samoan roots but moved to play with richer nations.

The feeling of the industrialized nations toward the Pacfic islanders was callously on display last month when Australian deputy prime minister, Michael McCormack, said, "I also get a little bit annoyed when we have people in those sorts of countries pointing the finger at Australia and say we should be shutting down all our resources sector so that, you know, they will continue to survive. They'll continue to survive because many of their workers come here and pick our fruit," as the Guardian reported.

The report also criticized World Cup host Japan for its continued reliance on coal power and its plans to still have coal generating one-third of its power by 2030, even though it has suffered from two straight summers of crippling heat waves, which scientists says are caused by man-made climate change, as the Samoa Observer reported.

The need to address the climate crisis resonates with players whose homes are under threat from it.

"As a Pacific island rugby player, tackling the climate crisis is close to my heart," said former Samoan international flanker Jonny Fa'amatuainu, who played for Bath as well as clubs in Wales and Japan, as the BBC reported. "My grandparents and other families who lived in a village on the coast in Samoa moved inland two years ago because of climate change."

"The Pacific islands are the soul of our sport, and we have produced some of the most dynamic and exciting players on the planet," he added. "Yet as this report underlines, Samoa, Tonga and Fiji are all facing increased risks from rising sea levels and extreme weather."

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Much of Eastern Oklahoma, including most of Tulsa, remains an Indian reservation, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday. JustTulsa / CC BY 2.0

Much of Eastern Oklahoma, including most of Tulsa, remains an Indian reservation, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday.

Read More Show Less
The Firefly Watch project is among the options for aspiring citizen scientists to join. Mike Lewinski / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 2.0

By Tiffany Means

Summer and fall are great seasons to enjoy the outdoors. But if you're already spending extra time outside because of the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be out of ideas on how to make fresh-air activities feel special. Here are a few suggestions to keep both adults and children entertained and educated in the months ahead, many of which can be done from the comfort of one's home or backyard.

Read More Show Less
People sit at the bar of a restaurant in Austin, Texas, on June 26, 2020. Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordered bars to be closed by noon on June 26 and for restaurants to be reduced to 50% occupancy. Coronavirus cases in Texas spiked after being one of the first states to begin reopening. SERGIO FLORES / AFP via Getty Images

The coronavirus may linger in the air in crowded indoor spaces, spreading from one person to the next, the World Health Organization acknowledged on Thursday, as The New York Times reported. The announcement came just days after 239 scientists wrote a letter urging the WHO to consider that the novel coronavirus is lingering in indoor spaces and infecting people, as EcoWatch reported.

Read More Show Less
A never-before-documented frog species has been discovered in the Peruvian highlands and named Phrynopus remotum. Germán Chávez

By Angela Nicoletti

The eastern slopes of the Andes Mountains in central Perú are among the most remote places in the world.

Read More Show Less
Left: Lemurs in Madagascar on March 30, 2017. Mathias Appel / Flickr. Right: A North Atlantic right whale mother and calf. National Marine Fisheries Service

A new analysis by scientists at the Swiss-based International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) found that lemurs and the North Atlantic right whale are on the brink of extinction.

Read More Show Less
Nobody knows exactly how much vitamin D a person actually needs. However, vitamin D is becoming increasingly popular. Colin Dunn / Flickr / CC by 2.0

By Julia Vergin

It is undisputed that vitamin D plays a role everywhere in the body and performs important functions. A severe vitamin D deficiency, which can occur at a level of 12 nanograms per milliliter of blood or less, leads to severe and painful bone deformations known as rickets in infants and young children and osteomalacia in adults. Unfortunately, this is where the scientific consensus ends.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Data from a scientist measuring macroalgal communities in rocky shores in the Argentinean Patagonia would be added to the new system. Patricia Miloslavich / University of Delaware

Ocean scientists have been busy creating a global network to understand and measure changes in ocean life. The system will aggregate data from the oceans, climate and human activity to better inform sustainable marine management practices.

EcoWatch sat down with some of the scientists spearheading the collaboration to learn more.

Read More Show Less