Kiribati man loses his appeal for ‘climate refugee’ status in New Zealand
Submitted by Eric Worrall
While predictions of millions of climate refugees have been rather wide of the mark, like most climate model predictions, it is wrong to state there are no climate refugees.
In fact, there has been one climate refugee. And, he just lost his appeal.
Ioane Teitiota, 37, lost his Court of Appeal case against a tribunal decision refusing him refugee status in New Zealand.
The tribunal described Mr. Teitiota’s case as “fundamentally misconceived”.
Mr. Teitiota is likely to be deported back to Kiribati, despite his claim that throughout the case, there has been ‘passive persecution’ from the inability of the Kiribati government to protect the right to life of Mr Teitiota and his children.” (presumably from the dangers of climate change and sea level rise). [They have not] ruled out appealing the decision to New Zealand’s Supreme Court.
If that fails, he says, they may consider taking the case to the United Nations Human Rights Committee in Geneva.
Mr Teitiota has been living in New Zealand with his wife and New Zealand-born children since 2007.
We’ve heard about the claims that sea level rise is “inundating” Kiribati. A cursory check of the tide gauge there shows the data since 1974:
The Tide Gauge Data plot for Christmas Island, part of Kiribati, magnified:
Source: University of Hawii http://www.psmsl.org/data/obtaining/stations/1371.php
The most recent data is about the same as in 1975 ~7100mm – essentially no change. There is a very slight positive trend in the data, about 0.36mm/yr but that is likely an artifact of endpoints. Given the ENSO related variability (see the big spike in 1998, the year of the super El Niño and another in 2010, also an El Niño year) that slight trend could change with the next set of measurements.