Wednesday 16 December 2009, COPENHAGEN-- As Pacific and other AOSIS negotiators work tirelessly to clear brackets and red lines towards a common language amidst the frantic pace of the next 48 hours to the COP15 closing, heads of state are being reminded to hold strong to the 1.5 to stay alive position and it's add-on, 2 degrees is 2 much.
"Language like below 2 degrees without saying ultimately you need to drop below 1.5 degrees could in fact be quite dangerous politically and legally for the small island states because they are then conceding that possibly 2 degrees is OK when in fact it's not,"says climate scientist Dr Bill Hare. The Australian is a leading figure in international climate change debate. The lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and former director of Greenpeace International Climate Policy, is now a visiting fellow with the Denmark-based Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.--ENDS (transcript and audio below)
TRANSCRIPT: LWL: Bill, the difference between 1.5 and 2 degrees-- only half a degree. Why is it so critical? From the science side, the impacts of climate change increase quite rapidly with temperature, so that getting back below 1.5 degrees is quite important to the survival of many small island states and low lying regions, because in this region of climate change, you avoid the a lot of the most damaging effects and start to slow down sea level rise quite significantly. Heading towards 2 degrees or above, the impacts on small island states are wholly unacceptable, in most cases, including consequences for long term sea level rise. Now the issue here in these negotiations over how to reflect these issues is also important. Language like below 2 degrees without saying ultimately you need to drop below 1.5 degrees could in fact be quite dangerous politically and legally for the small island states because they are then conceding that possibly 2 degrees is OK when in fact it's not. That's why the 1.5 degrees and 350 parts per million (PPM) message is so mportant because the small islands states need to lay out the case for their long term survival and have that entrenched in an international agreement that could progressively work towards the emission reductions that will need to occur over the next century in order to limit warming to those levels.--ENDS