COPENHAGEN, DENMARK, DECEMBER 16, 2009
DELIVERED BY PRIME MINISTER HON. TILLMAN THOMAS OF GRENADA
It is not very often that the entire world concentrates its diplomatic and negotiating assets on one issue.
It is not very often that leaders from countries as diverse as Kiribati, in the Pacific; Ghana in Africa; Poland in Europe; Brazil in South and the United States in the Americas come together to fight and succeed at a common cause.
It is not often that leaders from over 120 countries come to the table to seek a collective solution to a common challenge.
Today, ladies and gentlemen, represents one of these unique occurrences. The entire world including my own tiny island Grenada and the rest of AOSIS come together to find solutions to our common climate problem. We must do so in a cooperative and participatory manner, chipping away toward the solutions we need.
Ladies and gentlemen, those of us gathered here today have a unique and historic responsibility to act.
We MUST act NOW ladies and gentleman, because there are millions of people depending on us to provide them with the assurances that their homes, their livelihoods, their communities, and their countries will not be swept away in the king wave of climate change.
They are depending on us to provide the assurances that life dependent ecosystems and ecosystem goods and services are preserved for this and future generations.
They are depending on us to act to protect our planet.
We must act NOW, because for some of us in the small island states, have no choice; for many of our states are already experiencing the devastating impacts of climate change.
We MUST act NOW, ladies and gentlemen, because if we don’t, history will NOT absolve us.
Today represents the culmination of two years of work which we started in Bali in 2007. In Bali, we set ourselves a historic task, and our job here today is to complete that task. Our job here today is to ensure that the two tracks which we embarked upon in Bali - one under the Kyoto Protocol, and the other under the Convention - are each brought to its separate but complementary conclusion.
Ladies and gentlemen, if we are to fulfill this historic responsibility, we have to take ambitious and robust decisions which can set the world on a path that will prevent the dangerous impacts of climate change.
Such a path MUST include deep and immediate reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, in line with the requirements of the science: that is Annex 1 reductions in excess of 45% compared to 1990 levels by 2020, with global emissions peaking no later than 2015. This will ensure that we proceed along a path that will restrict long term temperature increases to well below 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Over 100 countries have committed to this.
To achieve such safe levels, ALL countries, developed and developing, will have to take strong measures to achieve these emissions reductions in keeping with the principle of common but differentiated responsibility.
This will also ensure that adequate technical and financial support is provided to vulnerable countries, including small island states and least developed countries and the countries in Africa affected by drought and desertification;
To enable us to respond to the impacts that are already happening; to enable us to build climate resilient societies; and economies;
And to provide for the permanent loss and damage that result from climate change: for make no mistake about it ladies and gentleman, some countries among our AOSIS grouping have already had to begin the process of migration and relocation.
Mr. Chairman, I assure you that we in AOSIS come here ready to work. We want to leave here with strong internationally legally binding outcomes that will commit everyone to action.
We therefore issue a call to all our partners to join AOSIS in this effort to make this unique opportunity before us one that truly counts.
One that will fulfill the hopes and aspirations of the millions of people who are watching us now and depending on us to do the right thing.
One that will ensure that we achieve the goal of 1.5 to stay alive.
Let us ensure that no island is left behind.
Thank you very much Mr. Chairman