Panama City – Here at the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal, where negotiators have gathered to continue work on an international climate treaty, representatives from the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) are calling on governments to remember the objective of the Convention and raise their sights to achieve ambitious emission reductions at the year’s final round of talks in Durban, South Africa.
On behalf of AOSIS, Ambassador Dessima Williams, Permanent Representative for Grenada to the United Nations and Chair of AOSIS, released the following statement:
“Countries that are serious about addressing climate change should be using this meeting to raise, not lower, expectations for Durban. Last year we learned that greenhouse gas emissions hit their highest level on record, and some parties are acting like we have all the time in the world to act when, in fact, any additional delay endangers the survival of entire nations.
“It is high time for leaders to step forward and guarantee the continuity of the Kyoto Protocol.”
Ambassador Williams’ comments underscore the message sent by AOSIS Foreign Ministers earlier this month at the United Nations General Assembly, where they called upon governments to do what is necessary to continue Kyoto and enhance its effectiveness as well as to secure a parallel Protocol that captures the common but differentiated responsibilities all Parties, including legally-binding mitigation commitments for those developed countries that have not signed up to the Kyoto Protocol.
The science shows that if current emission reduction targets and pledges are not increased significantly before 2015, keeping global warming below 2 degrees Celsius, let alone the 1.5 degree limit demanded by over 100 countries, will become more and more difficult and costly. It found that current pledges would put the world on a path to a warming of 3 degrees or more, and a metre or more of sea-level rise, which would inundate many of the island states in AOSIS’ membership.
The Panama City meeting is the final round of preparatory talks in advance of the 17th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
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