Thursday 17 December 2009

Negotiations restart, less than 24 hours before a deal is signed

Makereta Komai, PACNEWS, Climate Pasifika

Copenhagen, 17 December - After almost 12 hours of deadlock in climate change negotiations in Copenhagen, talks resumed Thursday afternoon at ministerial level, as directed by the President of the Conference of the Parties (COP), Danish Prime Minister, Lars Lokke Rasmussen.

Two contact groups were hurriedly convened to look at outcomes from the Ad Hoc Working group on Long Term Co-operative Action (AWG-LCA) and the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP).

The two working groups presented their draft outcome documents to plenary on Wednesday evening after COP was unable to convene for over six hours.

UNFCCC executive secretary Yvo de Boer was encouraged by the effort of the Danish PM to work out a deal through the political process.

“Hold tight and mind the door, the car is moving again, said de Boer

“Their deadline is this evening, and it’s only a matter of hours now that we have to come up with a document."

French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, in his country statement appealed to all the leaders of the different regions of the world to meet Thursday evening to bring about some political consensus at the highest level.

“We have less than 24 hours and we have to now consider a compromise text. We can have a working meeting this evening to push this stalled process forward", said Sarkozy.

The European Union and all its 27 members remain convinced that a deal can be sealed, only if China and the U.S sort themselves out.

EU President, Jose Manuel Barosso was optimistic that with the little time available, some consensus should be reached.

“In Rio, the agreement came at the very end after some dramas. We are disappointed with the slow pace of the negotiations but we must not under estimate the progress made in the last two years"

“I am optimistic that we can still reach a deal by Friday (18 Dec) as planned", said Barosso.

Similarly, the U.S Secretary of States, Hillary Clinton is hopeful for a successful outcome here in Copenhagen.  She has been tasked by President Barack Obama to give political leadership to the U.S negotiation team, led by its special climate change envoy, Ambassador Todd Stern.

“After years of diplomacy, we now have to make a decisive decision to provide the foundation of a sustainable world.

“We have now reached a critical juncture in these talks. We understand the talks have faced some difficulties but we are working around the clock to forge a deal", said Secretary of State Clinton.

“We must now reach for common grounds and take the historic step to sign a deal that the world is waiting for. It’s not about us versus them or these groups against another group."

However, she insisted that China and other developing economies must step up and make meaningful reductions.

“China needs to commit to transparency, especially after Bali where developing countries agreed to allow for transparency. That is a deal breaker for the United States, especially now when we are trying to define, observe and implement transparency."

“To back away now undermines the whole process", Clinton said.

The U.S will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 17 percent below 1990 levels, 30 percent in 2025, 42 percent in 2030 and more than 80 percent by 2050.

Responding to calls for commitments to long term financing, Secretary Clinton today announced her government’s intention to raise $100 billion annually from 2020 for adaptation and mitigation.

“The U.S is prepared to work jointly with other developed and developing countries to mobilise 100 billion by 2020. Funding will come from public and private groups, bilateral and multilateral donors and from other alternative sources."

Oxfam International welcomed Secretary Clinton’s announcement of financial resources of $100 billion dollars a year by 2020.

“Support for poor countries cannot be left to the whims of the markets. It is absolutely crucial that this money comes from public sources and is additional to current aid commitments.

“If new and guaranteed climate finance is put on the table, it will help move these fracturing talks closer to a global deal on climate change, said Oxfam.

Earlier, China signalled an operational accord out of reach. Now China's climate change ambassador says China has not given up hope for a deal.

China no longer sees a possibility of achieving an operational accord to tackle global warming this week at the UN climate conference, Reuters reported.

The official said that China instead suggested issuing “a short political declaration of some sort.”

Beijing wants a deal that capture all progress achieved over two years of UN-led negotiations and leave room for swift progress on unresolved areas next year, according to a Chinese official…..ends

Kiribati@COP15: On the frontline of climate change catastrophe

Statement by H.E President Anote Tong, of Kiribati

Mr. President
Distinguished delegates
Representatives of Civil Society Groups and
Fellow Citizens of this Planet

Our gathering here is indeed an unprecedented historic event. Never before have so many world leaders been mobilized into action to deal with what has become the most significant challenge facing humanity.

Two years ago the Bali Action Plan began the process of formulating a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol, in response to the damning report of the IPCC on the state of our planet. Our negotiators have worked extremely hard and tirelessly and we must pay tribute to them for their perseverance over the years. However, it remains true that as of this morning several issues remain unresolved and the likelihood of any agreement seems remote.

Mr President,
We are aware that you, together with Friends of the Chair, the Secretary General and several Leaders have worked extremely hard in the corridors and behind closed doors to ensure that an outcome is reached here in Copenhagen. I believe that most, if not all of us, have come to this event with the expectation that we will return with an agreement in the bag – an agreement that is binding; an agreement that unequivocally guarantees the futures of our children and their children.

Mr President,
We, from the low lying small island states who represent the most vulnerable, have been calling for world attention to focus on this disaster for many years. However, it was only through recent developments including the findings of the latest Assessment Report from the IPCC, the initiatives of decisive world leaders such as Mr Gore, and timely interventions by the UN Secretary General earlier this year, which have put in perspective the true nature of the threat facing our planet and all who live on it. During the High-Level Climate Change Summit in New York in September, I was most encouraged by what I saw as an acknowledgement by world Leaders of the reality and the full implications of the problem facing us. However, I am somewhat sobered by the apparent lack of consensus here at Copenhagen, in particular by some of the more disappointing

Statements made during this Conference. In spite of that, we must remain optimistic that a positive outcome will be reached here in Copenhagen. The future of our people and indeed the rest of humanity will be determined by our action over the next few days. We have not come here as observers to see what happens. And I hope we have not come all this way only to see the adoption of future plan of action which will result in the demise of our people. It is my sincere hope that we have come here as Leaders to provide the leadership needed to change the course of climate change; to make decisions that will guarantee the survival of the most vulnerable.

Mr. President,
The science on climate change is very clear. The severity and the urgency of the threats posed by climate change may not be the same for each of the countries represented here, but the direction is unquestionably the same. Time is running out for some of us, so it is imperative that we act now. If we cannot achieve our objective of a legally-binding agreement this week, then we must at least have an accord that mandates the conclusion of such an agreement by no later than the middle of next year, and that incorporates the key components thereof. Where there are gaps in the numbers put forward by our negotiators, let the science and our collective conscience be our guide on what future course of action to take. We ask that clear commitments be made on mitigation and adaptation programs, in particular the funding components. We need fast track financing to address the more urgent adaptation needs of the most vulnerable. Much detail needs to be filled in, but let that not stand in the way of reaching agreement in principle that will be meaningful and will help restore confidence to those who look to us for leadership.
Mr. President,
Trust and sincerity are indispensable factors in this process – the absence of which may have been major contributing factors to the lack of progress in these negotiations. It is also important that the process be an inclusive one – one that ensures the involvement of all countries, including Taiwan, who have the capacity to make significant contributions to addressing the problem. We acknowledge that the positions put forward represent the best deals for different groupings, interests and countries. But the issues on the agenda are much too important to the future of humanity to allow our differences to dominate the outcome.

Mr. President,
As a Leader of a country on the very frontline of this climate change catastrophe, I wish, on behalf of the people I represent, to thank you and all who have contributed to what I desperately hope will be a positive outcome from this conference. I also take this opportunity to express my deep gratitude to those members of Civil Society, religious organizations, youth and all who have demonstrated that they care, and who remain supportive at this critical moment.

Thank you.

A colourful week - COP 15 in photos

Nanette Woonton and Rachna Lal explore the week that was through the digital lens: view slideshow with captions

COP15 held hostage by world politics:Q and A with Ian Fry, Tuvalu

 Lisa Williams-Lahari and Geoffrey Smith
Thursday 17 December 2009, COPENHAGEN--The sound of hours ticking by are becoming more urgent , the frustration more palpable as Pacific negotiators and leaders eye the gap between the '1.5 to stay alive' bottom lines to a climate change agreement, and the need to 'seal the deal' here in Copenhagen. We caught up with Tuvalu's Chief Negotiator Ian Fry.

LWL: What are you going to do tomorrow if at the end of it all,coming all these miles, with all these leaders in the room, and we just get gven a list saying take it or leave it?
Ian Fry: That's not for me to decide. We have our Prime minister here and that's for him to decide how we conclude on that. Do we stay?Do we sign on to something that's pathetic or do we walk away?That's not for me to decide.

LWL: Ian it's less than 24 hours before we seal the deal. Are we really here to talk about revealing the deal given the tone of what we've been hearing?
Ian Fry:Well we've obviously got a lot of problems. Tuvalu's has brought forward a legal text to b considered at this meeting. Six months ago we brought forward proposals for a Copenhagen protocol and amendments to the Kyoto Protocol and we haven't established a process to even consider that text. So we seem to be going around in circles trying to avoid the real issues that're on the table.

LWL: So has COP15 really just been about a matter of sacrificed process?

Ian: No, we're still hopeful even in the last hours of the meeting that we can at least grab something that will come out of it. But we are very worried that it will just pass on to another meeting that we really not going to have a substantive conclusion at this meeting.

LWL:There's some talk that the arrangement is you agree to meet within the next 6 months and it all depends on the US senate. Should that even be something that we're looking at here?

Ian Fry: Well this is an unfortunate state of world politics that we being held hostage by what's happening in the US congress-- that decisions of the world are being held up by the US and that's very unfortunate. This issue is much too important for Pacific island countries who want something to happen now but unfortunately we are being held hostage and that's very, very, unfortunate.

LWL: Being held hostage and yet from the tone of many of the Pacific leaders in the plenary, it all seemed like it was just another UN meeting.
Ian Fry: Well yes but we have to come to some sort of conclusion. This is a UN meeting.This is an international process. The countriesof the world, the leaders of the world, they come to this meeting to come and reach a conclusion on how to address climate change and that's very important. So it's a UN meeting, but it's a very important UN meeting and we have to work on the basis of these sorts of meetings.
LWL: So still a glimmer of hope there?

Ian Fry: Well we hope so. I mean we still hoping that we can still get something out of this to guarantee our future but it's getting less and less likely as the hours move on.--ENDS

Tuvalu PM Fights for Survival of his People

Rachna Lal, USP Journalism, Climate Pasifika

Copenhagen, 17 December - For vulnerable countries like Tuvalu, the COP15  is a meeting for survival and not a business meeting.  Apisai Ielemia, the Prime Minister of Tuvalu says they have been pressured over the last few days to accept 2 degrees as their target.
“We came to this meeting with high hopes and we will not walk out of Copenhagen having had signed any deal which is more than 2 degrees,” he said. 
According to Ielemia, there have been attemps for meetings with developed countries, to encourage them to water down their proposals to endorse 2 degrees.
“I do not know about the other countries, but I do know that Tuvalu will not give in to their demands.  Our proposals have been swept under the carpet and this is not how UNFCCC should be working.”
He demanded for a just and fair system where the vulnerable parties as well as the developed countries could come together and work on an agreement together with equal contributions.
“Leaders who are pushing for 2 degrees should already know from the science about what will happen to the small countries if we sign a deal for more than 1.5 degrees,” he said.
Prime Minister Ielemia believes there is no more waiting for another conference as the decision for the survival of the vulnerable needs to be made here in Copenhagen.
“If not now, then by the time a deal is agreed upon in later conferences, you will be hearing from this part of the world that a whole island nation on the other sided has been completely swallowed up by a tsunami or hurricane.”
“We are making so much noise for major emission cuts and that is because we also have the fundamental rights to live amongst you.” --ENDS

Pacific Voices @ COP15: David Sheppard, SPREP Director

Geoffrey Smith, Fiji TV, Climate Pasifika

Copenhagen, 17 December -

SPREP Director David Sheppard

We've done our best to put a clear message through to all of the delegates relating to the urgency of the need for action in relation to the Pacific Island countries and territories that climate change is affecting livelihoods and that al of the countries including developed countries need to listen to this voice.

They need to give support for adaptation and mitigation in a practical way.

The challenge always the Pacific and also as part of AOSIS as part of the Alliance of Small Island States have argued for a very strong legally binding instrument from this COP15.

It appears that this is going to be very difficult because of entrenched positions of different parties but the Pacific still maintain the view that we need the strongest possible legal action, we need the strongest possible support to help the people and islands of the pacific to adapt to this major threat of climate change.

Agriculture and Climate Change: Real Problems, False Solutions

Ruci Mafi, SPC, Climate Pasifika

Copenhagen, 16 December - Agriculture is a major contributor to climate change, a report revealed at the 15th Session of the Conference of the Parties in Copenhagen, Denmark.

A report on “Agriculture and Climate Change: Real Problems, False Solutions” said that about 35 percent of greenhouse gas emissions came from non-energy emissions, 14 percent were nitrous oxide and methane from agriculture, 18 percent from land use change mainly from deforestation for agricultural purposes, although there is a high margin of uncertainty.

“Those figures do not include large emissions from soil carbon losses, including peat degradation and peat fires,” the report said.

Citing examples the report made mention of the United States food system which accounts for some 17 percent of its energy consumption.

“There are some scientists who believe that the above figures for emissions from livestock may be a gross

Under estimate and methane has a much greater short term warming impact than is suggested by calculating its impact over a century, as is commonly done,” the report said.

At the same time, the impacts of climate change on agriculture are already serious.

The report was published for the Conference of the Parties, COP15, of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen and was prepared by NOAH - Friends of the Earth Denmark, and The Development Fund Norway December 2009.

“Seasons and weather are becoming increasingly unpredictable and extreme.”

“This can lead to major losses as farmers no longer know what or when to plant,” the report said.

If climate change continues unabated, the increasing extremes could lead to the collapse of whole agricultural regions.

“Climate change also disrupts and alters pest and disease patterns, posing risks to agriculture everywhere.”

It is widely accepted that industrial agriculture has had destructive impacts on climate, ecosystems, soil, water and biodiversity resources.

In many quarters, including the UNFCCC itself, further intensification of industrial agriculture is now proposed as part of the solution to the problems of climate change.

Tetepare Island goes REDD in the Solomon Islands

Evan Wasuka, Solomon Islands One Television, Climate Pasifika 
Copenhagen, 17 December - Tetepare Island in the Solomon Islands has the unique distinction of being one of the world’s largest uninhabited islands.
In a country dominated by logging its 12,000 hectares of virgin forests is a rarity and the island has been managed as a conservation area by a local organization the Tetepare Descendants Association.

On the other side of the world Tetepare, is once again breaking new ground by gaining the endorsement of the Solomon Islands government to be the country’s first pilot project for the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation otherwise known as REDD.

Although no national framework is in place for REDD the association will move ahead to prepare the groundwork for Solomon Islands eventual participation in the initiative.

The director of the Solomon Islands Community Conservation Partnership Keyvan Izadi says the Tetepare Island project which has been ongoing since the 2002 has the natural attributes to become a REDD project.

“We feel this is a ready made project for accessing carbon investment,” Izadi told reporters at a press conference in Copenhagen.

The Solomon Islands Minister for Environment Gordon Darcy Lilo says his government has given its backing to Tetepare because it is a “win-win situation,” both for the conservation of forests and for the economic return islanders can get out of the carbon trade.

“This will empower local communities to be part of the solution to the global climate crisis,” said Lilo.

Currently the carbon trade is occurring internationally on a voluntary basis.

The REDD initiative will offer developing countries a chance to save their forests in return for carbon credits which can sold to developed countries.

Solomon Islands is among the countries at the UN Climate talks that are backing REDD to be included in the final agreement at Copenhagen.

“This project will protect the ecosystem of one of the unique islands in the Pacific,” said Lilo.

Tetepare is 144 square kilometers in size and is one of the remaining large unlogged islands in the Solomon Islands.  Allan Tippet Bero of the TDA says the islands natural resources are in tact and undisturbed including its marine life.

He says Tetepare inclusion in REDD would continue to conserve the islands resources.

“There can no more powerful response to climate change than a grassroots response…this project will be sustainable because it is the community that is supporting it," said the environment minister.

“We are not passive victims of climate change we can be part of the solution."

Pacific Voices @ COP 15: Dr Al Binger, Scientist AOSIS

Geoffrey Smith, Fiji TV, Climate Pasifika

Copenhagen, 17 December -As negotiations stall at the 11th hour with time fast running out, frustrations are slowly boiling over.

At least one leading member with the Alliance of Small Island States has described the deadlock over various versions of a draft texts as nothing short of disappointing.

Dr. Al Binger summarised for us just how stalled talks are now beginning to take its toll on negotiators.


Absolutely nothing. The only thing happening here is that the weather is getting cold and everybody is getting pissed off.

Well it may be surprising to some people but to most of us this is what we kind of figured that this would be the outcome.

Im surprised that some of the parties who should be more constructive havent been more constructive. But its a total disappointment.

Soundbites@COP 15; Youth from PNG and the Solomon Islands

by Ahimsa Kibikibi, PNG National Broadcasting Corporation, Climate Pasifika 

Copenhagen, 17 December - Papua New Guinean, Rebecca Asigau, representing youth in the Pacific region at COP 15 hopes there will be a youth climate movement or body established soon in her country to advocate on climate change issues.

Ms Asigau told Climate Pasifika she cannot really speak on behalf of all PNG youth but in attending her first COP meeting this has been a real eye opener for her, a climate change intern.  

Transcript: ' I am here to learn so that I can be a really good asset to my country, to educate and formulate measures,' she said.

Ms Asigau is with the Australian Youth Climate Coalition-Project Survival Pacific. 

Solomon Islands youth reprsentative, Christina Ora told a press conference, climate change is not a dream.

Transcript: ' I wish that climate change is just a dream, is just a bad dream and that sooner or later, we'll all wake up and laugh about it, but it is reality and it affects us all. Are we going to join our hands together, a global effort and stand up to the biggest environmental issue, facing us?  We need this deal, it is for survival. 

Call for marine component into climate change text

Ahimsa Kibikibi, PNG National Broadcasting Centre, Climate Pasifika
Copenhagen, 16 December - Negotiators in Copenhagen have been called on to give attention and act on threats climate change poses to the marine environment, particularly coral reefs, fisheries and ultimately food security.

Indonesia and Solomon Islands ministers, made the call on behalf of the “Coral six countries” at the Climate Change talks when presenting a joint communiqué on oceans and climate change at the first Oceans Day at COP 15.

“Oceans play a critical role but climate variability has become one of the greatest threats to the survival of the Coral Triangle”, Solomon Islands Environment minister, Gordon Darcy Lilo said.

 “I'd like to call upon all parties here at COP15 to support the adaptation and mitigation measures put forward by the six CTI countries,” Indonesia’s environment minister, Fadel Muhammad said.

The Coral Triangle Initiative is an ambitious sub region, marine conservation program that covers the coastal environments and coral reefs of Malaysia, Philippines, Papua New Guinea and Timor Leste, Solomon Islands and Indonesia.

It is often referred to as the ‘Amazons of the Seas’as it is the epicenter of marine life, holding more than 75% of the known corals and over3,000 species of fish..

The Gizo joint communiqué, signed last month highlights the importance of marine resources to the livelihoods of more than 240 million people and notes a high concern over sea level rise and the increase in ocean temperatures and acidity,

But most importantly calls for the inclusion of a marine component within the negotiation text of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The Coral Triangle Initiative is being implemented with support from a number of international partner organizations, such as Conservation International, the Global Environment Facility, the Nature Conservancy and the World Wide Fund for Nature.

Pacific Voices @ COP 15: Brief plenary contribution by Tuvalu, Ian Fry

Geoffrey Smith, Fiji TV, Climate Pasifika
Copenhagen, 16 December 


There is a feeling of dread that we are on the Titanic and sinking fast.

But we cant launch any lifeboats because a member of the crew has decided that we are not sinking and that we have to have informal consultations to decide whether we are sining or not

Its time Madam President to launch the lifeboats and its time to save this process.

Let us consider the legal text that is on the table and and move forward.

Pacific Voices @ COP 15: Prime Minister of Vanuatu, Edward Natapei

Geoffrey Smith, Fiji TV, Climate Pasifika
Copenhagen, 16 December - Vanuatu Prime Minister Edward Natapei anticipates that come Friday, COP15 might just surprise even its biggest sceptics.

Vanuatu has one of the fastest growing populations in the Pacific of around 3.6 percent against a total land area of not more than 12,274 square kilometers on which just over 210,000 people are scattered across Vanuatu's 2 volcanic islands.

PM Natapei says while the momentum is now well and truly building as leaders step up to the mark, he knows for the Pacific, compromising could be tantamount to displacement.

We came in with specific ideas and we were hoping to come away with a legally binding agreement and it seems to be the subject of negotiations.

So we are going to have to continue to negotiate up until the very last minute.

If we can be successful in securing some sort of understanding and agreement with the big powers by the end of the day it all depends on how things unfold over the next day or so.

Pacific Voices @ COP 15: President of Kiribati, Anote Tong

Geoffrey Smith, Fiji TV, Climate Pasifika

Copenhagen, 16 December - One of the smallest island states attending COP15 remain hopeful of a successful outcome even with the odds stacked heavily against it.

With a scattered population not more than 110,000 people across its vulnerable 32 coral island atolls, Kiribati President Anote Tong says while the signs don't look good now, he has no choice but to remain optimistic.


I hope something that would guarantee our survival is the minimum that will be achieved, lets hop that we can achieve this.

I think the developments don't appear to give us a great deal for optimism but I don't think we should give up, I think we should continue to persist and try and achieve something. We have no choice. 

We cannot go away without reaching an agreement.

Tuvalu@COP15: No short term finance can buy our long term future

Wednesday 16 December, 2009, COPENHAGEN-- Tuvalu Prime Minister Apisai Ielemia presents Tuvalu's national statement to the High Level plenary at COP15.

Mr President,
Heads of State,
Heads of Government
Ladies and Gentlemen, and,
most importantly the youth and leaders of tomorrow

It is a great pleasure to be in this wonderful city of Copenhagen and it is a great honour to speak on behalf of the people of Tuvalu at this very special moment. As people are no doubt aware Tuvalu has been quite prominent in the newspapers and media over the last week. This is for a very good reason. As we are the most vulnerable country in the world to the impacts of climate change, it is important that our concerns are known.

Through you, Mr President, on behalf of all the people of Tuvalu I want to thank all the many, many people who have offered their support to Tuvalu over the last week and over the years. I am extremely grateful for the extraordinary expression of understanding of Tuvalu’s fragile existence in a world brought about by climate change. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you.

Mr President,
Six months ago Tuvalu presented three legally binding agreements for consideration by Parties at this conference. The first was a set of amendments to the Kyoto Protocol. These amendments were simple and straightforward. They established a new commitment period and provided new opportunities for generating finance to support the adaptation fund.

The second legal agreement was a small one to provide immunities for people serving under various bodies under the Kyoto Protocol.

The third was a new protocol to set in concrete the Bali Action Plan. This new protocol would establish goals of ensuring that the global temperature would stablize at a temperature well below 1.5 deg Celsius compared with pre-industrial levels. It would establish a greenhouse gas stabilization goal of 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide equivalent. It would ensure that the world took collective action reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Other key elements of our proposed new protocol would include emission reduction actions for developed and developing countries, including actions relating to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. It incorporates rules to respect the rights of Indigenous Peoples. It establishes a focussed programme on adaptation to assist the most vulnerable countries in the world to the impacts of climate change. This includes the establishment of regional adaptation centres and a special new international insurance facility to provide assistance to those that suffer the impacts of climate change. It proposes new funding arrangements and arrangements for technology transfer and capacity building.

This new protocol would not replace the Kyoto Protocol. We firmly believe the Kyoto Protocol must continue. The Kyoto Protocol provides the strong legal basis for action by industrialised countries to reduce their emissions and recognises the significance of the historical responsibility.

Mr President,
I, like many other world leaders have come to Copenhagen to put my name on legal agreements. We want to sign up to a new commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol. And as we did in Kyoto, we have come here to sign the Copenhagen Protocol in honour of the great city where we are meeting.

Mr President,
The world is watching us. It is time to take decisive action and put our names to these legally binding agreements. I did not come from right across the other side of the world to sign on to mere COP decisions or a hollow political agreement. We are not here to window dress a failure. We are here to sign on the dotted line - nothing less.

We know that there are offers of fast start funding. But no amount of short term finance can buy our long term future. We need concrete legal agreements to guarantee our future.

Mr President ,
Tuvalu’s future, and the future of many millions of people, rests on a fully fledged legally binding outcome in Copenhagen. We are ready, the millions of people watching this process are ready. Let us together, create a historical moment in time and sign. For Tuvalu’s sake and for the sake of humanity, let’s seal the deal, right here, right now.

Thank you.

Tuvalu mote Atua.

Samoa@COP15:Time to change the climate of our dealings with each other

Wednesday 16 December 2009, COPENHAGEN -- Samoa Prime Minister Tuilaepa L. S. Malielegaoi gives the national statement during the COP15 High Level plenary. 

Mr. President,
Distinguished delegates,
Ladies and gentlemen,

"Survival is not negotiable", "No island left behind", "Respect our right to survive", and "Seal a Deal for a new climate agreement" are the calls made repeatedly over the past weeks and here in Copenhagen.

Mr. President:
For Samoa, the planet is our common heritage, the earth our birthright and our home. Changes to the climate should never divide us, instead they should unite us. We share the same environment and we will be affected by the impacts of climate change irrespective or whether we contribute d or not to its causes and whether we believe in the phenomenon or are denial of its reality.

Climate change is a global menace. Its adverse effects, in human and financial costs will continue to be borne disproportionately by vulnerable small island countries.

Yet it is not their fault that their islands are small, low lying and resources-constrained.

As a global community, our interests, though divergent and many, are inextricably linked. Our fates moreover are deeply intertwined. No nation however large or small, rich or poor, a major emitter of greenhouse gases or not will be spared from the impact of climate change. Importantly, no one nation alone can tackle climate change on its own.

That is why we have come to Copenhagen so that we can be part of the solution not an obstacle to consensus building. We will come out of this process the biggest losers if no comprehensive and substantive deal is brokered and delivered before we depart Copenhagen. While we try to negotiate for the ideal agreement, let's not lose sight of the reality that the impacts of climate change are getting worse by the day.

It is a grave mistake and disservice to our peoples, if this great gathering of world leaders goes away from Copenhagen with nothing to show.

Climate change is an issue of survival for Samoa and other low-lying islands - hence our support for a legally binding instrument to reflect the science under the two tracks with an effective and equitable compliance regime. This is not a political slogan to win over support or a campaign gimmick to enlist sympathy.

Climate change is real. It has already happened and continues to happen in our Pacific region. We see and experience it everyday. Our coastlines have been eroded, our corals bleached, and salt water intrusion is affecting fresh water resources and crop cultivation along coastal areas. We have been forced to relocate populations and necessary infrastructure to higher grounds at very high costs, both financially and socially. Simply put, it is no longer a question of when, but rather the severity of the magnitude and frequency of climate change impacts, and their enormous cost to society.

Mr. President,
Samoa has experienced first hand what natural catastrophes and the impact of climate change are capable of.

From devastating cyclones since the early 1990s, strong winds and heavy flooding yearly, to the deadly tsunami that struck Samoa two months ago, causing massive destruction and the loss of many lives.

These disasters also resulted in major setbacks in the development progress of our country, and incurred heavy unanticipated financial commitments, but also accelerated our adaptation responses to the adverse impacts of climate change.

I highlight this to underscore both the magnitude and cost of climate change and the fad that small island states like Samoa are right up there with the rest doing our share, often at great expenses, to mitigate emissions and adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change with limited resources.

On our own, as an individual country, we cannot make much of an impact.

The magnitude of the climate change challenge requires a "total solution" possible only with the world working together.

Mr. President,
To ensure that small island developing states continue to undertake adaptation and mitigation activities, new and grant-based resources should be made available immediately, today!! Such resources should be fast-tracked through simplified procedures and expedited access to dedicated funding earmarked for Pacific Small Island developing states which, after all have contributed the least to climate change but face extreme exposure and vulnerability to its impacts.

Mr. President,
A comprehensive solution requires a new brand of leadership, one with vision and actions that transcend the narrow pursuit of self interest and places the good of mankind ahead of ones own domestic agenda. A new brand of leadership that places a premium on equity and survivability of Small Island states ahead of political and economic expediencies.

A brand of leadership with the strength of conviction to lead by doing, because it is morally correct and proper to do so, not because it is conditional on actions by others. Otherwise, we are effectively assigning those small islands least responsible for the causes of climate change and without the means to mitigate and adapt to its impacts to an uncertain and unsustainable future.

In retrospect the ineffective mitigation reduction actions then and now by
nations in leadership positions, the posturing and rhetoric in negotiations that are short on sincere intentions and tangible solutions, the preoccupation of some in the blame and shame game to shift responsibilities and to avoid assuming greater role in solving the problem at hand, have all contributed to the atmosphere of mistrust and suspicion that at times have taken a toll on those islands with everything to lose and who have been negotiating from the outset in good faith.

Let Copenhagen be the city where we agree to change the climate of our dealings with each other. Let us trust each other and build bridges to reach out to all parties to seek understanding and to make accommodations. We must not allow ourselves to leave Copenhagen without sealing a deal for a new legally binding climate change agreement for our present world and for the future of our children.

Thank you.

Palau@COP15: Human ingenuity must be harnessed to survive climate change

Wednesday 16 December 2009, COPENHAGEN -- Statement of Palau President Johnson Toribiong at the COP15. 

Nauru@COP15: No political agreement without political will

Wednesday 16 December 2009, COPENHAGEN-- Statement from Nauru President Marcus A. Stephen at the High Level COP15 Plenary

Republic of Nauru
Prepared Statement by
H.E. the Hon. Marcus Stephen, M.P.
President & Head of State
of the Republic of Nauru

Thank you, Prime Minister Rasmussen.

On behalf of the Republic of Nauru, I would like to congratulate you on your
assumption of the Presidency and to extend my warm thanks for your hospitality. The people of my island are depending on your leadership to guide us to a fair, ambitious, and legally binding outcome.

Mr. President, These negotiations have become extremely contentious and we have failed to resolve many fundamental issues. It is clear that not all of us appreciate the gravity of the problem we face. I am under intense political pressure to abandon my principles, and instead, accept the inadequate proposals on offer.

I would like to respond. We have been asked to be practical. The science tells us that we must limit the rise in global temperature to well below 1.5° Celsius to preserve the chance of avoiding the worst impacts of climate change. To accept anything less would mean the destruction of our marine ecosystems, shortages of food and water, and the relocation of our communities.

Please tell me ‐‐ how is this practical? We have been asked to be realistic. We are experiencing the very real impacts of climate change and paying a very real price.

The World Bank estimates that it will cost up to $100 billion per year for adaptation in developing countries. Yet here in Copenhagen, we have been offered only ten. Please tell me ‐‐ how is this realistic? We have been asked to compromise.

The Republic of Nauru is a single island ‐‐ just 21 square kilometers in size. How much of our island should we compromise? We are trapped, with the Pacific Ocean surrounding us on all sides. Sea levels are rising and we have nowhere else to go.

There is one thing I cannot compromise, and that is my commitment to my people. Mr. President, We must be practical and realistic. We must follow the science. More than half the Parties agree that temperature rise must stay well below 1.5°.

It is well past time that everyone recognizes this as the majority position. And we must respond to critical issues that are beyond the scope of the Convention, such as the security implications of climate change. We must urgently look to fill the gaps in the UN system to address these and other threats. We face a serious problem. What we need now are serious solutions.

The Alliance of Small Island States has tabled a proposal for a two‐track, legally binding outcome that is based on the latest scientific evidence and attempts to bridge the divide between Parties.

A legally binding agreement is an essential component of a robust framework of global environmental governance. We have made constructive contributions to this process. But in the end, we emit very little and yet we suffer the consequences.

The large emitting countries must take responsibility for their pollution. The time for games and political brinkmanship has long since passed. So let us not accept half‐ hearted pledges and half‐measures, and start discussing real proposals. '

Mr. President, There can be no political agreement when there is no political will.

Thank you.

Marshalls@COP15: we claim the simple right to exist

Wednesday 16 December 2009, COPENHAGEN-- Speech of Marshall Islands President Jurelang Zedkaia during the COP15 High Level Plenary

FSM@COP15: Seal the deal to save humanity

Full speech of  FSM President Emanuel Mori to the COP High Level Plenary

H.E. Emanuel (Manny) Mori
President of the
Federated States of Micronesia

Mr. President,
Fellow leaders,
Distinguished delegates,  

I come here today to make a simple plea to seal the deal that will save my country, my people and our cultural heritage. The survival of my country and many others is now in peril after we have lived sustainably on our islands for thousands of years.

We are not certain if our biggest threat is from ocean acidification that will erode our islands from underneath, OR from sea‐level rise that could submerge our islands under the sea, OR from changes in weather and typhoon intensity that could make inhabiting our islands impossible. But we know that our continued peaceful existence is totally at risk. We know that the enemy that gives rise to these threats is climate change.  And we know that to survive, we must act now.

Therefore, I’m calling on you, my fellow leaders, to give island nations like mine a chance of surviving, to prevent catastrophic impacts on this planet, and to give us all a chance to say that when the opportunity presented itself, we made the right choice at the right time.

I ask for your help in doing these three things to save my country. First, I ask that we act now to significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions, which can remain in the atmosphere and continue to cause warming for over 1000 years.  

Second, scientists have warned that if the climate system passes tipping points for irreversible changes, it could simply go beyond our control. Catastrophic impacts could result no matter how much we reduce carbon dioxide in the decades ahead.

So we need to forestall these worst‐case scenarios until we are able to make significant progress on the carbon dioxide priority. To do this, we must address the non-CO2 warming agents while we also address carbon to prevent the climate system from spinning far out of our control.

Third, even if we succeed at stabilizing emissions and atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases—by then we will have entered well into the danger zone.   Therefore, let us effectively reduce concentrations of warming agents directly from the atmosphere.  Then we can implement carbon‐negative strategies, to return the high concentrations of greenhouse gases back to pre industrial levels.

Equally important, we need a financial mechanism that is based on the principle of new, additional, and predictable source of funding for the most vulnerable states, especially the small island developing states and the least developing countries. 

I ask for your help to safe my people.  I ask for your help to safe the people of small island countries like mine. I ask for your help so that together we can safe this planet for our future generations. 

My fellow leaders,

We are not here by accident; we are here for a purpose.  Climate change is our compelling issue.  This is our defining moment.  Let us seal the deal to safe humanity.   

Thank you.