Caribbean continues negotiations for new climate change deal

Friday, December 11, 2015

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PARIS, France (CMC) — Caribbean delegates at the climate change talks here were engaged in another round of talks on the penultimate day of negotiations for a new climate change agreement that will take into consideration their demands and concerns.

Regional government ministers and other representatives deliberated into the early hours yesterday morning over the terms and conditions outlined in the second draft agreement, which was presented earlier in the day.


A statement released by the Caribbean Community (Caricom) after the talks said that while the draft text represents "a useful basis for negotiation" and the region is prepared to engage in negotiations on that basis, there are still some concerns to be addressed in the next round of negotiations.


There was still no consensus on cuts to global temperature rises, and Caricom has made it clear that some of the options put forward were not acceptable.


"For example, option one, to hold the temperature increase to two degrees celsius is not acceptable as it has been established by the Structured Expert Dialogue that two degrees is too high. We therefore should not be spending any more time considering it."


"The goal should be 1.5 and … we want to emphasise, however, that the provision in option two that recognises the higher risks at 1.5 is not a viable option as this is not a goal or an objective. It is an expression of sympathy and we are not here begging for sympathy; we are here because climate change threatens our survival and economic stability and we are seeking solutions under this threat."


Chairman of Caricom’s Regional Coordinating Committee on Climate Change, Dr James Fletcher described the goal of two degrees celsius as "a business as usual agreement", which the Caribbean cannot accept.


"Since everybody has spoken so eloquently about wanting this to be an ambitious agreement, the only way we can leave here with an ambitious agreement is an agreement that either speaks to the temperature goal being below 1.5 degrees Celsius or retains two degrees Celsius as a temperature goal but nuances it by saying well below two degrees Celsius and rapidly scaling up efforts to get to 1.5 degrees. That is the minimum that we can live with,"
Fletcher told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC).


Caricom also noted that the draft agreement does not take into consideration the special circumstances of Small Island Developing States (SIDS).


"We want to emphasise that these special circumstances are real and have been recognised by the international community/world leaders in multiple fora. This reality is non-negotiable. The process here cannot refute what is abundantly evident.


"Likewise it is an undisputed fact, recognised under the Financial Mechanism of the Convention, no less, that SIDS have specific challenges to accessing finance especially for adaptation, and to accessing appropriate technology given our capacity and scale of needs. It would be a grave injustice for those who are bearing the brunt of the adverse effects of climate change and who are very likely to have to pay the ultimate price, to now be treated with such benign neglect in this text," the statement said.


However, Barbados’ Environment Minister Denis Lowe told
CMC that he was confident that developed countries would agree to a 1.5 degree celsius cap on further increase in greenhouse gas emissions.


"The 1.5 (degrees) issue is gaining great support and we feel that it is clear that we are going to get it in the text. It may not come in its absolute form and I think that based on the submissions of other countries of G77, of China, of the Europeans, a strong statement by Britain, I believe that we’re going to get that," Dr Lowe said.


A final agreement is expected to be reached at the end of the conference this evening.

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