AOSIS to major economies at pivotal Bonn Climate Change Conference: “Radically Reduce Fossil Fuels Now, Stay Within 1.5°C”

June 05, 2023 Download PDF

Topic: Climate

At SB 58, the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) called on major economies to radically reduce fossil fuels, make good on unfulfilled pacts, and implement their plans to reduce the impacts of climate change.

The Bonn Climate Change Conference – SB 58 (the 58th sessions of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice and the Subsidiary Body for Implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) – commenced on June 5th, setting the scene for COP28 and bringing together international climate change negotiators and leaders. At the Opening Plenary, AOSIS Chair, Ambassador Fatumanava-o-Upolu III Dr Pa’olelei Luteru warned the international community that the consequence of inaction on climate change is an exponential increase in loss and damage and needs for corresponding response.

“We cannot leave COP28 with anything less than a viable pathway to staying within 1.5°C. We will need a radical reduction in fossil fuels to achieve this. Things must be different – political will must switch gear and translate into more ambition and more action.”

In its full statement, AOSIS called for enhanced action that would lead to an immediate end to fossil fuel subsidies by major emitters, particularly the G20; immediate peaking of global greenhouse gas emissions; halving global GHG emissions by 2030; and reaching net-zero by 2050. It was noted that members of the G7 and G20 must lead the global pursuit of fossil fuel phaseout. AOSIS emphasized that the unfair competitive advantage provided to the fossil fuel industry through fossil fuel subsidies must be removed so that the immediate peaking of emission levels can happen in a way that does not make it more costly, particularly to vulnerable communities.

He urged major economies to look beyond their self-interests and urgently act on climate change:

“Major economies have shown the extent of their abilities in the face of pandemics and wars. But the climate crisis is relegated to being a secondary issue behind their self-interests. The G7 and G20 year-after-year continue to become more entrenched in themselves, and attempt to pacify SIDS with regurgitated, repackaged, and hollow pledges. SIDS (small island developing States), call for nationally determined contributions to become nationally implemented contributions now. SIDS will not mistake motion for action. We will hold all accountable for the lives, livelihoods, and ecosystems that we represent.”

AOSIS’ two high-level priorities that must be realized at COP28 are: 1. Course correcting and ratcheting up ambition based on the latest science, through the outcomes of COP28, including the Global Stocktake process, Mitigation Work Programme, and Global Goal on Adaptation Work Programme; 2. Operationalizing a fit-for-purpose set of funding arrangements centered on a distinct Loss and Damage Fund that is focused on assisting developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change, including their communities and the ecosystems that they depend on, especially in our small island developing States.

Citing the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Cycle which found that the world is far off track from limiting global warming to 1.5°C to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, Ambassador Luteru called for drastic actions to course correct.

On the Global Stocktake (GST), Ambassador Luteru noted, “provides a pivotal moment to heed the alarm bells. We invite the UAE team to set out its vision here in Bonn for the form and content of the GST outcome, so that as Parties we can begin to engage with and shape that vision. We can leave Dubai with a clear roadmap.” “We need to not only fulfill the commitments that we have already made but also ratchet-up ambition to close the mitigation gap in line with the best available science. It would be gross negligence on all our parts if we do not accelerate implementation in this critical decade.”

On the operationalization of the Loss and Damage Fund, AOSIS emphasized it is critical that substantial financial commitments to the fund be made before COP28, and that the instrument of establishment and the provision of initial guidance be finalized at COP28. AOSIS noted the Fund’s initial resource mobilization should include sources such as existing climate finance providers, innovative sources of finance, as well as, at a minimum, voluntary contributions coming from the high emissions private industries and the financial sector that underpins and enables them.

The Chair reiterated AOSIS’ call for the international community to ensure no one is left behind. “SIDS can no longer be an afterthought on your agendas. The climate crisis – this cataclysm that threatens to create refugees of our people at home – must be treated with the utmost urgency, and AOSIS is determined to ensure SB58 advances outcomes that will provide real relief for our vulnerable people and ecosystems they depend on.”


Sub Topic: Mitigation


Meeting: SB52