An Incremental Advance when Exponential Change is Needed: AOSIS Statement at COP28 Closing Plenary

December 13, 2023 AOSIS Lead Negotiator, Anne Rasmussen Download PDF

Topic: Climate

Thank you, Mr. President

First of all, let me thank you and your team, as well as the secretariat, for all of your hard work.

We did not want to interrupt you, but we are a little confused about what just happened. It seems that you gavelled the decisions, and the small island developing states were not in the room. We were working hard to coordinate the 39 small island developing states that are disproportionally affected by climate change, and so were delayed in coming here. So, we will deliver the statement that we were going to deliver before this text was adopted without us.

AOSIS at the beginning of this COP had one objective, to ensure that 1.5 is safeguarded in a meaningful way. Our leaders and Ministers have been clear. We cannot afford to return to our islands with the message that this process has failed us. This first GST is of particular significance. It is the only GST that matters for ensuring that we can still limit global warming to 1.5C.

The draft text you have presented to us contains many good elements. We see strong references to the science complemented by a clear runway with milestones for strengthening Party efforts to prepare and submit enhanced NDCs through to 2025. We also welcome the establishment of the technology implementation programme. These elements are important. The question we have considered as AOSIS is whether they are enough. Zoning in on paragraphs 26-29 of this draft decision we have come to the conclusion that the course correction that is needed has not yet been secured. We have made an incremental advancement over business as usual when what we really needed is an exponential step-change in our actions and support.

Mr. President, In paragraph 26 we do not see any commitment or even an invitation for Parties to peak emissions by 2025. We reference the science throughout the text and even in this paragraph but then we refrain from an agreement to take the relevant action in order to act in line with what the science says we have to do. It is not enough for us to reference the science and then make agreements that ignore what the science is telling us we need to do. This is not an approach that we should be asked to defend.

Mr. President, On paragraph 28, we are exceptionally concerned that this does not do what we need. In sub para 28 (d) the exclusive focus on energy systems is disappointing. We are concerned that paragraphs 28 (e) and (h) potentially take us backward rather than forward. In sub para (e) We are being asked to endorse technologies that could result in actions that undermine our efforts. In sub para (h) we see a litany of loopholes. It does not deliver on a subsidy phaseout, and it does not advance us beyond the status quo.

Mr. President, On paragraph 11, we have requested repeatedly that this be moved to the preamble to be in line with the Paris Agreement. We do not want to renegotiate the Paris Agreement. This reasonable request has been ignored. AOSIS does not consider para. 11 to have any effect on the obligations and benefits contained in the Paris Agreement and Convention on the special circumstances of SIDS and LDCs.

Mr. President, We must leave here with a set of decisions that meet the magnitude of the climate crisis, that meet the expectations that the world has of us, and that meet what is needed to secure the future of the coming generations.

Sub Topic: Mitigation


Meeting: COP28