1 December, 2012

AOSIS, LDCs, African Group: Talks Falling Short on Short-Term Ambition

DOHA—As the first week of climate change negotiations in Doha concludes, the Alliance of Small Island States, Least Developed Countries and the African Group, which together represent 100 countries and over 1.4 billion people who are highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, raised concerns that the talks are falling short of the commitments on short-term ambition that were central to the agreement reached last year in Durban.

“As representatives of over 1.4 billion people around the world who are already suffering, and in some cases dying, because of climate change, we are gravely concerned that the negotiations have drifted away from conversations about short-term – pre-2020 – mitigation ambition.

“Prior to the start of the meeting, a series of scientific reports reminded negotiators that without bold action, the world is on track for 3-5 degree Celsius rise in temperature. Today we saw another analysis that showed limiting global warming below 2 degrees C – or even to below 1.5 degrees remains technically and economically feasible, but only with political ambition backed by rapid action starting now.

“The science is absolutely clear: if emissions are not lowered immediately, the opportunity to avert the worst impacts of climate change may be irrevocably lost.

“The agreement we reached Durban last year was contingent upon making progress toward this goal and unfortunately the talks are falling far short of this imperative.

“Our position on the Kyoto Protocol is not arbitrary, it is the product of a careful consideration of the latest science and best practices under international law:

“First, the second commitment period should be for a length of five-years to avoid locking-in insufficient mitigation ambition and provisional application remains the strongest available legal option for avoiding a gap between the first and second commitment periods.

“Second, the use of surplus units from the first commitment period must be dramatically curbed in the second commitment period to protect the environmental integrity of the treaty.

“Third, parties must reaffirm that legally binding QELROS inscribed in Annex B for the second commitment period are required for all Annex I Parties wishing to participate in the Kyoto Protocol flexible mechanisms.

“Furthermore, those few Annex 1 countries that are not parties to the Kyoto Protocol must also take more ambitious and comparable mitigation commitments under the LCA.

“Our countries are already experiencing more frequent and extreme weather events, such as storms, floods, and droughts that are increasingly difficult to manage because of climate change. Further delay, could mean our ability to adequately respond to them is lost entirely.”