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Small Island States Push for 1.5ºC Limit on Warming

Small island states attending the UN climate talks in Geneva last week were pushing hard for measures that would assure a 1.5ºC limit on global warming.

“1.5ºC is still within reach,” Maldives Ambassador Ahmed Sareer told RTCC. “It’s clear that science has shown this is possible.”

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While governments agreed to a 2ºC limit at the Copenhagen climate conference in 2009, “the more ambitious goal of 1.5ºC has long been advocated by small islands, fearful rising sea levels and climate-linked extreme weather events could submerge their countries,” King writes. “The goal is still one of many proposals for a Paris agreement,” with references in the general objectives for the agreement and in a document on national carbon reduction targets.

“You have countries already looking at relocation. In the Maldives we have erosion taking place, weather events and biodiversity being affected,” and “the coral is in danger,” said Sareer, who recently assumed the presidency of the 44-member Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS). “These are things we are seeing on a day-to-day basis.”

King notes that AOSIS members are trying to set an example with their own ambitious embrace of clean energy alternatives. “In the past year the Cook Islands, Niue, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Aruba, Dominica, St Kitts and Nevis, Grenada, St Lucia, and the Maldives all announced plans to be 100% renewable by 2020.”