Hustling through the halls and sitting at the cafés of Le Bourget during the first week of COP21, one number was on everyone’s lips – 1.5°C.
While new versions of the draft climate agreement are pumped out like hot bread, what are the changes with regard to 1.5°C?
The good news is that the Parties have documented their recognition that even when combined, the INDCs submitted by will not lead to a global temperature of 2˚C and therefore much more needs to be done to reduce global emissions. However, is there going to be any delivery on that recognition?
It doesn’t seem that way, as they have not yet chosen the 1.5˚C over the 2˚C goal.
Caribbean countries are in solidarity with other developing countries in the push to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. Countries such as Germany and France, now support this goal. Science shows that 1.5˚C is the absolute threshold; above this ecosystems will collapse and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) will suffer. SIDS are heavily dependent on ecosystems as a source of income and must not resign this stance.
For instance, Guyana and Grenada are two low-lying countries that will suffer tremendously if the 2 degree stands. The Caribbean is currently undergoing its most severe drought in the past five years, which greatly affects land resources and food security. For instance, Antigua was recently drought-stricken, running out of surface water and having all surface catchments fall below extraction levels.
According to the Chair of G77 + China “we can’t continue to diminish the level of ambition,” yet this is what is happening at COP21. Ambition is being cut down at an alarming rate. With countries like Germany and France growing closer toward .1.5˚C, what is holding back the others? More countries need to come on board. Join us on 1.5 side, we have those delicious chocolate cookies being sold at the café in Le Bourget, Hall 4.
Parties believe that there is an “urgent threat of climate change,” when in fact climate change is happening now. It is already here.
According to the President of Kirbati, Anote Tong, “There are aspects of this forum which are just not negotiable and the 1.5 is one of these. If it is two degrees then that is trouble for us, are you prepared to look us in the face and make that decision?”
Here is an infographic to explain exactly why