Doha, Qatar – Small island developing states over the last year have witnessed a startling increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather because of climate change, Nauru’s Foreign Minister, Dr. Kieren Keke told a UN Climate Change conference on Wednesday.
“Droughts are making it harder and harder to grow crops and coral reefs, the foundation of the marine ecosystems we rely on for food and survival, are dying before our eyes,” he said while delivering a statement on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) which includes the Caribbean at the Joint High Level Segment of the conference.
Dr. Keke said despite 20 years of commitments to take action, global temperatures and sea levels continue to rise alongside record greenhouse gas emissions and referred to a series of scientific reports which indicated that unless emissions are immediately reduced, the world is on track for a 3-5 degree rise in temperature and an unthinkable future.
“In other words, the time for incremental progress and piecemeal solutions has long since past, “he said adding that AOSIS position in Doha is based on agreement reached in Durban a year.
“…Unless we commence ambitious action across all areas of the negotiations, some of us will not make it to the end of the century,” he said.
“Our position on the second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol, for example, is not arbitrary; it is the legal embodiment of the ambition we know is required.
These include higher quantified emission limitation and reduction objective (QELROs), a 5-year obligation period, no freeloading in the flexibility mechanisms, and provisional application to maintain legal accountability from the first day of 2013.
As far as raising short-term ambition, AOSIS has submitted a common sense approach that would bring countries together over the next year to identify the actions they can take to lower their emissions.
But he said poor countries will not be able to take the kind of action needed without the mobilization of finance, technology, and capacity building from the developed world.
Dr. Keke said many small islands and other vulnerable countries have been left to shoulder the costs of climate impacts that are already occurring and will now be impossible to avoid.
“We have therefore called for the establishment of an international mechanism that will protect communities against losses and damages suffered when mitigation and adaptation efforts fall short, “he said.
Linda Hutchinson-Jafar is Editor of Earth Conscious Magazine