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Climate meet: Island states vs oil countries

The drab and dull climate meetings in Bonn finally saw some sparks of excitement when the grouping of small island states sparred

Written by Amitabh Sinha | Bonn |
June 11, 2010 10:54:31 pm

The drab and dull climate meetings in Bonn finally saw some sparks of excitement on Thursday when the grouping of small island states sparred with oil producing nations led by Saudi Arabia over the need to have a scientific evaluation done on options for restricting the global rise in temperatures to within 1.5 degree from pre-industrial levels.

The small island states,which are considered to be most vulnerable to the effects of climate change,had moved a proposal on Wednesday evening requesting the UN climate secretariat to prepare a technical analysis to suggest what additional measures would be needed to keep the global rise in temperatures to within 1.5 degrees.

The proposal was vehemently opposed by Saudi Arabia and fellow oil producing countries like Venezuela,Kuwait and Qatar. They managed to shoot the proposal down Thursday morning,asking the small island states to raise the matter at the next climate change conference at Cancun,in Mexico,in November-December.

Oil producing countries stand to lose the maximum,economically,by the global shift in energy consumption from fossil fuels to renewables like wind or solar,that the climate challenge is likely to force on the world.

“We are not going to let this issue die down. We will raise it again in Cancun. We feel encouraged with the wide range of support that our proposal has received from a number of countries,” said Ronald Jumeau,ambassador of Seychelles,a member of the Association of Small Island States (AOSIS),to the UN.

Most of the other countries,including India,support this limit to be kept at 2 degrees and this target was reflected in the Copenhagen Accord as well. But the sea-level rise that is likely to accompany a 2 degree rise in temperature is predicted to be a death call for number of low-lying islands which face the risk of getting submerged pretty soon.

But a number of countries are of the opinion that a 1.5 degree target is not realistic,since the rich industrialised countries are not ready to make emissions reductions for a rise below 2 degrees.

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