2 degrees Celsius or 1.5 to stay alive?

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DBS TV, Paris, France

Debates as to what is the safest temperature limit above which climate change becomes dangerous is one of the hottest topics for debate at the 21st Conference of Parties in Paris France. St Lucia and small island developing states contend it should be 1.5 or the Caribbean region as to we know it could disappear. 

2 degrees Celsius has become the widely reported safe global warming limit, however many scientist argue that it could still mean unbearable  destruction for St Lucia and other small island developing states. Of the 195 countries present at the UN climate conference in Paris, 106 of have said 1.5C is the only acceptable pathway.

Lead Negotiator for Loss and Damage for the Caribbean and Small Island Developing States, James Fletcher agrees.

"When we fight for 1.5 degrees Celsius, we're not fighting for a number, we're fighting for our lives, we're fighting for our livelihoods" he says, "because the science has shown very clearly that you will have ecosystem collapse...that you will have sea level rise that will cause immense damage to many of our coastlines and many of our countries."

His position has been echoed by the Director General Secretariat on Pacific Regional Environment Program regions, David Shepard.

"There's a major difference between impact between 1.5 and 2 degrees," says Shepard. "Coral reefs will suffer major stress at 1.5, at 2 degrees there's a high likelihood of them dying completely, so in the Pacific, the Caribbean, we depend on the resources of the ocean for our survival."

Some are of the opinion that wealthy countries will prevail in keeping the 2C target. A Saudi Arabian official had objected to the debate, saying: he does not think there is any scientific finding supporting 1.5C.