Pacific Island nations stand together

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Tala Vaifanua, Paris

Small island states and Caribbean countries have joined forces to push for developed countries to agree to a 1.5 degree Celsius target. The Paris climate talks are in their last week, but the lowered limit remains elusive.

Small Island states (SIDS), including Caribbean countries have been heavily impacted by the effects of climate change, but have done little to contribute to the global greenhouse gas emissions problem. Standing together they hope their voices will resonate louder to the world leaders attending the conference than they do alone.  

Tala Vaifanua spoke to Suluimalo Amataga Penaia, Samoa's Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment regarding the situation. He said that all Pacific Island countries like Samoa, Tuvalu, Kiribati and the Caribbean uniting under the Alliance of Small Island to put out a strong message to big countries of the world like China, USA, India and Europe to come to a legal binding agreement that will actually reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Asked for a comment on whether the world leaders will take into account the plea from the Pacific he said he wasn’t in the position to respond since the negotiations are still underway, but his fingers are crossed that the Pacific Islands plea will be heard.

The main objective of the annual Conference of Parties (COP) is to review the Convention’s implementation. The first COP took place in Berlin in 1995 and significant meetings since then have included COP3 where the Kyoto Protocol was adopted, COP11 where the Montreal Action Plan was produced, COP15 in Copenhagen where a successive agreement to the Kyoto Protocol was unfortunately not realized, and COP17 in Durban where the Green Climate Fund was created.

This year’s conference is the first in over 20 years of UN negotiations that aims to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C.