Progress in Bonn, But Crunch Is On

Bonn, Germany—At the closing of the latest round of U.N. climate talks, the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), a group of 44 small island and coastal states that are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, Ahmed Sareer, Permanent Representative to the United Nations for the Maldives, and Chair of AOSIS, released the following statement on behalf of the group:

“This round of talks opened in the context of record cyclones and typhoons in the Pacific, a deadly heat wave in India, and news that 2015 is on track break last year’s notorious distinction as the hottest on record. It is thus appropriate that the world has committed to reach an ambitious agreement to reduce the heat-trapping gases responsible for climate change at the end of the year in Paris.

“We took another step toward an ambitious treaty, building on the shared trust and urgency that developed in Geneva. But we are acutely aware that we still have considerable work ahead of us at the next sessions if we are to meet the Paris deadline.

“Our view is that the outcome must be a legally binding protocol under the convention that is applicable to all Parties, and in line with keeping global temperatures below 1.5 degrees Celsius, is the best way to achieve that objective. It will also need to give balanced treatment to key areas, including mitigation, finance, capacity building, technology, and adaptation.

“But we also know that immediate emissions reductions are essential to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Therefore we welcome the productive discussions about near-term emissions reductions under Workstream 2 and there is wide agreement by parties that Paris should deliver a strong decision that advances the technical process. Solutions to climate change are widely available and more cost-effective than ever before. This line of discussions will help us overcome barriers to implementation of proven solutions and rapidly scale up their deployment around the world.

“Finally, the accelerating impacts of climate change remind us that impacts in many cases have surpassed our ability to adapt. Therefore, Loss and Damage must be treated separately as a stand-alone element of the 2015 agreement and ongoing work under the Convention will need to be enhanced, particularly the development of an approach to addressing permanent and irreversible losses and damages with commensurate funding. The potential for innovative sources of support must be explored with efforts made to build on the outputs of previous, planned work, processes, and COP decisions.

“As it has been said, ‘we are the first generation to feel the effects of climate change and the last that will be able to do anything about it.’”