Thursday, December 10, 2009

Two Too Much for Tuvalu

The tiny island state of Tuvalu and other vulnerable nations representing more than half the countries on earth (the half that doesn't count) have rejected the 2 degree Celsius climate "guard rail" target of the industrialized and developing world. These countries want the ceiling set no higher than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The dissenters warn they won't sign any deal based on a 2 degree C target.

Unfortunately, a 1.5 degree cap isn't technologically feasible. That would require reducing existing atmospheric CO2, currently at 387 ppm, to 350 parts per million virtually overnight. There is no technology today capable of stripping carbon emissions from the atmosphere.

The dissenting group includes the 43-members of the Alliance of Small Island States backed by another 48 of the least developed countries, many from sub-Saharan Africa.

Today the Alliance of Small Island States (Aosis), a grouping of 43 of the smallest and most vulnerable countries, including Tuvalu, said any rise of more than 1.5C was not negotiable at Copenhagen.

"We have two research stations, one in the Pacific and one in the Caribbean. They both suggest a rise of 2C is completely untenable for us," said Dessima Williams, a Grenadian diplomat speaking for Aosis.

"Our islands are disappearing, our coral reefs are bleaching, we are losing our fish supplies. We bring empirical evidence to Copenhagen of what climate change is doing now to our states," she said.

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