The message from climate scientists in the IPCC report released today confirms the critical need for governments to take urgent action, and that it’s not too late to keep warming to 1.5˚C once concerted action is taken, says the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS).
“The so-called ‘good news’ from this report is that we haven’t yet missed our chance to act, that the goal we agreed in Paris is still ‘within reach’, and that the Small Island Nations were right to have advocated for it,” said Ambassador Aubrey Webson, Chair of AOSIS.
“The scientists have shared a dire warning that every single tonne of carbon added to the atmosphere will contribute to stronger warming, but also that we are not too late to curb the worst of it. Full implementation of the Paris Agreement is essential to keep the 1.5˚C goal alive, and we urge world powers to step up and save lives and livelihoods right now.”
“Major emitters must take account for the damages inflicted by the fossil fuel industry, knowing that every single tonne of carbon and every single dollar spent on fossil fuels will have a negative impact,” said Ambassador Diann Black-Layne of Antigua and Barbuda, Lead Climate Negotiator for AOSIS. “Near-term action to assuage the worst of the man-made climate impacts is crucial, and the barriers put in our way are the result of the fossil fuel industry’s fight against losing its power. It’s a sector that’s being paid annual subsidies of over $600 billion to destroy our planet, while the UN Climate Fund gets US $2.4 billion a year to save it.
“We have to turn this around. The IPCC confirms the experience of Small Island States: that cyclones are getting more intense, and that sea levels are rising, but it also confirms that we can still curb the worst of it.
“The stark fact is that if we keep warming to 1.5˚C we are still facing half a metre of sea level rise. But if we stop warming from reaching 2˚C, we can avoid a long term three metres of sea level rise. That is our very future, right there.”
“As we move forward to COP26 it is essential that global powers and major emitters heed the scientific evidence and take action to ensure an equitable and sustainable future for us all.”
Since 1990, AOSIS has represented the interests of the 39 small island and low-lying coastal developing states in international climate change, sustainable development negotiations and processes. As a voice for the vulnerable, its mandate is more than amplifying marginalised voices as it also advocates for these countries’ interests. In terms of size, AOSIS closely resembles the countries it represents on the global stage, but often punches far above its weight, negotiating historic global commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions, among other achievements.