Manetoali calls for action to combat global warming

Minister Manetoali delivering his speech during the COP21 in Paris. Photo credit: OPMC.

Minister Manetoali delivers Solomon Islands National statement at COP21 in Paris.Photo credit: OPMC.

THE Minister for Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology Hon Samuel Manetoali has called for the collective establishment of practical medium and long-term carbon emission pathways to limit temperature increase to well below 1.5 degrees Celsius in the remaining days of the 21st United Nations Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC) or COP21.

Hon Manetoali made the call this afternoon when addressing the United Nations Climate summit which is now in its final week at Le Bourget in Paris, France. 40,000 delegates inclusive of heads of states and governments, government officials, non-governmental organization representatives and observers are in attendance to negotiate a comprehensive legally binding agreement to forge a way forward in fighting global warming.

The Minister for Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology who heads the Solomon Islands delegation told the summit that the establishment of medium and long-term emission reduction pathways capable of limiting temperature increase to well below 1.5 degrees Celsius and enhancement of the Kyoto Protocol are significant in stabilizing global temperature increase at this level.

“In the remaining four days, we must collectively establish medium and long-term emission reduction pathways capable of limiting temperature increase to well below 1.5 degrees.

“We must also enhance implementation of the Kyoto Protocol which is fundamental to enhance pre 2020 climate action. It lays a solid foundation for enhanced post 2020 action to secure aggregate emission pathways consistent to achieve a below 1.5 degrees Celsius. Stabilizing global temperature increase to well below 1.5 degrees Celsius will enable my country to sign onto the new Agreement.”

The Kyoto Protocol adopted at the third Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP 3) in Kyoto, Japan, on 11 December 1997, shares the objective and institutions of the Convention. The major distinction between the two, however, is that while the Convention encouraged industrialized countries to stabilize GHG emissions, the Protocol commits them to do so. The detailed rules for its implementation were adopted at COP 7 in Marrakesh in 2001, and are called the ‘Marrakesh Accords.’

Minister Manetoali registered his delegation’s ‘grave’ concern over the failure of the Convention’s (UNFCCC’s) two subsidiary bodies to include the consideration of 2013-2015 review of the global temperature goal under the Structured Expert Dialogue (SED) report.

The SED review report summarizes the face-to-face dialogue between over 70 experts and Parties on the adequacy of the long-term global goal in the light of the ultimate objective of the Convention and the overall progress made towards achieving the long-term global goal, including a consideration of the commitments under the Convention. It includes a technical summary and a compilation of the summary reports on the four sessions of the SED. The technical summary synthesizes the work done by the SED and includes 10 messages capturing the key findings from its sessions.

He told the world leaders and officials that science should be allowed to guide the decisions of COP and urged that this year’s summit must address the findings of this report.

The Minister for Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology said climate change is causing havoc around the world and it is in this context that his delegation has come to Paris to support France and work with all parties to the UNFCCC to come up with a pact that is comprehensive, ambitious and legally binding to save the world from this onslaught.

“The world is going through one of the hottest years ever recorded, the frequency and intensity of climate-induced disasters are now an annual event in my country. It is undermining sustainable development, and fueling poverty and hardship in countries contributing the least to its cause, yet suffer the most adverse climatic impacts.

“It is in this connection, my delegation is here to support the French Presidency and working with all 193 Parties in getting a comprehensive, ambitious and legally binding Agreement to save our people.”

He added that, “Climate change is man-made problem and can be addressed, here in Paris. We are the last generation that will be remembered to guarantee humanity’s survival. We have one shot at getting it right. Let us not fail our people and the future of humanity.

“Our task at this historic gathering is to breathe new life into the twenty-three year old Climate Change Convention as climate change is fast creating an uncertain future for all.”

The Minister for Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology pointed out that despite the submissions of Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) by parties, regretfully ambition remains low, destining the world to more than 3 degrees Celsius rise in temperature.

And this, he added, is in direct conflict with the objective of the convention (UNFCCCC).

The objective of the UNFCCC is to stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system. The convention states that such a level should be achieved within a timeframe sufficient to allow ecosystems adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure that food production is not threatened and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner.

The head of Solomon Islands delegation also told the UN climate summit that Solomon Islands supports the 134 developing countries pushing for a ‘Loss and Damage Article under the Paris Agreement. The Foreign and Environment Ministers of participating countries are looking at the final text of this Agreement this week before being finalized.

“This is spelt out in ‘Article 5’ of which Solomon Islands would like to see a ‘Loss and Damage’ institution to deal with permanent loss and damage as a result of climate change. We would like to see the institution fully supported to carry out its mandate,” he added.

Hon Manetoali added that whilst Solomon Islands contributes a mere 0.01 percent of global carbon emissions, under its INDCs, it is punching way above its weight by taking more than a fair share as part of the global solution to the carbon emission problem.

He told the summit that Solomon Islands commits to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 12 percent below 2015 level by 2025 and 30 percent below 2015 level by 2030.

The Minister for Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology added that Solomon Islands could even contribute a further 27 percent reduction in emissions by 2025 and 45 percent reduction in emissions by 2030 given appropriate international assistance.

In this context, he said a REDD+ mechanism and support to strengthen carbon sinks and implement INDCs must be part of the new agreement to emanate from COP21.REDD+ stands for countries’ efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and foster conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks.

Minister Manetoali took the opportunity to also welcome the Republic of China on Taiwan’s INDCs and its new law to manage greenhouse gas emissions and reiterated Solomon Islands support for its meaningful participation in the UNFCCC process, stating that no one should be left behind.

Due to its non recognition as a sovereign state by the UN, Taiwan is participating in COP21 as part of the Solomon Islands Government delegation and on Observer Status.

The Minister for Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology also used the opportunity to declare Solomon Islands position over the terrorism and the recent terrorist attacks in Paris.

“Solomon Islands joins the international community in standing in solidarity with France over the recent tragic events and condemn all terrorist attacks globally.”

Source: OPMC Press

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