COP21: Australia supports lower 1.5 degree Celsius target at Paris Conference, NZYD asks PM John Key to follow Canberra’s example

By @vitthernandez on
Disappearing Islands
A fisherman holds an umbrella while watching his net as waves hit the Marunda beach in Jakarta February 1, 2007. Indonesia could lose about 2,000 islands by 2030 due to climate change, the country's environment minister said on Monday. A draft U.N. report due to be released in Paris on February 2 projects a big rise in temperatures this century and warns of more heat waves, floods, droughts and rising seas linked to greenhouse gases. Reuters/Beaawiharta

Australia agreed on Saturday to support the push to lower to 1.5 degrees the global warming goal in a Paris deal in exchange for more favourable carbon emissions rules. With this development, the New Zealand Youth Delegation (NZYD) dared Prime Minister John Key to follow Canberra’s example and also for Wellington to back a more ambitious global climate target.

Newstalkzb reports that the deal for Australia and South Africa was made on Saturday in Paris, according to St Lucia Environment Minister James Fletcher. However, he stresses that Australia has not changed its position to aim for 2 degrees, but the negotiators support the 1.5 as a looser ambition in the Paris document.

Besides Australia and South Africa, Germany also supports the more ambitious target of 1.5. Unfortunately, Key apparently does not want to be a climate leader, contends Kya Lal, a Pacific-New Zealander representing the Aoteoroa Youth Leadership Institute.

Lal points out that anything higher than 1.5 degrees spells disaster for Pacific island-nations. “New Zealand touts itself as a friend to the Pacific, but friends don’t sink friends. Friends don’t set emission targets so low it almost guarantees your demise,” says Lal who called on Key to be a good friend and choose 1.5 degrees and spoke on behalf of the NZYD.

The youth delegates thinks Wellington’s current actions are a disservice and downright disrespectful to thousands of Pacific New Zealanders who look to their PM for decisive and ambitious leadership. “We urge Prime Minister Key to do what is right, future proof the pacific and fight for 1.5 degrees.”

With the deal, Australia, which questions the definition of carbon emissions under the Kyoto Protocol, could use land use sector emissions, such as deforestation reduction, as accounting rules for Kyoto. Australia, now, in turn, will help St Lucia convince other countries to support the 1.5-degree ambition in the Paris deal.

The Kyoto accounting rules, agreed on Friday night, is expected to be officially signed off next week. After agreeing to the deal, Fletcher told media, “We devised a way in ensuring there is clear transparent accounting in how Australia deals with these credits that it’s carrying over from the last period.

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