Climate Change Conference

COP21. Vulnerable countries say 2 degrees are not enough to curb climate change

I paesi che compongono il “Climate Vulnerable Forum” si sono riuniti alla Cop 21. Lanciando al pianeta un monito: alziamo l’asticella o sarà la catastrofe.

“This emergency affects the entire world, not only us. Nobody’s immune to climate change”. These are the words of the member countries of the Climate Vulnerable Forum, entity gathering the countries most threatened by climate change: Nepal, Bangladesh, Maldives, Ethiopia, and the Republic of Kiribati, among others.

countries most threatened by climate change
The countries most threatened by climate change have met at COP21 in Paris ©Andrea Barolini

Even if that means changing our way of life 

Their representatives met in Paris at COP21. The President of the Philippines, Begnino Aquino, has reminded how his country, over the last few months, has been affected by the worst typhoons so far: “Facing climate change is not a philosophic choice, but a necessity. Our commitment alone is not enough: global solidarity is essential to face this challenge. We all have to give our contribution, even if that means changing part of our current way of life”.

I governi delle nazioni “vulnerabili” hanno spiegato che l'obiettivo fissato dalla Cop 21 (non superare un riscaldamento medio dell'atmosfera pari a due gradi centigradi rispetto all'era pre-industriale) non è sufficiente ©Andrea Barolini
The world’s most vulnerable countries said 2°C are not enough ©Andrea Barolini

1.5°C is the limit

Manila’s Secretary of Finance, Cesar Purisima, said that “if no action is taken, 50% of the global economic impact caused by climate change will be a burden of the most vulnerable countries. We estimate we are going to lose 2.5% of our GDP each year”. For these reasons, the countries of the Forum clearly urged that COP21’s results should be more ambitious than declared: “Our group propose a commitment to limiting the average global temperature rise to 1.5°C by the end of the century, rather than 2°C, in order to avoid catastrophic consequences”.

It is an ambitious goal, considering the slight disagreement observed during the first hours of talks. China has reaffirmed, for instance, that developed countries must keep their promises and fund adaptation policies in the South of the world. India agreed. Industrialised countries pledged to increase their aids to 100 billion dollars a year by 2020, but the recipients of the funds asked guarantees of the fact that such promise will be fulfilled.

cop21 climate talks
Governments said all countries are affected by the effects of climate change, also the richest ones ©Andrea Barolini

In the meanwhile, 11 countries (including the United States, Italy, Germany, and the United Kingdom) have announced the allocation of 248 million dollars for the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF), in order to support their adaptation to climate change. Moreover, France has declared its will to “guarantee to 80 vulnerable countries the installation of early-warning systems for extreme weather events by 2020. This would mean safeguard about 1 billion people all over the world”. And the World Bank has presented a programme, supported by Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, and Norway, aimed to help developing countries to cut their greenhouse gas emissions.

Ai ricchi della Terra sono state chieste garanzie rispetto alle promesse di aiuti economici per fronteggiare i cambiamenti climatici ©Andrea Barolini
©Andrea Barolini

Big and small countries must act

Despite this, the economic issue is likely to remain a complex crux. Nobody wants to pay a lot. Yet, according to Manuel González Sanz, Foreign Minister of Costa Rica, “over the past few years our country has significantly reduced its emissions. In parallel, we’ve registered a great economic growth. And the Human Development Index (United Nations index that assesses countries’ wealth, editor’s note) has increased: it’s thus not true that who is committed to safeguarding the environment then has pay off such choice economically”. There are no excuses, “Big and small countries must act”.


How? As for the countries most threatened by climate change there’s only one choice: they have to invest in renewables, which should become the only energy source by 2050. This is the idea of 47 endangered countries, which seem ready to follow French President Francois Holland’s advice: “The greatest danger is not that we aim too high and that we miss, the greatest danger is that we aim too low and hit it”.

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