COP21: ‘1.5 to stay alive’ – historic climate deal slammed by Pacific critics


A creative Fijian response to COP21 … “no more Facebook. No more rugby … and we’re no more!’

From Pacific Media Watch:

By Makereta Komai, editor of Pacnews, in Paris

THE three major oil and gas economies – Russia, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela – have emerged as the main stumbling block to the push by Pacific and Small Island Developing States to limit global temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius at the climate negotiations in Paris.

Climate Action Network, an association of more than 100 powerful civil society groups around the world that follow the negotiations, said the three countries refused to shift their positions, citing their own vulnerabilities.

BREAKING NEWS: Historic deal praised – but criticised by Pacific commentators

Pacific commentators were quick to criticise the 31-page pact dubbed the “Paris Agreement” with Fiji-based Islands Business editor Samisoni Pareti tweeting from Paris: “Not a good deal for the Pacific … 2 watered down, no below 1.5, no loss n (sic) damage, God save the Pacific!

logo-cop21-“As you can understand the economies of Russia, Venezuela and Saudi Arabia are dependent on fossils. Clearly what the small islands are asking for – to phase out oil and gas will affect their economies big time,” said Martin Kaiser of Greenpeace.

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Saudi Arabia argued that, like the small islands, it is also faced with extreme weather events like flooding, heat waves and drought.

“The small and vulnerable nations have stood their ground of 1.5 degrees in the negotiations despite the attacks by Russia, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela,” said Kaiser.

The 1.5 degree Celsius global temperature limit has been a key demand of the small island developing states through the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) since 2009.

Small Island Developing States from the Pacific, Caribbean and Indian Ocean have consistently pushed this position for six years at every global climate talks.

‘Not negotiable’
For two weeks in Paris, Pacific leaders expressed with utmost urgency that 1.5 degrees was “not negotiable” and a matter of survival for the small low lying nations of Kiribati, Marshall Islands and Tuvalu.

Their rally call was supported by a global campaign of “1.5 to stay alive” by climate activists.

At the Paris talks, 106 of the 195 Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCCC) endorsed limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees.

Support has also come from the Coalition of High Ambition Nations, led by Marshall Islands.

A climate change message from the University of the South Pacific.
A climate change message from the University of the South Pacific.

Tony de Brum said the group’s 100 nations maintain its goal of high ambitions from all parties.

“We heard calls for deletion of long term goals, concrete language of revisiting the five year review targets and the refusal to recognise the science. We make this clarion call to the world that we will not accept these revisions and deletions and we are not here to accept a minimalist Paris Agreement. This is our red line.

“We have fought many battles in our lives relating to the survival of our people and for justice but this one is special. Both developed and developing nations will not go home with an agreement that doesn’t have the ambition that we have all come to fight for,” said de Brum.

Progressive countries
Climate Action Network’s Liz Gallanger said what had also emerged from the closed negotiations was the large number of progressive developing countries that were coming forward with compromises compared to Copenhagen in 2009.

“We saw Mexico, Brazil, Nigeria, Colombia, Gambia, Palau, Marshall Islands, Grenada and South Africa come out and defend core elements of the agreement that will get us to a strong outcome here in Paris.

“These countries are showing leadership and we need to see this kind of diplomacy,” said Gallanger.

However, the same cannot be said for the European Union and the Umbrella Group which includes Australia Canada, Japan, New Zealand and the United States for “playing it tough” on finance.

“Japan, US, EU, NZ have opposed the legal rigour of the finance language. For India it is about weakening the legal rigour around the ambition mechanism, this five year cycle and ratchet up. These countries are not echoing the spirit of their leaders,” said Gallanger. – Pacific Media Centre



  1. We best get ready for a sheeton load of people coming our way. If we held any hope of reducing refugee numbers, well they’ll just keep trickling in. I’m not quite sure this is what Greenspan meant by Trickle down.

    Monday 12 October 2015
    Two dozen people have already died from hunger and drinking contaminated water in drought-stricken Papua New Guinea, but the looming El Niño crisis could leave more than four million people across the Pacific without enough food or clean water.

    The El Niño weather pattern – when waters in the eastern tropical Pacific ocean become warmer, driving extreme weather conditions – may be as severe as in 1997-98, when an estimated 23,000 people died, forecasters believe.

  3. As expected, COP21 resulted in spectacular failure which the puppets of ‘the powers that be’ tout as spectacular success.

    The world is already more than 1oC warmer than baseline and the only strategy that can possibly work -assuming it is not already too late to mitigate positive feedbacks that have been triggered, which is extremely unlikely- is to collapse the globalised industrial system by heavily taxing fossil fuels at source and discouraging their use at the point of consumption …… and nobody (well only a tiny portion of any given population) is going to vote for that. Indeed, as the global economy languishes there is desperation amongst fossil fuel extractors to maintain business-as-usual consumption via lower energy prices! (e.g. Brent oil, at $37.93 a barrel, is down more than $70 from the 2010-to-2014 average, and is down around $110 from peak). And governments in consumer societies continue to desperately push for greater consumption to stimulate economic growth (their Ponzi financial system being dependent on ‘infinite growth on a finite planet’.)

    We are now witnessing the inevitable collision between reality and the phony narratives of industrialists, money-lenders and their bought-and-paid-for ‘law-makers’, a collision that comes from decades of failure to deal with any of the fundamental issues.

    For most people the best times are well and truly over and everything that matters continues to be made rapidly worse by the maniacs in power because ‘economic growth’ and ‘development’ are all they know. Governments will continue to make everything that matters worse until they are no longer able to.

    It may be of some consolation to Pacific islanders that Saudi Arabia will become uninhabitable (due to heat and lack of food and water) long before the higher parts of larger Pacific islands get inundated by sea level rise, and that cities like New York will be have to abandoned long before the volcanic islands of the Pacific become uninhabitable.

  4. How can we, the ordinary people, change the mindset of greedy speculators and investors, who are funding the industries like palm oil, dairying, and uncontrolled mining, that are driving the detrimental effects on this world? Tax them heavily, force them to make room for best practice, and encourage more research into ways to mitigate climate effects. Then we, the ordinary working people, and the poor, mighf stand a chance of a halfway decent life.

  5. Good article today by Rod Oram in the Sunday Star Times. He yet again points out what laggards NZ is in the world of climate change and emissions trading.

    I know little about climate change and the subject not only requires more than a passing interest but it is peppered with contradiction. This I fear is all too much for your average National voter. But it is becoming increasingly obvious that there is change and it is happening faster than predicted.

    Which leaves NZ in a bad place. We do not have a government that will lead on this, National are quite simply incapable. Just to prove it Key has appointed the hater of the less fortunate, Paula Bennett, as climate change minister and she freely admits she knows nothing about the subject. Is there a quick buck in it for someone, not really, will it gain us votes, probably not, will it increase the value of my home and make things in the shops a bit cheaper, unlikely, does it require forward thinking more than past the end of noses, yes!

    We have a government that decides policy on what David Farrar can determine from polling and focus groups. If there is no gain for National and its supporters then it ain’t going to happen. The alternative is what we are seeing, lots of talk, lots of grey vagueness and non-existent targets and lots of distractions, in other words who cares.

    But John Key was really pleased with the flag referendum, (bullshit) and Nikki Kaye really loves John Keys preferred flag and of course kissing his arse. Neat! Everything therefore is right in the world.

    • When Paula “comments” on climate change, all we get is more methane, and we can guess where that may come from.

  6. The effect of the climate change deal on The National Govt. will be fascinating. Will the PM see the writing on the wall and do some immediate complicated tactical dance stepping so that he will not be seen as too incompetent in planetary affairs … or will he continue on and keep picking the low fruit as long as possible because that is so much less of a hassle for him and other misled capitalists? I suspect the latter. The change will be longer rather than sooner. I hope I am wrong ………

  7. All the praises, congratulations and clapping in Paris has not really convinced me enough that this agreement will be enough to address the massive challenge there is with climate change all over the globe.

    It is easy to make vows, to make verbal and written statements re what individual countries and their governments want to achieve, to contain global warming, but it is another thing to actually implement the not all that much specified measures that can get humanity there.

    We have had many UN conventions and agreements, and also declarations on human rights. But how many countries and governments actually uphold and honour these, or apply the rule of law. How many are true democracies, how many respect the rights of disabled, how many let journalists report freely, and how many have sufficient economic and financial clout and resources to bring about the radical change that is needed?

    I fear once the economic pressures increase, and once poor in many countries will go onto the streets, when governments may abolish fossil fuel subsidies so many still rely on, or force people to use alternative energy, which may not even be available at affordable prices, all good intentions will be forgotten, and governments will give in to demands, to keep the people at bay.

    We have seen over many crisis areas, last not least in Ukraine and Syria, how much “unity” there is between some big powers, we have seen with the EU being in almost disarray over the refugee crisis they have, that unity is not a given. So I prepare for the worst, I fear for the Pacific Island nations and their tiny, often low lying islands, we will in future have many climate refugees come into NZ, that is for sure.

    And we have such radical changes in society, with little job security for increasing numbers of people, with competition between many economic players, will people be able to switch from one technology to another, and accept massive job losses also, while new ones may be created, but certainly not everywhere.

    Deforestation continues, Indonesia wants more palm oil plantations and at the same time do more for the environment, I simply cannot see how they can harmonise cutting down and burning rain forests and create more monoculture plantations with protecting the environment and reducing CO2.

    I also fear we will get a massive push for more use of nuclear energy generation, with which we get a serious waste issue, of radiation that needs to be stored safely for thousands of years, and already now many countries have problems storing existing plutonium and other waste.

    It rather seems the many experts, lobbyists, business leaders and administrators think plans out in large meeting halls and on conferences, but not being in touch with the basic natural realities we have on the ground.

    Fasten your seat belts, it will be a long and hard road into the future, if we will have one at all.

  8. Update 15th December.

    1.06 C Above 1880: Climate Year 2015 Shatters All Previous Records For Hottest Ever’

    And, at around 403ppm, atmospheric CO2 is at the highest concentration ever for this time of the year. What is more, the rate of annual increase has been rising and is approaching 3ppm per annum. (0.7ppm per annum when Keeling commenced measuring.)

    Burn Baby, Burn.

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