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Aiming for anything other than 1.5 degrees puts our lives at risk

Date: 30 November 2015

As we commence the official opening of COP21, the Least Developed Countries renew their call for a 1.5 degrees target.

Chair of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) Group, Mr Giza Gaspar-Martins of Angola said: “The current plans to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions do not keep the world within the ‘safe’ temperature rise of 2°C. But from a Least Developed Country perspective, it is far worse than that. For the LDCs, economic development, regional food security, ecosystems, and the very survival of their populations and livelihoods are at risk if talks aim only for a 2°C world.”

The LDCs recognise that collectively, the world is far behind where it should be to achieve a 1.5C target, but there are ways ensure the building of a regime that allows for more rapid adjustment, and that is what they want to see reflected in the negotiations.

For example the inclusion of five year planning and finance cycles built in to monitor and redirect efforts linked to the national climate action plans, known as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs).

Giza said: “Countries must commit to a more ambitious long-term pathway to limit global average temperature increase to below 1.5°C by the end of the century. We are not at the loss of human ingenuity in terms of tech development. Only an ambitious target would set an appropriate direction of travel. ”

This ambition should manifest in greater emphasis on mitigation now – anything less is a false economy that endangers lives, as research from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) shows. Without further action on cutting greenhouse gas emissions, the report warns, the cost of adaptation will become greater.

Giza concluded: “The Heads of State will be in Paris to set the tone for the negotiations. We renew our call for an ambitious, robust and binding climate deal that does not leave behind the most vulnerable among us. We are confident that Heads of State and government recognize the challenge posed to development by climate change and will set the tone for a development friendly climate resilient agreement and hope this spirit is championed within their speeches.”

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