On Friday, at the UN Climate Conference (COP15) in Copenhagen, Deputy Chair of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) Crispin S. Gregoire from Dominica announced the release of draft amendments to the Kyoto Protocol. The draft, which advances the Tuvalu Proposal, seeks to stimulate negotiation toward adoption of a complimentary treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol when it expires in 2012. The amendments re-allocate responsibilities for addressing climate change to match their contributions to the crisis.
“All countries have a responsibility but the historically responsible countries are the ones we focus on,” Gregoire told Sea Change Radio Climate Correspondent Cimbria Badenhausen. “The developed countries have not met their responsibilities.” Another goal of the amendments is to create a treaty that will keep the small island states from drowning beneath rising sea levels due to climate change. Already, island populations are becoming climate refugees; for example, Tuvalu residents consider migration to Australia, and Maldivians are moving to islands at higher elevation, according to Gregoire. Another problem for island nations is fisheries moving to warmer waters. Gregoire stated that AOSIS felt “emphatically” that temperatures must rise no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius, “no warmer than 1.5 because our corals will all disappear. Two degrees, our corals are dead.”
Cimbria asked Gregoire about what it means for heads of state to attend this climate conference. She pointed out that this is the first time heads of state have joined the negotiation, and wanted to know how this will be handled. Gregoire explained, “ultimately the negotiators are working for the policy makers, they get their instructions from the political directories. The fact that the leaders are coming is unprecedented because never before have at the highest level taken so much interest in this. It’s because every single country is affected. The leaders, especially those coming from the developing countries, have come in to be sure that there are commitments, whether they are legally binding or not, but they are commitments, to help them with two things: one, how to adapt, which takes money, and what is the technology commitment that countries who have the technology, are they willing to transfer it, and I think there is a great willingness on the part of the countries with the technology. The question is, how is that technology going to be financed.”