Pacific News Minute: Pacific Nations Under Pressure to Accept 2C Goal in Paris
In Paris, negotiators at the UN Climate Change Conference have just a couple of days to reach agreement, with several major issues undecided. Pacific Island nations which have been pressing for a more ambitious goal are now under pressure to agree to a target many say will leave low lying islands uninhabitable by the end of this century. More from Neal Conan in Paris, with the Pacific News Minute.
In September, at the Pacific Islands Forum, New Zealand and Australia refused pleas from their Pacific neighbors to stand with them to demand no increase over 1.5-degrees Celsius. Even that, some say, will cause catastrophic flooding and salt intrusion on low lying islands and lead to what Marshall Islands Foreign Minister Tony deBrum called the cultural genocide of mass relocation.
At the France Oceania summit here in Paris, just before the UN meeting, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told Pacific Leaders that a realistic target was probably 2.15-degrees...and yesterday, Secretary of State John Kerry said the goal should be set at two degrees, with a hope that it may go lower.
At times, frustration shows. Last week, Tuvalu Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga accused the US and the European Union of delaying tactics - called the process an injustice and insisted that the principle that polluters pay must be anchored in the final treaty. Yesterday, Palau President Tommy Remengesau said, "we knew coming to Paris that we were not going to get the ambitious package scientists recommend."
In a political coda, the final count in last month's elections in the Marshall Islands confirms that Foreign Minister deBrum is among several government ministers to be voted out of office. In part analysts say, because he spent so much time outside the country, as its spokesman on Climate Change.