Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Small island nations lobby against sea level rises at climate talks

Small island nations are fighting hard at the United Nations climate talks for action against rising seas that are threatening their lands.

The 43-member Alliance of Small Islands group wants a target of 1.5- degree limit in global warming. A temperature gain of 2 degrees could have damaging effect not only on small islands but could kill up to 85 percent of the world's coral and sharply intensify tropical storms.

However, it's not only small islands that are impacted by modest rises in sea levels. Vietnam, for example, would see more than 7% of the its agricultural land and nearly 30% of its wetlands submerged with just a one meter rise in sea levels.

Islanders plead at climate talks to be saved from rising seas
Caribbean Net News, Cayman Islands - Dec 8, 2008
The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change last year predicted sea levels will rise 18 to 59 centimeters (7 inches to two feet) by 2100, having risen ...
Poznań, Days 6 & 7: More Cash for Adaptation? Worldwatch Institute
Climate change: A battle for the planet Independent
Climate envoys battle over forests, emissionsThe Associated Press

Schwarzenegger Orders California to Prepare for Sea-Level Rise
Red, Green, and Blue, CA - Nov 15, 2008
Gov. tells state agencies they must prepare for the impacts of climate change, especially those caused by rising sea levels. California’s water supply and ...
Governor: Get ready for rising seas
Governor tells staff to prepare for warming San Francisco Chronicle
California ordered to prepare for sea-level rise Reuters UK

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UN climate change talks hit snags

UN climate talks in Poznan, Poland were lumbering along with many nations hesitant to commit to specific targets.

Interestingly, China, which was non-committal at the earlier Kyoto talks, has taken something of the lead even suggesting a bold proposal. China has suffered severely from pollution caused by dirty coal-burning plants that have fueled its meteoric rise.

Beijing will agree to a plan that places carbon limits based on per capita emission levels for every person on the planet. For example, China argues that a 2.33 tonnes of carbon cap for each individual in the world would force rich nations to buy allowances from poorer nations, which emit less.

One reason China may be enthusiastic about the plan is that according to some estimates it will not be until 2050 that Beijing would reach the proposed limits. The United States, on the other hand, already produces a whopping 20 tonnes of carbon per capita.

There will be some exceptions to the limit, for example, Russia because of its position in the colder northern hemisphere will be allowed a higher cap for heating needs.

The proposal though sounds fair as it appears to balance out the load between rich and poor nations who have not contributed equally to the present problem of climate change.

ABC News
All eyes on EU as UN climate talks stumble on
AFP - 1 hour ago
POZNAN, Poland (AFP) - UN talks on crafting a new climate change treaty lurched forward here on Wednesday, with delegates hoping the EU might lead the way by signing its own pact at a crunch summit this week.
Rich nations plan "great escape" on climate: China Reuters
Poznan climate talks: what's the forecast? CNN International

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