Empathy for 1.5 degrees goal and Loss & Damage, current draft text does not reflect this mood

By Makereta Komai, PACNEWS Editor amplifying the Pacific voice in Paris

4 December, 2015, Paris, France, COP21 - The President of COP21, Laurent Fabius says he empathises with Small Island and vulnerable nations who have made representations to his office to discuss their positions on the 1.5 degree goal and loss and damage.

"I totally emphathise with their claims. For them it's a matter of life and survival. Any increase beyond 1.5 or 2 degrees will significantly threaten their island nations.

"They are asking for 1.5 degrees limit to global temperature rise as a reference point, said Fabius, who is also France's Minister of Foreign Affairs.

In his daily briefing to the media, Minister Fabius confirmed that two negotiating texts were submitted by the co-chairs and facilitators of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) on Friday morning.

The two draft texts described as 'bridging proposals' will now be considered by the 195 State Parties for their deliberations before a finalised text will be ready Saturday morning at 10.00am.

"We are not there yet. We hope to be guided by the spirit of compromise and consensus to help us progress some issues before our ministers and leaders arrive this weekend, said Minister Fabius.

Both options of an international mechanism for Loss & Damage and the removal of Article 5 are reflected in the first text of 46 pages while the second proposal has removed the rejection of Article 5 but instead outlines possible compromised actions.

These include the inclusion of the Warsaw International Mechanism in the Agreement, a climate change displacement facility to be established to co-ordinate climate change induced displacement, migration and planned relocation and a process to address irreversible and permanent damage resulting from human induced climate change will be initiated. These options remained bracketed.

United States Climate Change Special Envoy, Todd Stern said Friday that while his team recognises that Loss & Damage is an issue of high importance for small islands, "the US will not accept liability and compensation in the final Paris Agreement.'

"This is a red-line that we cannot cross. It's not a US centric position but the position of all developed countries.

"We are however working co-operatively with negotiators from the islands and the G77 and China to develop solutions that is agreeable to all Parties. This engagement is from the highest level when President Obama met with leaders of five island nations on Tuesday, said Stern.

On the push for 1.5 degree limit to global temperature rises, the US chief negotiator said the concerns of small island states are 'legitimate' and the US is 'exploring appropriate ways to address their concerns.'

"We have not landed yet on the issue but like other issues are actively engaged with Parties to reach an amicable outcome.

Currently, 105 of the 196 State Parties to the UN Framework Convention for Climate Change have endorsed the long term goal of 1.5 degrees in their national intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs).
An official from the Climate Action Network said, 'If this was democracy, the 1.5 degree goal would have been already been accepted in the Agreement already.' - #4PacIslands
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