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AOSIS Solidifies its Stance, yet Vocal Maldives Will Not Go to Copenhagen

10/13/09

Amy Richmond:  Indiana, US

AOSIS, the Association of Small Island States, met and formulated their official stance on climate change and COP-15 in their High-Level Summit on Climate Change, September 21. The main goal of this meeting was to review nations’ positions on climate change and to adopt the AOSIS Climate Change Declaration. This document reaffirmed the need for keeping CO2 levels under 350ppm, and temperature levels under 1.5 degrees C below pre-industrialized levels. These were not a surprise; however, the document emphasized that levels should be kept “well under” these figures. They also hope for a peak of CO2 emissions in 2015, and declines thereafter. This mandates an increase of reductions by 2050 to 85%, requiring Annex I countries to reduce 45% below 1990 levels by 2020 and 95% below 1990 levels by 2050. In addition, AOSIS expressed its support of the Kyoto Protocol – certainly an important issue to note concerning the recent controversy concerning the stance of the US and EU on the KP.

Though AOSIS has continually supported high reduction targets, and now has a documented, clearly-defined stance, one of the most vocal states, the Maldives, expressed its intent not to attend Cop-15 this December. The Maldives have continually urged for immediate climate action, and are even planning an underwater cabinet meeting to raise awareness, yet there seems little chance that the Maldives will be represented in Copenhagen. President Mohamed Nasheed cited their lack of funds as the primary reason for not attending, and added that by saving money, he would present a beneficial example to the government. The Maldives is currently suffering a lack of tourism, and consequently, an economic depression. Instead, “Nasheed has said the government would begin saving to buy a new homeland for its people to flee to in the future” (Bangkok Post). While this is perhaps an economically-friendly move, one should wonder if Nasheed’s example will be more effective than his presence at COP-15. I believe that his presence would be more beneficial, as he cannot actively participate in the discussions in Copenhagen from home or influence the negotiations significantly. Nasheed states that he hopes the conference addresses the transfer of clean energy technologies and renewable energy. See the full story here.

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