Small islands urge progress in Bonn, cite Philippines Typhoon Koppu

Alliance of vulnerable states say weak UN climate deal might be “worse than no deal at all” as session gets off to rocky start

(Flickr/ Share GK)

Typhoon Koppu made landfall near the town of Casiguran on the island of Luzon on Sunday morning, bringing winds of close to 200km/h (124mph) (Flickr/ Share GK)

By Alex Pashley

A powerful typhoon battering the Philippines is “further evidence” of the urgency to craft a robust global warming pact, the chair of a group of threatened islands has said.

The last round of interim talks before a Paris summit has got off to a rocky start following discontent over the latest draft of a negotiating text.

Thoriq Ibrahim, the Maldives’ environment minister and chief of the alliance of small island states (AOSIS), raised the super-storm before a heated opening session on Monday.

“As if further evidence was needed to illustrate the urgency of the climate crisis, we begin talks as yet another devastating storm churns over the Philippines,” he said in a statement.

Report: Developing countries demand additions to slimmed-down climate text

The shortened text, revealed earlier this month, rewrites a core provision of the UN’s climate change convention that recognises islands’ vulnerability to rising sea levels and storm surges, said Ibrahim. Developed countries demanded additions as the event resumed on Monday.

Typhoon Koppu has so far killed three people and caused 23,000 to flee their homes on the island group of Luzon, according to disaster agency officials, ABC News Australia reported. Officials predict the situation will worse as flood waters rise.

Hurricane Joaquin, which destroyed homes and crops on the Caribbean islands of the Bahamas last week, and the third global incidence of coral bleaching on record, displayed the need to act said Ibrahim.

Countries must commit to lowering a threshold to avoid dangerous warming from 2C to 1.5C, agree compensation for those affected and stump up finance to address climate impacts, he urged.

“We are staring at a once-in-a-generation opportunity to tackle climate change in Paris.

“But a final agreement is by no means assured and recent history makes it clear that success will require compromise, yes, but one that reflects the views of all parties—especially the most vulnerable.”

Analysis: What role should climate compensation have in a Paris deal?

For its part, the Phillipines made a coded call for climate compensation in its national submission to the deal last month.

Read more on: COP21 | Corals | Pacific | UN climate talks | Water | |