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In a new proposal for the Paris summit, African environment ministers have reaffirmed their willing to confine global warming to 1.5°C above pre industrial levels, thus conflicting with the EU and US.

In March 2015, the Cairo Declaration was issued by representatives from all 54 African states.  The document calls for serious carbon emissions cuts to be agreed in the UN climate pact due to be set in December, and expresses the need to keep global temperatures’ rise below 1.5°C by the end of the century, which represents a more ambitious goal than the 2°C target endorsed by wealthy nations.

According to scientific researches, keeping the increase of global temperatures under 1.5°C will be costly and will require notable investments in negative emissions, such as tree planting or the developing of new technologies to suck carbon from the atmosphere.

However, this target is still being taken into consideration in a UN negotiating text, and it is seen as vital by climate vulnerable countries, which could be seriously damaged by higher temperatures; for example, crop yields in North Africa and the Middle East could fall substantially with warming above 1.5°C, and for low-lying islands an excessive rise in temperatures could make the difference between survival and disappearing under rising seas.

In their declaration, African ministers have also insisted on the importance of reaching a global goal for climate adaptation in a 2015 deal, highlighting the support poorer nation will need. With regard to this matter, some developed countries are worried that they will be expected to pay for the costs of adaptation in poorer countries, while other states like Brazil believe that adaptation is an issue that should be addressed at national level and others say that any goal should be voluntary.

The statement also backs a reduction in African states’ use of HFCs, which are greenhouse gases way more powerful than CO2 that are employed in refrigeration; this intention had already been expressed by African ministers under the Montreal Protocol on the ozone, which is expected to release further proposals to limit HFC use in April.


The gLAWcal Team

EPSEI team

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

(Source: RTCC)