New York - Worried over the possibility of failure in the Copenhagen climate change summit in December, the world's 43 small islands on Thursday urged more commitment from government leaders to achieve a successor to the Kyoto Protocol. The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) called for the "immediate engagement of world leaders to secure a robust and legally binding climate deal" at the Copenhagen summit December 7-18.
Several countries, including China, and negotiators for a new Kyoto Protocol have warned of difficulties to reach an agreement in Copenhagen. With just 45 days from Thursday before the Copenhagen summit, they fear the rich-poor divide cannot be bridged on climate matters.
China this week called on developed countries to change their demands, charging that those countries want to discard the current Kyoto Protocol, which will expire in 2012, and set binding greenhouse gas emissions for poor countries. Rich countries have said poor countries have not done enough to curb their carbon emissions, a major dispute between the two sides.
Grenada's UN Ambassador Dessima Williams, who chairs the AOSIS. said the next round of negotiations in Barcelona before Copenhagen should lift the "sights and ambitions" of world leaders.
"We have a moral and political responsibility to make Copenhagen the success that the world expects," Williams said.
Williams praised British Prime Minister Gordon Brown for urging world leaders this week to confirm their participation and secure a deal in Copenhagen.
AOSIS includes some of the world's most vulnerable small islands like Grenada, Micronesia, Palau, the Marshall Islands and the Maldives. The ministers from those islands recently held an underwater cabinet meeting to draw attention to rising sea levels.
AOSIS and the world's 45 least developed countries have called for global warming to be limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius or less above pre-industrial temperatures by 2050. The Western nations wanted a limit of 2 degrees Celsius by 2050 without specifying mid-term measures to fight global warming. DPA