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Caribbean Speaks with One Voice at Paris Climate Talks

LADB Article ID: 79853
Category/Department: Region
Date: 2016-01-07
By: Gregory Scruggs

Going into the UN Climate Summit in Paris last month, the general consensus was to aim for a maximum of 2 degrees Celsius, a figure established by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Over the course of the two-week negotiations, however, intense pressure from the Caribbean and other vulnerable countries, as well as environmental activists, secured a compromise. The Paris agreement commits signatories to keep global warming “well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels,” but also to “pursue efforts” to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius." It also recognizes “loss and damage” due to climate change, an issue that was a “red line” for Caribbean negotiators. With this baseline victory, the Caribbean emerged from COP 21 cautiously optimistic about its future in a world increasingly dictated by extreme weather events. The island and low-lying nations that make up the region are exceptionally susceptible to sea-level rise, drought, and hurricanes, all of which are exacerbated by greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, these developing economies are among the smallest contributors to the factors that influence climate change, making an event like COP 21 an ideal opportunity to press their case and make the moral argument for action.

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