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News > U.S.

US Hinders Collective Commitments at Climate Change Conference

  • Protesters march to urge politicians to act against climate change in Paris, France, Oct.13, 2018.

    Protesters march to urge politicians to act against climate change in Paris, France, Oct.13, 2018. | Photo: Reuters

Published 12 December 2018

The United States and its allies are not prone to recognize the practical implications of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report at the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The United States, as well as other developed countries such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, are deliberately frustrating the UN climate summit in Katowice, Poland, denounced Ralph Regenvanu, the Foreign Minister of Vanuatu, which is one of the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) that is seriously endangered by global warming.

The Minister noted that those countries are obstructing a final declaration in which the policy importance of the last report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is recognized.

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“It pains me deeply to have watched the people of the United States and other developed countries across the globe suffering the devastating impacts of climate-induced tragedies, while their professional negotiators are here at COP24 putting red lines through any mention of loss and damage in the Paris guidelines and square brackets around any possibility for truthfully and accurately reporting progress against humanity’s most existential threat,” Regenvanu said.

The Republic of Vanuatu, with a population of 280,000 people spread across roughly 80 islands, is among those Pacific nations that are already facing rising sea levels and other extreme climate-related events that are strongly affecting their economies.

About 64 percent of Vanuatu's GDP was wiped out due to a cyclone that caused economic losses of US$449.4 million in 2015, Minister Regenvanu reported in November.

The IPCC report recommends immediate actions, especially from highly-polluting economies, towards cutting fossil-fuel emissions by 2030. 

"Our report shows that political will is key for the implementation of solutions that improve well-being and make it possible to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. It shows that the window to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees is narrow, that it will require net global emissions of carbon dioxide to fall about 45 percent by 2030. Every year matters," said Hoesung Lee, Chair of the IPCC.

At the Climate Conference in Katowice, some 190 countries are expected to agree on a "rule book" on implementing the Paris climate deal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

However, the most developed countries, which are also the world’s largest oil producers, are distracting the debate by a semantic battle over whether the conference should “welcome” or “note” the IPCC report.

If this strategy succeeds, the conference could end without significant results.

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