Small island states demand deeper carbon cuts

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Small island countries are most vulnerable to climate change are already experiencing serious problems, and therefore call for deeper carbon cuts, an expert said.

These countries are having the problems even though global temperatures are only 0.8 degrees Celsius higher than pre-industrial levels, Albert Binger, science adviser to the Alliance of Small Island States (Aosis) told Xinhua in an interview on Friday.

He urged the more than 194 nations represented here in the Mexican resort of Cancun at the ongoing the 16th edition of the Conference of the Parties on Climate Change (COP16), to seek at target of no more than 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.

A new UN draft text outlines a goal of limiting global warming to a maximum average global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

"We have already seen bleaching of our reefs. Fishermen are complaining about a reduction in their catch, and we are experiencing more damaging weather events," said Binger, who is from Grenada, a small island nation close to the coast of South American nation Venezuela.

"We are seeing droughts followed by flood rains. We are already by impacted by changing climate and the warming of oceans."

Binger said Aosis states, 42 nations spread across the Caribbean, South Pacific and the oceans around Africa, would want to see temperatures reduced to the levels that prevailed before industrialization.

However, the grouping had opted for target that seems scientifically more feasible in the short term, even though there will definitely be severe negative effects for its members.

Risks include a loss of drinking water, as aquifers are flooded with seawater as ocean levels rise, and the loss of 100 billion U.S. dollars of hotels, beaches and coastal roads also to rising seas.

"It is not a negotiating position, it is a survival position," Binger said. "If you look at the Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change reports you will see that one of the impacts is that tropical cyclones will be more intense."

Such severe weather striking small island states can cause damage worth 200 percent of gross domestic product, Binger said.

"It is because when one place gets hit, the whole country gets hit. There are no other provinces that can pick up those that suffered," he said.

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