BY PACIFIC REGIONAL ENVIRONMENT PROGRAMME
10 June 2010, Bonn, Germany — A showdown between the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) supported by over 110 countries against Gulf States closed Wednesday’s session of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA).
AOSIS had proposed that SBSTA request the United Nations climate change secretariat to prepare a technical paper on the social and economical impacts of the mitigation scenarios of 1.5 and 2 degrees Celsius of average global temperature.
The proposal was shot down by representatives of the four Gulf States of Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait. The four Gulf States questioned the need for technical paper given that the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had already released its 4th Assessment Report. Barbados and Grenada on behalf of AOSIS clarified that the technical paper hopes to pool together all the sciences available in the public domain to assist vulnerable states address climate change.
Adding its voice to the AOSIS proposal, the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) reiterated the importance of the technical analysis of the social and economic impacts of the mitigation scenarios to small and vulnerable states.
On Thursday, a quick diplomatic intervention brokered by Venezuela resolved the impasse which remained unresolved from Thursday night. Venezuela introduced a compromised text which required the secretariat to prepare a technical paper, on its own will, before the Cancun meeting.Discussions spilled over to Thursday when the chair ruled to postpone debate until the next meeting of the scientific body in Cancun.
A disappointed AOSIS chair, Grenada diplomat, Ambassador Dessima Williams said the responses of the ‘few countries’ that opposed the AOSIS proposal ‘borders on alarming.’ “I find it incomprehensible that our simple request has been met with much opposition.” But I find comfort in the fact that the opposition is only limited and look forward to a return of this issue in Cancun.
When SBSTA resumed Thursday morning, young people carrying banner with 1.5 degree messages lined the corridor leading to the conference centre to remind delegates of the kind of future they are giving to them if they oppose the AOSIS proposal.
“This message is directed at Saudi Arabia especially said a 20 year old German student who was part of the 350.org group of young people holding placards. “We want a safe and secure future for us, said another.
112 countries, including the powerful G77 group, the European Union, Australia and New Zealand supported small island states call for a technical paper.