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11 Nov 2022

Victoria Seabrook, Sky News

COP27: Island nations implore major economies to not water down commitments

"COP27: Don't water down pact at the last minute, island nations implore major economies at climate talks", 11 November 2022

Low-lying island nations, being battered and beaten by climate change, have implored big economies not to dilute progress at the COP27 climate talks at the last minute.

"Many times the larger countries at the very end [of the COP summits]... always water down the negotiations," Surangel Whipps Jr, president of Palau in the western Pacific Ocean..."We're asking them to stop watering down, and start acting responsibly."

Major economies do have some form on this. Last year in Glasgow at COP26, a commitment to "phase out" coal was downgraded at the eleventh hour to "phase down" after a dramatic intervention from India and lobbying from China, bringing the then COP president, Alok Sharma, to tears. A promise to "phase out fossil fuel subsidies" also morphed into just "inefficient" subsidies.

Palau, an archipelago of over 500 islands and home to 18,000 people, is acutely vulnerable to climate breakdown...

"Listen to the small islands, listen to the facts," President Whipps urged major economies, following an event in support of a goal to protect 30% of land and oceans by 2030.

The climate minister of the Maldives, the lowest-lying nation on Earth, said "absolutely" she is worried about watering down from big countries..."We have 86 months. That difference of 2C and 1.5C for us, that could be the death of our nation. And who is going to take responsibility for that?...