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Forum agrees to disagree on 1.5

AGREEING that a 1.5 degrees Celsius rise in temperature would “severely exacerbate” impacts of climate change in the “most vulnerable smaller island states of the Pacific,” leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum went onto agree at their annual summit in Papua New Guinea last month that all parties should make the effort to stay within the global temperature goal, which proposes a 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius target.

Clearly, Forum leaders have failed to heed the pleas of its smaller members that the Forum should settle for nothing less than a temperature rise target of less than 1.5 degrees, and they were unable to match or beat the very ambitious call by its Suva-based rival, the Pacific Islands Development Forum, contained in their Suva Declaration on Climate Change of September 2015.

It may be too early to gauge the implications of the Forum’s decision, although strong champions for action on climate change like the President of Kiribati Anote Tong had hinted that a failure by the Forum might force his country to re-consider its membership.

Either that, or Australia should review its Forum membership, Tong had told a gathering of Pacific NGO representatives in Port Moresby.

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