Pacific Conversation – Flex for 1.5: Amplifying our Pacific Voice at COP26

The Twenty-Sixth Conference of the Parties is held in Glasgow, Scotland from 31 October – 12 November 2021 this year.

Man made climate change is affecting the way of life as we all know it, and while our Pacific region is contributing to less than 0.06% of the world’s total greenhouse gasses, we are amongst the most vulnerable to its effects.

Paris Agreement

In 2015 the world united under the Paris Agreement the goal of which is to limit global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 Degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels – by 2030.

In 2018 the world agreed to the Paris Rulebook which governs how the 190+ Parties to the UNFCCC pledge their reduced greenhouse gas emissions targets, and report on their progress under the Paris Agreement.  There were several items which could not be agreed upon in this Rulebook, and at COP25 this year these must be revisited and finalised.

To achieve a 1.5 Degree Celsius World, we need urgent action for net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Why is 1.5 so important for us all?

Even at 1.5 we will experience many changes.

  • Climate extremes such as heat waves, extreme precipitation, droughts and storms are on the rise and human-driven climate change has made them worse.
  • Sea levels have already risen by 20cm and will continue to do so for thousands and thousands of years.

Yet if we limit warming to 1.5˚C instead of 2˚C we can avoid up to 3 metres of sea level rise.

We need to act NOW

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has confirmed the grave risks we face in a warming world. The changes we are now seeing in the climate system are unprecedented over thousands to millions of years. Temperatures are higher than they have ever been in the last 125,000 years on a multi-century average, and that human influence is unequivocal.

The Paris Agreement 1.5˚C temperature limit is still within reach if the calls from science for urgent action on climate are acted upon.