US says 2 degree limit only 'guidance'
Durban: The US today shocked observers at the
climate change conference here by saying that the 2 degree
Celsius limit for increase in the Earth's temperature is not
like a "national target" but only a "guidance".
The 2 degree limit to global temperature rise was agreed
in previous climate talks in Bali in 2007, and governments
recognise its importance.
The figure is based on the Fourth Assessment Report of
the Inter-governmental panel on climate change (IPCC).
Island nations, which are the most vulnerable to sink due
to rising sea levels, wanted to set the cap at 1.5 degree
Scientists have been warning that if the Earth's
temperature goes over the 2 degree Celsius, it will lead to
dangerous irreversible consequences.
"We look at 2 degrees as an important and serious goal
that will guide what we will do, Todd Stern, the US lead
negotiator told reporters in this South African city.
"That is still different from looking at it as an
operational cap that you must meet."
"I think if we look at science and you see the
trajectories it ought to inform our sense of what needs to be
done...it might cause us or someone else to say jeez we need
to do more but we don't see it as akin to a national target,"
"That's a nuance but that's a different."
The US remarks came as the climate change talks kicked
into the final stage.
"It is maddening...I think the US position is becoming
more and more paranoiac," said Pratap Pandey from the Centre
of Science and Environment in Delhi. "It's fine to resort to
rhetoric but it’s pathetic to take recourse to nonsense."
Recently, Pa Ousman JARJU from Gambia, who represented
the Least Developed Countries, said that if the US cannot help
combat the climate crisis, then it should not block
Government negotiators and ministers from 194 countries
are struggling to agree on the next steps for combating
Developments over the past week, however, indicate deep
divisions between developed and developing nations especially
on the obligations to reduce carbon emissions.
However, negotiators are indicating that the mechanism to
operationalise a Green Fund maybe achieved here before
The Fund will provide USD 100 billion a year starting
from 2020 to help developing countries adapt to climate
But the developing countries are worried that the Fund
will become an "empty shell" if developed countries don't
actually pledge the money.
Stern said that the US is "Not prepared to put money
yet where there is nowhere to put the money."
Developing countries are also wary that rich donor
nations are pushing for a bulk of the money to come from
"There is a vastly larger pool of private capital in the
world that is potentially available if the right kind of
mechanism can be put in place," said Stern.
Developing nations, however, are concerned that it will
be very difficult to monitor the activities and motives of
private companies, which have a penchant of investing in
projects that will yield profits.
But these private projects may not necessarily be the
greenest or best option for the targeted developing nation.