Commonwealth to ‘pursue’ 1.5C Paris goal

The 53 member states of the Commonwealth have agreed to renew commitments to the Paris Agreement that would "pursue" efforts to limit temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

A communique was signed during the later stages of the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London late last week (20 April), which noted the “determination” of the member states to push beyond the 2C target set at the Paris Agreement, in favour for the more ambitious – and increasingly necessary – 1.5C pathway needed to reverse the most adverse climate change impacts.

“[The Commonwealth] recognised that temperature and sea level rise and other adverse impacts of climate change are a significant reality and risk to many of the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable member countries,” the communique stated.

“They renewed their commitment under the Paris Agreement to keep the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.”

Governments also expressed their desires to ensure that the framework for the Paris Agreement, including the final roadmap, would be completed at COP24, scheduled to take place in Katowice, Poland later this year.

In December 2017, representatives from 195 countries gathered in Bonn from November 6-17 to work on a “rule book” for implementation of the Paris Agreement. The summit discussed the rules and guidelines which will need to be established by each country in order to finalise the roadmap at COP24.

Blue Charter

Notable announcements at the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting included the UK Government’s announcement that it would review its 2050 emissions target, a Vanuatu-led push to establish a global tax on climate damages from fossil fuel polluters and an Australian pledge to help Pacific Island nations on climate mitigation aid.

In addition, governments announced the establishment of a Commonwealth Blue Charter led by the UK and Vanuatu, aimed at protecting global marine ecosystems.

“Heads identified climate change, including sea level rise and acidification, biodiversity loss, overfishing, and plastic pollution as some of the most significant pressures on the ocean, and called for ambitious, coordinated global action,” the communique added.

Matt Mace

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