The Climate 
Right-to-Know

As the SBSTA opens today, ECO would like to remind delegates of a crucial item on the agenda: the proposal for a technical review of the science relating to long-term temperature increases of more than 1.5° C above pre-industrial levels.
What’s this all about? It’s about clarifying what is really at stake here. It’s about urgently bringing in the latest science to inform the ongoing negotiations, and spelling out the choice that governments now face – a choice between raising ambition to a level high enough to avoid climate chaos, or accepting the devastating consequences of a failure to act in time and at scale.
This issue was first put on the agenda in Bonn in June.  There, AOSIS – alarmed by recent reports suggesting that the future of their nations could be at risk even if global temperature rise is stabilized at 2° C – proposed that the Secretariat produce a summary of recent scientific studies.
During the negotiations in Bonn it was clarified that this task lies well within the mandate and capabilities of the Secretariat, and that this by no means would be duplicating the work of the IPCC. With these common understandings in place, the vast majority of governments supported the proposal from the small island states.
In the end, however, a few governments still resisted the idea of an overview of recent science.  One even went so far as to suggest that vulnerable countries who wanted to know more about the impacts they are facing from climate change could just use Google.
Cancun must not be the COP where governments decide to stick their heads in the sand and ignore the latest science relating to the consequences of the path they are now taking.
Furthermore, governments must remember that while some countries are confronting imminent threats to their very existence, every last one faces severe climate risk. AOSIS and the rest of the world’s most vulnerable countries are standing at the front of the line, but the rest of the world is right behind.
Clarifying the scientific realities about climate change must not be an issue just for AOSIS to push. Dear governments – speak no evil – don’t block a technical review to clarify the impacts facing us all if we exceed a long-term temperature rise of 1.5° C. Sooner or later all countries are highly vulnerable, and we all have a right to know.

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