Sylvester Quarless, Environment Minister of Grenada, opened today’s negotiating sessions in Poznan by what should be a simple plea: “I implore you to join us in ensuring that no island is left behind”.

In the last days and hours, the activity in the small city of Poznan, Poland is surely reaching a fever pitch. Emerging from the chaos is the very clear and compelling story of the undeniable demand from AOSIS (the Alliance of Small Island States) and several other developing nations that whatever treaty comes out of Copenhagen guarantee the survival of all nations. Who, in any good conscience, would not support that claim?

Of course, guaranteeing the survival of many low-lying nations means taking a big step forward as a planet in avoiding catastrophic climate change – it means aiming and reaching 350 parts per million co2, and thus avoiding a temperature rise above 1.5 degrees C. As Reuters writes today, “As it is, the conference is still a long way from endorsing an even more modest target of two degrees Celsius (3.6 F) championed by the European Union (EU) and most green groups.” In another article Grenada’s Leon Charles, chairman of the Association of Small Island States (AOSIS), collectively home to 41 million people added: “Two degrees is really not a safe level for small island states,” Charles said. “For many of them it would be like a death sentence in the long run.”

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