Small Island States Fear "Annihilation" From Failed Climate Negotiations, Protests Mark COP17 Closing Hours

Brendan DeMelle DeSmog
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Karl Hood, Grenada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and chair of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), responded to a question from veteran ABC correspondent Bill Blakemore about the fact that climate scientists believe it is impossible to keep global warming below 1.5C above pre-industrial levels: “If they’re saying that 1.5 isn’t possible, are you asking us then to accept annihilation?”

Watch Hood respond to Blakemore’s question:

H/T ThinkProgress for the news and the video

Yesterday, U.S. climate envoy Todd Stern said that he considers the 2°C goal codified by the G8 and the Cancun Accords to be a “guidepost,” not a “cap that you must meet.”

The frustration felt by delegates from AOSIS, the Least Developed Countries (LDC), and others – especially the YOUNGO youth delegates whose future is imperiled by inaction – is coming to a head in the final hours of COP17 in Durban.

Earlier today, six members of the Canadian Youth Delegation had their credentials stripped after they stood up and turned their backs during Canadian Environment Minister Peter Kent’s speech. Watch this clip, courtesy of Democracy NOW!:

The Canadian youth protest came on the heels of an even stronger rebuke yesterday by 21-year-old Middlebury College junior, Abigail Borah, who stood up as U.S. negotiator Todd Stern took the stage to address the delegates. Borah gave him a piece of her mind on behalf of American youth.

Watch Amy Goodman’s excellent Democracy NOW! report about Ms. Borah’s protest and the fallout:

The New York Times recaps Borah’s statement of protest and the reaction:

Scores of delegates and observers gave her a sustained ovation. Then the South African authorities threw her out of the conference. Mr. Stern smiled as if the applause were for him and then continued with his prepared remarks.

With just one day to go – and nothing close to a legally-binding agreement in sight – hopes are fading once again for meaningful action to address climate change. It seems the “most powerful” nations on the planet are in fact the biggest cowards when it comes to tackling the most urgent challenge of our times.

Brendan DeMelle DeSmog
Brendan is Executive Director of DeSmog. He is also a freelance writer and researcher specializing in media, politics, climate change and energy. His work has appeared in Vanity Fair, The Huffington Post, Grist, The Washington Times and other outlets.

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