Daily Mail

Fears the 1.5C climate target could be axed

- From Colin Fernandez Environmen­t Editor in Sharm El Sheikh

THE historic pledge to limit global warming to 1.5C could be abandoned during talks in Egypt, warn insiders.

First drafts of the pact from the United Nations Cop27 meeting in Sharm El Sheikh are expected to be issued tonight.

But China is pushing for the removal of the promise that the Earth will not be allowed to warm by more than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.

The Cop – or Conference of the Parties – is an annual attempt to gain a global agreement to curb climate change, attended by some 45,000 delegates from 200 countries.

But behind the scenes China, the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter by volume, is urging a target of 2C to limit drastic restrictio­ns on its industry.

The 1.5C limit was first mooted at the Paris Climate talks in 2015 when it was agreed that countries should limit warming ‘by well below 2C, preferably to 1.5C’.

Alok Sharma, President of Cop26 in Glasgow and former UK business secretary, urged delegates to fight for the 1.5C limit, as resolved at last year’s conference.

He said: ‘We’ve got to stick to that commitment. We cannot allow any backslidin­g. But we are already at 1.1 degrees global warming. Even at 1.5 degrees we are going to have devastatin­g outcomes for millions. As our friend from Bangladesh reminded us, 1.5 needs to be a red line. And this cannot be the Cop where we lose 1.5 degrees.’

He added that the difference between 1.5 degrees and higher levels of warming is the difference ‘between a tolerable existence and an impossible future’. Mr Sharma warned that 2C would be a ‘death sentence’ for many nations around the world.

Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland, told the Irish Times that she fears the 1.5C pledge may be dropped.

She said: ‘There seems to be some kind of attempt to say maybe 1.5C is not achievable any more. That is not acceptable.’

Many scientists believe 1.5C is out of reach as nations have emitted too much greenhouse gas, with the UN Environmen­t Programme predicting the world could be on course for warming nearer to 2.8C.

Alden Meyer, of green think-tank E3G, said it is crucial for the G20 countries currently meeting in Bali to reaffirm their commitment to 1.5C. But if the gathering, led by US President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping, does not then it would make it more likely the pledge is dropped, he said.

The world’s 46 least-developed countries have most to lose from global warming over 1.5C and have been vocal in its defence.

Cop27 is due to conclude on Friday but could continue to allow time for a deal.

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