The world’s threatened island states last week expressed alarm at suggestions that the Copenhagen Climate Summit will not produce legally binding outcomes to build on the current international climate regime. Speaking at the conclusion of climate talks in Bangkok, Ambassador Dessima Williams, Permanent Representative of Grenada to the United Nations in New York and current Chair of the 43-member Alliance of Small Island States, said her group was deeply concerned with the "divisive rhetoric" that had characterised some of the discussions in Bangkok.
Williams addressed the growing divide by proposing two separate and legally binding outcomes in December. Island states joined with other developing nations in calling for deeper emission reduction commitments by industrialised countries under the Kyoto Protocol for the period after 2012. She also called for a second, multilateral and legally binding agreement to define action for all countries, including the United States, sufficient to limit global warming to less than 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
Responding to a push by some industrialised countries to move forward without the Kyoto Protocol, Williams said: "It is essential that we build upon, and do not weaken, the existing legally binding framework". She added that "now is not the time for backsliding. The failure to deliver ambitious legally binding outcomes in Copenhagen will threaten the survival small island states." – Williams also noted that Bangkok had seen Costa Rica, Guatemala, Panama and Sri Lanka join AOSIS and the Group of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in calling for global warming to be limited to below 1.5°C above pre-industrial temperatures. The AOSIS targets are now supported by close to 100 countries, more than half the UN membership.