AOSIS Chair Hits Back at “Weak” Commitments in COP28 Presidency’s Draft Text – “We will Not Sign our Death Certificate”

As SIDS, we feel our voices are not being heard, while it appears that several other Parties have enjoyed preferential treatment, compromising the transparency and inclusivity of the process.."

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On Monday 11th December, the Chair of AOSIS (Alliance of Small Island States) captivated the international media during a press conference.

Hon Toeolesulusulu Cedric Schuster did not mix words in sending strong feedback to the COP28 Presidency’s draft text on the Global Stocktake.

AOSIS Chair, Minister Cedric Schuster of Samoa, was joined by several other AOSIS Ministers, including: Minister John Silk, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Minister Gustav Aitaro, Palau, H.E. Milagros De Camps, Dominican Republic, and H.E. Mona Ainu’u, Niue Islands.

Samoa’s Minister of Natural Resources and Environment said the voices of Small Island States are not being heard and challenged the integrity of the process at COP 28.

“We are concerned that the process at this time is not in the spirit of multilateralism. As SIDS, we feel our voices are not being heard, while it appears that several other Parties have enjoyed preferential treatment, compromising the transparency and inclusivity of the process,” said Toeolesulusulu.

The AOSIS Chair said the language of the COP28 Presidency’s draft text was weak and does not refer to a phase out of fossil fuels at all.

“We are greatly concerned that this lack of a platform to air our views has resulted in weak language that will obliterate our chances of maintaining the 1.5°C warming limit.’

Toeolesulusulu points out that Paragraph 39 of the GST text draft on fossil fuels is “completely insufficient”.

“It does not refer to a phase out at all. It presents a menu of options that states “COULD” take…”

“Could is unacceptable,” stresses the AOSIS Chair. “States MUST take action on fossil fuel phase out.”

Samoa’s Environment Minister categorically states that Small Island States cannot sign onto text that does not have strong commitments on phasing out fossil fuels.

“We will not sign our death certificate!”

“We have been asked throughout this process, what is at stake if these negotiations do not return a strong outcome that Keeps 1.5 Alive. How can you not understand – it is our very survival that is at stake?”

Toeolesulusulu said that in every room of COP28 Small Island State negotiators have been pushing tirelessly for decisions that align with staying under 1.5 degrees of warming.

“That is why if Parties continue to oppose the phase out of fossil fuels and fossil fuel subsidies, they must stop and question their own commitment to this process..

“As big emitters continue to serve an antiquated industry which is responsible for over 90% of current CO2 emissions – and rising – AOSIS will be here..

“We will never stop fighting for a future where our people don’t just survive, but thrive!” said the AOSIS Chair.

“Because as a result of the actions of big emitters, we have no choice. And we remind you yet again – our small island developing states are on the frontlines of this climate crisis, but if you continue prioritizing profit over people, you are putting your own future on the line.”

AOSIS called for finance and mitigation to go hand in hand and said developed countries must lead because they have the resources to do so.

“We call on major economies to take the lead here in finance flows..

“We call on our allies to support our call and stand with us to keep 1.5 alive.”

FULL STATEMENT FROM AOSIS CHAIR:

– We are concerned that the process at this time is not in the spirit of multilateralism. As SIDS, we feel our voices are not being heard, while it appears that several other Parties have enjoyed preferential treatment, compromising the transparency and inclusivity of the process.

– We are greatly concerned that this lack of a platform to air our views has resulted in weak language that will obliterate our chances of maintaining the 1.5°C warming limit.

– Our red line is a strong commitment to keeping the 1.5c warming limit. Any text that compromises 1.5 will be rejected.

– If we do not have strong mitigation outcomes at this COP, then this will be remembered as the COP where 1.5 would have died. This should not be the legacy of this UAE COP.

– Paragraph 39 of the GST text draft includes weak language on fossil fuels is completely insufficient. It does not refer to a phase out at all. It presents a menu of options that states “COULD” take. Could is unacceptable. States MUST take action on fossil fuel phase out.

– Finance and mitigation must go hand in hand. Developed countries must lead because they have the resources to do so, we call on major economies to take the lead here in finance flows.

– We will not sign our death certificate. We cannot sign on to text that does not have strong commitments on phasing out fossil fuels.

– We have been asked throughout this process, what is at stake if these negotiations do not return a strong outcome that Keeps 1.5 Alive. How can you not understand – it is our very survival that is at stake?

– This is why in every room, our negotiators have been pushing tirelessly for decisions that align with staying under 1.5 degrees of warming. That is why if Parties continue to oppose the phase out of fossil fuels and fossil fuel subsidies, they must stop and question their own commitment to this process.

– As big emitters continue to serve an antiquated industry which is responsible for over 90% of current CO2 emissions – and rising – AOSIS will be here. We will never stop fighting for a future where our people don’t just survive, but thrive. Because as a result of the actions of big emitters, we have no choice.

– And we remind you yet again – our small island developing states are on the frontlines of this climate crisis, but if you continue prioritizing profit over people, you are putting your own future on the line.

– We call on our allies to support our call and stand with us to keep 1.5 alive.

Minister Cedric Schuster, Samoa

AOSIS Chair

Source: AOSIS