At the opening of the latest round of climate talks in Bonn, Germany, the Association of Small Island States (AOSIS) offered a clear agenda for negotiators to follow in order to make progress on a fair, ambitious and legally binding climate treaty. The clarity of the AOSIS approach is a reminder that the lack of progress at the UN climate negotiations is not caused by the process itself, but by the lack of political ambition of the parties, especially the developed countries and largest polluters.

Speaking on behalf of the island nations, Grenada emphasized the urgency of the situation:

Our second source of extreme time pressure comes from the mounting scientific evidence that the 1.5 degree goal is already at risk if we do not take decisive action now.   The International Energy Agency has reported that energy-related carbon-dioxide emissions in 2010 were the highest in history, and that the threshold for achieving the 1.5 degree goal may be crossed.

Mr Chairman, there is no  room for delay, or for reliance on a mere “pledge and review approach” to the mitigation of emissions, given the implications of rising emissions for the future of the low lying small island nations in this room already facing sea level rise of more than one  meter by 2100, and the implications for food security resulting from drought and floods in LDCs and other vulnerable countries represented here.

Grenada then proposed five steps for negotiators to follow. First, they asked the countries assembled to clearly indicate their willingness to join a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. Second, they asked parties to clearly outline the conditionalities for their participation in Kyoto. Third, they pushed for a clear work plan for the road to this year's climate summit in Durban. Fourth, once these issues had been resolved, they asked parties to delve into the technical decisions on the table, such as how to combat deforestation. Fifth, they supported the move to create a group to look at the legal issues surrounding the end of the first commitment period of the Kyoto protocol and the possibility of a new treaty or arrangement.

Simple, right? On paper, yes. But until we can turn the politics of climate from a race to the bottom to a race to the future, there is little hope for progress at the negotations.

Island nations are doing their part by keeping the urgency of the science front and center and acting as a moral voice for people across the planet who are already feeling the impacts of climate change. It is up to the rest of us to change the politics of the situation. That's why this year's Moving Planet day of action is so important. Together, we can move the planet away from disaster and towards a safe climate future.

As Grenda emphasized in Bonn, "No group of Parties here is more acutely aware of what failure will entail for our constituencies at home than the Alliance of Small Island States." That's a failure that island nations won't accept. Neither should we.

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