By Pita Ligaiula in Glasgow

Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS) Wednesday told the UN Climate Change talks in Glasgow the 1.5C limit is non-negotiable.

Speaking on behalf of PSIDS at COP26 High level Plenary, Marshall Islands Health Minister Bruce Bilimon said climate change is the single greatest threat to their livelihood, security and wellbeing.

“We do not need more scientific evidence, new targets without plans to reach them, or talking shops.  We all need to shoulder our responsibilities. The G20 must lead by example; big polluters must demonstrate leadership.

“The 1.5C limit is non-negotiable. Ignoring the overwhelming evidence staring us in the face places us at our own peril.

We need more ambition on climate mitigation, adaptation, loss and damage, and climate finance.  We need to raise the level of ambition in NDCs, and those yet to submit NDCs must do so without further delay – and ensure that they’re aligned with a pathway of 1.5C,” Minister Bilimon told the plenary.

Fossil fuel subsidies must be phased out and redirected Coal use must end, he said.

“Increased funding for mitigation and adaptation are vitally needed to keep the 1.5-degree in reach.  We welcome recent climate finance announcements, but the promised $100 billion per annum is long overdue.

“The increase of natural disasters we see today will only get worse unless we commit to real action.  Past responses have been fragmented and slow. We cannot afford further erosion of trust. The pace must change,” said Minister Bilimon.

COP26 is an opportunity to demonstrate our common humanity, he explained.

“We urge all nations to uphold the Paris Agreement, the thread that binds us together.  We must accept the critical importance of reaching net-zero as soon as possible, no later than 2050.  We must adapt to protect our people, environment and natural resources.

“We must ensure that international law continues to protect our rights and entitlements in the face of climate change-related sea-level rise. We must address loss & damage.  We must protect biodiversity and ecosystems; and arrest sea-level rise. We must protect our oceans and maritime zones.  We must invest in green growth, circular economies and renewable energy,” Bilimon emphasised.

He said oceans is a big part of the Pacific push at COP26 and should form an important part of the UNFCCC process.

“The ocean surrounds, protects and provides for us in the Pacific. It is our home, our way of life, and a key to our future. Our reliance on the ocean and its bounty is balanced by our stewardship of its health and for the benefit of future generations.

“We welcome the ambitious but achievable goal for protecting 30% of our global oceans by 2030.

“Let us take urgent decisions to address all the outstanding matters before us.  Let us make COP26 a turning point in our collective efforts to raise the level of ambition and save our planet for future generations, and to avoid a climate catastrophe in our children’s lifetime,” Bilimon said.