Is Saudi Arabia the Big Bad Wolf of Paris Climate Talks? (New Internationalist)

Is Saudi Arabia the big bad wolf of the Paris climate talks?
By Kyla Mandel and Brendan Montague |

The oil producing giant blocked efforts in Paris to limit global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, Kyla Mandel and Brendan Montague report.

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Oil rich Saudi Arabia is leading a campaign to sabotage attempts by countries on the front line of climate change to include an ambitious 1.5C target for global warming in the COP21 agreement currently being negotiated in Paris.

Wealthy nations – including Germany, France and now the United States – have all signalled support for including references to the lower target in the final text, as negotiators reach the end of the first week of negotiations.

The oil producing giant Thursday night blocked efforts to include references in the Paris deal to a UN report that says it would be better to limit global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels rather than the current 2C target.

Saleemul Huq, Director of the International Centre for Climate and Development, argues that the difference between a temperature increase of 1.5 degrees and 2 degrees ‘is roughly 1.5 million people who will fall through the cracks and most of them will be in vulnerable and developing countries.’

Thoriq Ibrahim, the Maldives envoy and chair of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), said the 1.5C was a ‘moral threshold’ for his country.

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