18 Oct 2017

Fiji continues push for 1.5 degree climate target

9:13 am on 18 October 2017

Fiji has called for "absolute dedication" to the strictest limits on global warming as it prepares to preside over UN talks which seek to keep the Paris climate agreement on track despite a US pullout.

The 2015 agreement was dealt a major blow in June when President Donald Trump announced he was pulling out of the accord.

Fiji is hosting a preparatory meeting before next month's talks in Bonn, where environment ministers will work on a set of international guidelines for the Paris accord.

Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama addressing climate change talks consultations in Bonn, May 2017

Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama addressing climate change talks consultations in Bonn, May 2017 Photo: Supplied

Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama told delegates at this week's Nadi meeting that the climate crisis can no longer be ignored.

The accord sets a target of limiting a rise in average temperatures to "well below" two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times, but ideally 1.5 degrees.

Mr Banimarama said an "absolute dedication" to meet the 1.5 degree target is what is needed and what must be taken to Bonn.

He said it's hard to find any part of the world that is unaffected by a changing climate, listing Atlantic storms such as Ophelia battering Ireland, wildfires in California, Portugal and Spain, and floods in Nigeria, India and Bangladesh.

Implementation a key focus

New Zealand's Climate Change Minister Paula Bennett said the focus of the Nadi talks is on how to implement the Paris Agreement.

Island states want to extend some of the commitments reached at the Paris meeting two years ago.

They also want to establish a form of insurance for the victims of climate change.

Deputy PM Paula Bennett 21 June 2017

Paula Bennett Photo: VNP / Daniela Maoate-Cox

But Paula Bennett said the critical thing was to decide how to implement the commitments countries made in Paris.

"And everyone has made significant promises and targets, New Zealand included," she said.

"It is the rules of how we achieve that post 2020 after Kyoto, that makes the biggest difference."

Ms Bennett says New Zealand could support limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees celsius above pre-industrial times.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs