Nations Back Tougher Climate Goals

10 December 2009 (Last Updated December 10th, 2009 18:30)

More than half the countries at the 192-nation UN climate talks in Copenhagen back far tougher goals for limiting global warming than those favoured by rich nations. The group of small island nations, which says rising sea levels could wipe them off the map, complained that a 5m (15ft)

More than half the countries at the 192-nation UN climate talks in Copenhagen back far tougher goals for limiting global warming than those favoured by rich nations.

The group of small island nations, which says rising sea levels could wipe them off the map, complained that a 5m (15ft) globe hanging in the Copenhagen conference centre omits many island states such as in the Pacific or the Indian Ocean, reports Reuters.

Dessima Williams, head of the 43-member Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), said more than 100 nations had signed up for a goal of limiting rises in temperatures to 1.5°C above preindustrial levels.

"Half of the United Nations is calling for ambitious and specific targets," Williams, of Grenada, told a news conference at the climate talks this week.

The least-developed nations, mostly in Africa, and small island states all support the 1.5°C goal that would require cuts in greenhouse gas emissions by rich nations of at least 45% from 1990 levels by 2020.

Most developed nations and leading emerging economies, led by China and India, back a goal of limiting warming to a maximum of 2°C over preindustrial times.

Any deal in Copenhagen will have to be agreed by unanimity.