The ‘High ambition coalition’ adds US; they are against any “minimalistic agreement”


Earth Journalism Network, Paris, France

The group represents at least 90 countries, “big and small; rich and poor”, said Marshall Islands Minister for Foreign Affairs, Tony de Brum.

United States today joined with the European Union, 79 African nations, and other countries like Mexico, Colombia and Gambia to the present the “High Ambition Coalition”, a group who is looking for “an ambitious agreement” to be signed at COP 21 in Paris.

Marshall Islands Minister for Foreign Affairs, Tony de Brum, presented this group not as a negotiating coalition, but as one would not accept a “minimalist agreement” because is fighting for a “high ambitious package”.

“We will not be trading of these ambitions”, he said about their interest in mechanism for increasing ambition by country over time, full recognition of the 1.5 degree Celsius goal, a five-year review process and a strong package, which supports developing countries.

Tony de Brum said the Coalition represents more than 90 countries “big and small; rich and poor”.

The United States added its names to the Coalition, Secretary of State, John Kerry, announced today. 

“We need an agreement that is as ambitious as possible. We don’t lose anything for being ambitious. Today we’re formally announcing that we are part of what we are calling the High Ambition Coalition," he said.

"This is a group of countries that is fully committed to ensuring that the agreement is a truly ambitious one. Addressing climate change will require a fundamental change in the way that we decide to power our planet. And our aim can be nothing less than a steady transformation of a global economy”, Kerry said.  

Later, the European Commissioner for Energy and Climate Change, Miguel Arias, said to the press that the draft agreement published this Wednesday it is “not ...ambitious enough”. Hee added the High Ambition Coalition would not accept an agreement “that was not fit” to meet its goals.

“We still have a long way to go”, Arias said. 

Mexican Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Rafael Pacchiano, said the High Ambition Coalition is convinced that the parties must agree to make big commitments for a successful outcome to the climate talks.

The coalition had some conspicuously abscent countries, including China, Brazil, India and South Africa.

The day after the Coalition presentation, Alf Willis, Representative South Africa Delegation, said that this Coalition “forgot” explaining what are they looking for. “It’s a bit unclear what the objectives are”, said Willis in a press conference.

He added that the High Ambition Coalition is not yet discussing their positions or proposals with anyone.

Gao Feng, Special Representative Climate Change negotiation of China said “China feels exactly the same” about the Coalition.