BANGKOK, Nov 12 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A coalition of more than 40 countries most at risk from climate change has called for a new U.N. deal, due to be agreed in Paris next month, to enshrine a goal of keeping global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, warning over a billion people are in danger.
The Climate Vulnerable Forum said sticking to a 2010 goal to limit temperature rise to 2 degrees (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels would leave countries that are highly exposed to climate change even more vulnerable to threats such as rising sea levels, heat waves, droughts and floods.
"Our vulnerable nations are the ground zero in the global struggle against climate change," said Joyceline Goco, acting director of the Philippines Climate Change Office, following a meeting in Manila this week of the 43-country alliance.
It includes the Philippines, Bangladesh, Costa Rica, Kiribati, the Maldives, Rwanda and Barbados.
The forum, which aims to mobilise funds to help developing nations become more resilient to climate impacts, said a 1.5 degree goal was now supported by 106 nations.
Scientists have warned of dire consequences if global average temperatures rise more than 2 degrees. Even this level of increase would exceed what is safe for the world's most vulnerable countries, some now say.
This week, Britain's Met Office said the rise in global temperatures from pre-industrial levels will this year exceed 1 degree Celsius for the first time.
More than 155 countries have promised cuts in their national greenhouse gas emissions as part of a climate deal due to be agreed at a U.N. summit in Paris starting on Nov. 30.
But those reductions would still only cap warming at 3 to 3.5 degrees Celsius, the United Nations Environment Programme has said.
The CVF members pledged this week to lead by example, by continuing to strive to curb their own emissions, even though they have less resources to do so than developed countries.
The group also called for a new global agreement to include an international mechanism to deal with loss and damage from climate change, improve access to finance for climate action, and ensure climate funding is split equally between efforts to reduce emissions and to adapt to climate impacts.
(Reporting by Bangkok newsroom; Editing by Megan Rowling; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, which covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, corruption and climate change. Visit www.trust.org to see more stories)