HAVANA._ The Caribbean position at the climate change talks is principally based on reaching a truly binding agreement and compliance with the commitments made by the international community.
Leaders from the area presented this approach to French president Francois Hollande at a recent meeting in Martinique, which served as a preparation for the 21st World Conference on Climate Change (COP 21) which is to be held in Paris later this year.
Bahamian prime minister and rotational president of the Caribbean Community, Perry Christie, stressed that this is an emergency issue as it negatively impacts food security, availability of drinking water, and vector-borne diseases.
His statements are supported by scientific research that also points to the extinction of animal and vegetable species, greater hurricane intensity, reduced harvests, and the disappearance of coral reefs as a result of global warming.
Such a scenario would lead to an uncontrollable rise in migration, wars, and worldwide famine.
Christie warned that despite governmental will to halt it, the region does not have the requisite resources to adapt itself to climate change nor to mitigate the damage resulting from it.
For this reason, he believes it to be of utmost importance to redirect debate and to reach an agreement at COP21 that confronts the challenges of reducing toxic emission, clarifies climate change adaptation strategies, and provides funding to facilitate and enhance the sustainable development programs for island nations.
According to Christie, this text should also be clear about measures, m e c h a n i s m s, and financial and technological support related to climate change.
Meanwhile, the prime minister of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit, described the present juncture as a question of life or death because total planetary degradation and destruction is at stake.
Speaking on behalf of the Eastern Caribbean States, he said that “we are concerned that the international community has not as yet responded adequately to the dangers implicit in climate change (...). We believe that limiting rising temperatures to two degrees is insufficient to protect our fragile ecosystems; a 1.5 degree target would be more appropriate.”
Skerrit lamented the insensitivity of the industrialized world when island states, which are stretched to the limits of their capacity to adapt, are facing serious threats of human survival.
He called on the international community to work immediately to reach an “ambitious, complete and meaningful” deal in Paris which would require special provisions such as technology transfers, training, greater support for efficient energy programs, and access to renewable energy sources for countries at risk.
Meanwhile, the French president called for solidarity between rich and poor countries in the face of the global challenge and he pledged to push the creation of a green fund at the COP21 to channel aid to the Caribbean for the effects of natural disasters.
Hollande acknowledged that, although the zone is only responsible for 0.3 percent of harmful emissions, it was among those which suffered most from the lashing of extreme meteorological events.
He said that the situation was urgent because the islands were obliged to spend 600 million dollars annually on natural disaster relief, which set back their aspirations to comply with the Millennium Development Goals.
In 2010, the Caribbean nations launched the “1.5 degrees to Survive” campaign based on research results that demonstrate the harmful effects of greenhouse gases on the populations, ecosystems and geography of island nations largely dependent on agro-industry, fishing, and tourism.
A study conducted by the International State of the Oceans Program forecasts that, if temperatures continue to go up, the Arctic ice will have disappeared by 2050 and sea levels will rise as a result.
Many of these small Caribbean territories will be flooded, more than 150 tourist centers and some 20 airports will be destroyed, and 100,000 people will be displaced due to the resulting lack of water, food, housing, and jobs.
By 2050, the Caribbean would face annual damages worth 100 billion dollars from the paralysis of its three economic bases alone.Share on FB Share on TT