Car­ib­bean urged to rat­ify Paris Agree­ment

Jamaica Gleaner - - BUSINESS - Pe­tre Wil­liams-Raynor Con­tribut­ing Ed­i­tor

Dam­aged houses in south­west­ern Haiti, fol­low­ing Hur­ri­cane Matthew.

WITH THE Mar­rakech cli­mate change talks now only weeks away, the few CARICOM mem­ber states that have not yet rat­i­fied the Paris Agree­ment – Ja­maica among them – have been urged to do so.

The ap­peal has come from Dr James Fletcher, for­mer head of the CARICOM Task Force on Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment.

He pre­dicted that the fail­ure to rat­ify will see those is­lands run­ning the risk of not hav­ing a say in the first meet­ing of the par­ties to the global deal next month.

“Given that the Paris Agree­ment will en­ter into force in the Mar­rakech meet­ing ... if you haven’t rat­i­fied the Paris Agree­ment, then re­ally you can­not be at the table de­ter­min­ing rules and pro­ce­dures and ev­ery­thing else,” he cau­tioned.

“If you have not rat­i­fied the agree­ment, then you don’t have a voice at the meet­ing. There will be CARICOM coun­tries there (who share sim­i­lar chal­lenges) and who will speak on your be­half, but I don’t think it is a po­si­tion you want to be in be­cause you can­not ar­tic­u­late your own con­cerns,” added Fletcher, also the for­mer min­is­ter A woman re­moves de­bris from homes that fell in the street af­ter the pass­ing of Hur­ri­cane Matthew in Bara­coa, Cuba, Wed­nes­day, Oc­to­ber 5, 2016. The hur­ri­cane rolled across the sparsely pop­u­lated tip of Cuba, de­stroy­ing dozens of homes in Cuba’s east­ern­most city, Bara­coa, leav­ing hun­dreds of oth­ers dam­aged. CARICOM Sec­re­tary Gen­eral Am­bas­sador Ir­win LaRocque (left) with Dr James Fletcher, who led CARICOM ne­go­tia­tors, in dis­cus­sion with re­gional heads of gov­ern­ment and min­is­ters at the Paris Cli­mate Talks last year. of sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment for to have rat­i­fied the agree­ment, St Lu­cia. which pre­scribes the way

Ten CARICOM coun­tries for­ward for the planet in its bat­tle have so far rat­i­fied the agree­ment. against the chang­ing cli­mate. They in­clude An­tigua and Car­ib­bean is­lands and other Bar­buda, Bar­ba­dos, The small-is­land de­vel­op­ing states Ba­hamas, Belize, Do­minica, (SIDS) are counted among those Gre­nada, Guyana, St Kitts and most vul­ner­a­ble to cli­mate threats. Ne­vis, St Lu­cia, and St Vin­cent Those threats in­clude ex­treme and the Gre­nadines. weather events, the likes of

They are among the 81 coun­tries Hur­ri­cane Matthew, which bar­relled across the re­gion re­cently, leav­ing in its wake death and de­struc­tion in places such as Haiti, Cuba and The Ba­hamas.

In Haiti alone, the death toll is reg­is­tered at more than 900, with mil­lions of dol­lars in loss and dam­age to in­fra­struc­ture.

Mean­while, Fletcher – a re­spected re­gional states­man re­puted for his work in cli­mate change and other de­vel­op­ment is­sues, in­clud­ing en­ergy – is buoyed with the progress on the Paris Agree­ment. Still, he cau­tions that there are still miles to go to where the re­gion needs to get in its readi­ness for cli­mate change.

“We are very en­cour­aged by how quickly this agree­ment has come into force ... It re­ally is awe­some for me that the com­mu­nity has ral­lied to this cause and there seems to be an ur­gency that, at least philo­soph­i­cally, we need to move in a par­tic­u­lar di­rec­tion,” he said.

“What is wor­ry­ing to me is that there does not seem to be an ur­gency where cli­mate ac­tion is con­cerned. If you look at the level of am­bi­tion for the level of green­house gases, it is still not tak­ing us be­low 2.7 de­grees Cel­sius. No­body has come out and said, for ex­am­ple, that they will re­duce their emissions by an­other 25 per cent,” Fletcher added.

This, he noted, is what is re­quired if the world is to re­alise one of the ob­jec­tives of the Paris Agree­ment, to hold “the in­crease in the global av­er­age tem­per­a­ture to well be­low 2 de­grees Cel­sius above prein­dus­trial lev­els and to pur­sue ef­forts to limit the tem­per­a­ture in­crease to 1.5 de­grees Cel­sius above pre-in­dus­trial lev­els, recog­nis­ing that this would sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce the risks and im­pacts of cli­mate change”.

“I would like to see greater pledges from ma­jor emit­ters to re­duce their emissions and more pledges where fi­nance is con­cerned,” the for­mer min­is­ter noted.

“There is a lot that has to be done where SIDS are con­cerned. (We are in a time when we) have hur­ri­canes hit­ting mul­ti­ple coun­tries and trav­el­ling in pairs. So the sit­u­a­tion is omi­nous; the pro­jec­tions are all show­ing that our area will be one of the hard­est hit by cli­mate change, and we don’t have the funds to adapt,” he said.

“We are re­ally are say­ing to our res­i­dents that they are in for a very bleak fu­ture when we should be say­ing, hav­ing signed the agree­ment, we can now as­sure that the cli­mate fi­nance is go­ing to flow and ac­tion is go­ing to be taken to re­duce green­house gases to get us close to 1.5,” added Fletcher, who will be in Mar­rakech next month to sup­port CARICOM.

“We are not in a good place where bend­ing that tem­per­a­ture curve is con­cerned, and mak­ing fi­nance more read­ily avail­able to SIDS is one way to get there,” he said.


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