Ja holds judge­ment on future of US cli­mate f inance f lows

Jamaica Gleaner - - SOCIAL - Pe­tre Wil­liams-Raynor Con­tribut­ing Editor pwr.gleaner@gmail.com

JA­MAICA IS choos­ing, at least for now, not to worry over whether cli­mate finance flows from the United States (US) will dry up un­der the pres­i­dency of Don­ald Trump.

This is de­spite news that the pres­i­dent-elect – a cli­mat­e­change scep­tic – may be looking to opt out of the his­toric Paris Agree­ment.

The US rat­i­fied the agree­ment on Septem­ber 3 un­der Pres­i­dent Barack Obama, who, af­ter sub­mit­ting the doc­u­ments to the United Na­tions, is re­ported to have said: “Some day we may see this as the mo­ment when we de­cided to save our planet.”

Fast-for­ward just two months and the vic­tory of the Repub­li­can Trump over the Democrats’ Hil­lary Clin­ton to suc­ceed Obama has trig­gered anx­i­ety among par­tic­i­pants here at the in­ter­na­tional cli­mate talks.

HOL­NESS NOT WOR­RIED

Ja­maican Prime Min­is­ter Andrew Hol­ness, who was in Mar­rakech last week, does not share in the worry.

“I think the pub­lic should be aware that the US is a party to this agree­ment; it is an in­ter­na­tional agree­ment. So, too, are other ma­jor pow­ers in the world, in­clud­ing China and In­dia, and that is sig­nif­i­cant,” he noted.

“The sign­ing of the Paris Agree­ment is a sig­nif­i­cant move­ment in the world – to­wards mak­ing some de­fin­i­tive at­tempts to ad­dress the is­sue of cli­mate change. I be­lieve it is still early days yet for us to cast any con­clu­sions. I am still con­fi­dent and very op­ti­mistic that the move­ment which has started will not be turned back,”

Hol­ness added.

At the same time, the PM hinted at the in­ten­tion to do what­ever pos­si­ble to en­sure the success of the agree­ment.

“There is al­ways room for ne­go­ti­a­tions, for change, for im­prove­ment, and for Ja­maica, it is in our in­ter­est to en­sure that this move­ment con­tin­ues be­cause we are sus­cep­ti­ble [to cli­mate threats]. We are see­ing the ef­fects of in­creased trop­i­cal storms, of sea-level rise, of droughts, un­pre­dictable weather events, which are im­pact­ing on our in­fra­struc­ture – dam­age to our roads, our gul­lies, our drains,” said the PM, who was at­tend­ing the COP for the first time.

“[There is also] the emer­gence in re­cent times of var­i­ous health threats which are trans­mit­ted be­cause of changes in the weather which al­low the breed­ing of var­i­ous vec­tors, par­tic­u­larly mos­qui­toes. So we have a vested in­ter­est in en­sur­ing there is a global move­ment that will pro­tect our en­vi­ron­ment,” Hol­ness added.

Ja­maica is not alone in choos­ing not to worry over the future of US cli­mate fi­nanc­ing.

“We work with the US gov­ern­ment and the US in­sti­tu­tions, US re­searchers, and we look for­ward to con­tin­u­ing the work with the new ad­min­is­tra­tion,” Jonathan Lyn, head of com­mu­ni­ca­tions and me­dia re­la­tions at the In­ter­gov­ern­men­tal Panel on Cli­mate Change (IPCC), told The Gleaner.

The IPCC is the in­ter­na­tional body for as­sess­ing cli­mate sci­ence. Set up in 1988 by the World Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal Or­gan­i­sa­tion and the United Na­tions En­vi­ron­ment Pro­gramme, it pro­vides pol­i­cy­mak­ers with reg­u­lar as­sess­ments of the sci­en­tific ba­sis of cli­mate change, its im­pacts and future risks, and op­tions for adap­ta­tion and mit­i­ga­tion.

WAIT AND SEE

“There is a new ad­min­is­tra­tion. We are wait­ing to see what the poli­cies will be. The US has been a very ac­tive par­tic­i­pant in the IPCC, and not just in terms of fi­nan­cial con­tri­bu­tions but con­tribut­ing ex­perts,” said Lyn, who will be in Ja­maica later this month for an IPCC-led re­gional work­shop.

“We have seen how the world is us­ing our sci­en­tific find­ings to work to­gether on tack­ling cli­mate change, and there has been real mo­men­tum on that in the last few months. We ex­pect that global ef­fort to con­tinue and we ex­pect to con­tinue to con­trib­ute to that with good, ro­bust sci­ence,” he added.

The US has con­trib­uted some US$2 mil­lion an­nu­ally to the work of the IPCC over the last five years. Since the in­ter­na­tional cli­mate talks in Copen­hagen in 2009, it has “ramped up its cli­mate finance for de­vel­op­ing coun­tries four­fold”, ac­cord­ing to the Overview of the Global Cli­mate Change Ini­tia­tive: US Cli­mate Finance 2010-2015 re­port avail­able on the State De­part­ment’s web­site.

“Be­tween 2010 and 2015, the United States al­lo­cated $15.6 bil­lion in cli­mate finance across adap­ta­tion, clean en­ergy, and sus­tain­able land­scapes ac­tiv­i­ties. Ad­di­tion­ally, in 2014 the United States pledged $3 bil­lion to the Green Cli­mate Fund, the largest pledge by any coun­try,” it added.

CON­TRIB­UTED

The Child De­vel­op­ment Agency on Satur­day staged its annual can­dle­light vigil and con­cert at Eman­ci­pa­tion Park in New Kingston. Held on World Day for the Pre­ven­tion of Child Abuse, the agency was joined by spon­sors FLOW and the Min­istry of National Se­cu­rity for a march and can­dle-light­ing cer­e­mony. Rep­re­sent­ing the FLOW Foun­da­tion, Troy Cock­ings (left) and Shelly-Ann O’Con­nor (right) join chil­dren in the CDA pa­rade. The plac­ards bear names of chil­dren who have been killed in vi­o­lent cir­cum­stances.

PHOTO BY PE­TRE WIL­LIAMS-RAYNOR

Jonathan Lyn of the IPCC.

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