Caribbean Is­lands peg hopes on COP21 Agree­ment

The Star (St. Lucia) - - REGIONAL -

Caribbean lead­ers are de­mand­ing spe­cial recog­ni­tion for small is­land states at the Paris cli­mate talks. They say they are de­ter­mined to ob­tain a 1.5 de­gree Cel­sius cap on green­house gas emis­sions and res­i­dents of the is­lands are fol­low­ing the pro­ceed­ings closely, hop­ing for an agree­ment that will se­cure the sur­vival of their coun­tries.

Like most small is­lands, global warm­ing and a rise in sea lev­els pose some of the great­est threats to Caribbean na­tions. Storm surges, flood­ing and soil ero­sion threaten their sur­vival.

Saint Lucia’s prime min­is­ter and lead Caribbean Com­mu­nity (CARICOM) spokesper­son on cli­mate change, Kenny An­thony, ad­dressed the 12 mil­lion peo­ple of the re­gion ahead of COP21, speak­ing about the re­gion’s unique vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties to cli­mate change.

“The green­house gas emis­sions cuts be­ing pro­posed by coun­tries in their In­tended Na­tional De­ter­mined Con­tri­bu­tions, or INDCs, will still re­sult in a 2.7 de­gree Cel­sius warm­ing by the end of the cen­tury. For small is­land de­vel­op­ing states like ours, the science has shown that any long-term global tem­per­a­ture in­crease above 1.5 de­grees Cel­sius would be cat­a­strophic,” he said.

Cit­i­zens say the Caribbean suf­fers greatly from cli­mate change and they are hop­ing that COP21 will bring about the de­sired re­sults.

“It rep­re­sents a detri­ment to our very health even though we don’t have a lot of emis­sions and so on but ,you know, we suf­fer, and we suf­fer a lot from what­ever the big states are do­ing, like China,” says at­tor­ney-at-law Shirley Lewis.

Rose­mund Clery says, “For the sake of our chil­dren and the fu­ture of this coun­try and the fu­ture of chil­dren to come, I think it’s worth it. You know, it’s worth a try. Al­though we are small coun­tries, we have very lit­tle say. They don’t take us for any­thing, but it’s worth try­ing.”

Res­i­dents of other small is­land states say they too are anx­iously await­ing the re­sults of COP21.

“Small na­tions should par­tic­i­pate in that, as a right, be­cause the con­tam­i­na­tion hurts ev­ery­one, not only the rich coun­tries. His­tor­i­cally the rich na­tions take ad­van­tage of their po­si­tions so poor na­tions like you guys and also Puerto Rico suf­fer badly,” says Puerto Ri­can res­i­dent Gio­vanni Perez.

The small states are hop­ing for two things at COP21: lim­it­ing global warm­ing to no more than 1.5 de­grees Cel­sius and com­mit­ments by in­dus­tri­alised na­tions to pro­vide fi­nanc­ing for cli­mate change adap­ta­tion and mit­i­ga­tion ini­tia­tives.- te­

Photo: te­leSUR

A house in Do­minica perched pre­car­i­ously af­ter Trop­i­cal Storm Erika. Caribbean lead­ers say cli­mate change is al­ready wreak­ing havoc on small is­lands.

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