Mon | Jan 22, 2018

Don't delay on climate change

Published:Saturday | April 16, 2016 | 12:00 AM


We note the news article in The Gleaner of Friday, April 1, 2016 titled 'Jury out on whether Jamaica will sign global climate deal'. The article noted that the administration may not be able to sign the Paris Agreement on April 22, the date set aside for its signing.

While we understand that the administration may require additional time to familiarise itself with, and peruse, the content of the agreement, the importance of Jamaica's early signature of this historic document cannot be overstated.

The Paris Agreement was negotiated in December 2015 and evidences the world's collective commitment to reduce temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius, thereby slowing the pace of global warming. This commitment is critical to the survival and future of the world, but more so to Small Island Developing States like Jamaica, which, by their natural geographic locations, are pre-disposed to natural disasters and are the first to be affected by rising sea levels, flooding, and constant change in weather patterns.

The Paris Agreement, therefore, must be supported by all countries in both words and action, and Jamaica must take the lead in this part of the hemisphere by signing the said agreement on the proposed date or soon thereafter. Any delay in signing will convey the wrong message and will bring into question our commitment to the protection of environment and preparation for climate change.


Furthermore, the major steps taken by the United States and China (the two largest contri-butors to global emissions) on March 31, 2016, when both indicated their intent to sign and take immediate domestic steps to reduce their emissions output, signalled the clear global priority that this agreement represents. The vulnerability of Jamaica as a small island state is clear, and must be regarded with the same urgency that the US and China have demonstrated.

We, therefore, urge the administration to move post haste in bringing itself up to speed on the agreement and sign as quickly as possible in the interest

of Jamaica, as a show of our commitment to reducing the risks and impacts of climate change.

We must constantly remind ourselves that with climate change, we must change.


Senator and Opposition Spokesperson