Sun | Oct 21, 2018

Nicholson wants world to spend big on climate change

Published:Sunday | September 14, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Minister of Water, Land Environment and Climate Change Robert Pickersgill (second left) and junior minister Ian Hayles (right) show the JUTC Bus Climate Change advertisement to EU Ambassador Paola Amadei (second right) and Pietra Brown, communications officer at the United Nations Environment Programme in Jamaica (left). -File

Jamaica's foreign minister, A.J. Nicholson, has called for the "urgent operationalisation of the Green Climate Fund (GCF)", which was established by the United Nations to help mitigate emissions and allow countries to adapt to climate change.

Nicholson, who along with environment and climate change minister Robert Pickersgill, attended the third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in Apia, Samoa, last week, argued that climate change can significantly impact on the ability of SIDS to function effectively in the global economic environment.

The minister used the floor of the conference to express the hope that, "a robust international agreement is signed on Climate Change next year in Paris".

The United Nations wants all countries — developed and developing — to sign up to a new deal to address climate change at a Paris conference, but many developed countries have resisted the elements of the various proposals that have been advanced.

The GCF has been presented as the key vehicle by which US$100 billion each year, by 2020, would be diverted from rich countries to developing countries, including SIDS, to help mitigate emissions and adapt to climate change. Only a fraction of this sum had been pledged as of July 2013, mostly to cover start-up costs.

The GCF is expected to contribute to the achievement of the ultimate objective of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It is anticipated that the Fund will promote the paradigm shift towards low-emission and climate-resilient development pathways by providing support to developing countries to limit or reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

Nicholson argued that SIDS are experiencing disproportionately higher impacts of climate change and that these countries "have contributed very little in terms of greenhouse gas emissions to the exacerbation of the phenomenon".

Brandon Haye, scientific officer at the Caribbean Coastal Area Management Foundation (C-CAM), told The Sunday Gleaner yesterday, while it is not yet known how much funding would be available to countries like Jamaica if the GCF becomes operationalised, the concept is one which is laudable.

"Climate change is occurring, and it is going to take significant resources for any country to adapt to the changes that are going to be needed and the way the society is organised," said Haye.

He argued that countries like Jamaica, which are "proportionally less responsible for the problems that we are facing, and so funds like these, which is an attempt to address that balance, is very, very important, otherwise some of us will be left behind to bear the brunt of the consequences".

Meanwhile, the Indian news website, The Hindu, last Sunday quoted a senior British Government official as saying his country is fully behind the idea of setting the GCF.

"It was never us blocking the process, nor was it the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries. It appears that we are now close to operationalising the GCF, and we will be pushing for that to be developed, and we are ready to put money into it," said Sir David King, the United Kingdom's special representative for Climate Change.