Wed | Oct 28, 2020

Earth Today | Jamaica to advocate for financial resources at UN Climate Action Summit

Published:Thursday | September 12, 2019 | 12:00 AM
UnaMay Gordon (standing fourth from right), head of the Climate Change Division, in a discussion on gender and climate change at a meeting in 2018.

JAMAICA IS to ramp up its advocacy for financial resources at the upcoming United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York, in a move that has taken on greater urgency with the devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian in The Bahamas recently.

“The climate-induced events that have occurred over the last several months have provided further evidence as to what is on the line at this crucial summit. Throughout preparations for the Climate Summit, Jamaica has been committed to making sure the needs of developing countries are addressed within initiatives and pledges that emerge from the summit,” said UnaMay Gordon, who heads the Climate Change Division of the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation.

“Jamaica’s overarching goal for the summit has been to ensure increased and effective mobilisation of additional public and private finance to support the adaptation and resilience needs of developing countries,” she added.

Hurricane Dorian barrelled across islands of The Bahamas last week, leaving in its wake some 50 people dead and countless others homeless and bereft of assets to aid their recovery, including water and electricity.

extreme weather events

The category five hurricane is symptomatic of what is anticipated with a changing climate that promises more extreme weather events, together with accelerated warming of the planet, rising sea levels and the associated risk to food and water security, as well as to public health.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, the UN Climate Summit website reveals, called the upcoming Climate Action Summit late last year “aware that global efforts to tackle climate change are running off-track, a fact underlined by the dire warnings in the IPCC (intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) 1.5 degrees Celsius report”. He said he wanted a summit where leaders would only get to speak if they have plans in line with 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The report paints a picture of a world in peril, with significantly compromised natural ecosystems and associated socio-economic impacts, should the emphasis be on two degrees Celsius of global warming instead of 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Meanwhile, with the mantra “it’s time to come with a plan”, Guterres has also made four demands of world leaders and chief executive officers who are to attend the summit, which begins on September 23: no new funding for construction of coal facilities from 2020; stop spending US$4.7 trillion on fossil subsidies annually; commit to net zero emissions by 2050; and polluters must pay. All of this, in furtherance of the 1.5 goal, which is also reflected in the Paris Agreement.

Gordon herself noted the need for the push for a world warmed to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius, which is especially important for small-island developing states (SIDS).

“It is clear from current emissions and investment trends that a great deal of progress must be made in an ever-shrinking span of time. Global carbon emissions increased in 2018 to reach the highest level in human history. For SIDS, climate change is not an abstract concept, but a force already affecting lives, coastal communities, and economies,” she said.

“Stronger storms, rising sea levels, and acidifying oceans are escalating development challenges in SIDS. In the face of increasing climate impacts and slow global action, Jamaica has been using international platforms to advocate for significantly greater financial support and technical assistance which will be needed for developing countries to mitigate, adapt, and build resilience to climate change,” Gordon added.

Jamaica, she said, will continue in those efforts for this summit.