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Global warming trends a clarion call to Caribbean leaders

Published:Thursday | November 21, 2013 | 12:00 AM

Petre Williams-Raynor, Contributing Editor

WARSAW, Poland:

WITH A more than two-degree rise in global temperatures, and given current and projected greenhouse gas emissions, Caribbean leaders have been encouraged to pull out the stops to have developed countries take their climate obligations seriously.

"One opportunity would be at the July meeting of CARICOM. [It is a chance] for leaders to really get this issue up the agenda and say, 'listen, this is really a survival issue for us and we, as leaders, are going to take a big role in making sure that this happen'," said Dr Bill Hare, director and scientific principal at Climate Analytics.

Climate Analytics is a Germany-based non-governmental organisation, whose current work includes "the provision of scientific, policy and analytical support to small-island developing states (SIDS) and Least Developing Countries in negotiating a strong international climate regime under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change", its website said.

Hare's comments came Wednesday, on the back of the Group of 77 and China - of which SIDS, including Jamaica, form a part - walking out of negotiations on loss and damage.

Loss and damage is associated with climate impacts in developing countries and sees them asking for, among other things, compensation for extreme weather events - the likes of which was recently felt in the Philippines when Typhoon Haiyan hit. More than 250,000 were reportedly killed and millions of others affected by the event.


The walkout followed Australia's failure to advance the negotiations.

"They [the negotiators] were doing it [negotiating] in earnest [and] in what I think was the spirit of cooperation. But then at the end, the Australian delegation just sort of put brackets (no decision) around everything and then all that negotiation went to waste," said Saleemul Huq, senior fellow with the Climate Change Group at the International Institute for Environment and Development, speaking at a Climate Action Network (CAN) press conference here Wednesday.

To make matters worse, CAN's Ria Voorhaar said: "The intelligence that we have is that they [Australia] refused to engage in substance; they made an intervention that late-night negotiations were bad for health and should be stopped; they wore T-shirts and gorged on snacks during the middle of the negotiations."