Fri | Oct 22, 2021

Samuda wants slice of climate change economy

Published:Tuesday | August 27, 2019 | 12:06 AMChristopher Serju/Gleaner Writer
Matthew Samuda
Matthew Samuda

Senator Matthew Samuda last week told the 5th Sherpa Meeting of the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy in Amsterdam, The Netherlands that the potential impact of climate change on small-island developing states (SIDS) such as Jamaica was the greatest threat of our time but also presented an opportunity to pursue economic development in an inclusive manner and with regard for global environmental best practices.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness is one of 14 world leaders on the panel, which is a group of world leaders brought together by Norway Prime Minister Erna Solberg. The group is seeking to chart the way forward for a number of challenges concerning ocean health.

“As part of the increasingly interconnected global village all members of this panel must intensify efforts to build a climate change economy as part of our resilience efforts to a universal threat,” Samuda told the panel.

He further noted that there are numerous opportunities in ecotourism, environmental protection, research and associated disciplines for both developing and developed states.

During his presentation, Samuda also stated that big industries are looking at the climate change economy and pondering how they may exploit it to make money.

“We, as SIDs, can’t allow the same economic ecosystem that has led us here to continue. We must be drivers of the climate change economy. If you go to a fisherman and tell him to stop catching parrotfish, what is he going to do to feed his family? Consider that if he was employed to help in efforts to save the reefs and bring tourists to view various resilience projects in operation, this may present a win-win situation where that individual is making money by directly helping in the protection of the environment.”

Samuda argued for various member states to fully embrace the fight against environmental degradation caused by climate change, advising that we should not only be educated about the threats but also sensitive to the economic opportunities that the challenge presents.

Empower vulnerable

“To look at climate change as an economic opportunity to empower the vulnerable communities to be most impacted will resonate more than a purely environmental approach. Everybody wants to make money; how can we make money by protecting the environment?”

The panel discussion in Amsterdam also focused on the issues of access to funding, and the imbalance of the impact of climate change on states such as Jamaica, which contribute less than one per cent of the factors that cause the phenomenon but will face the most devastating impacts. The panel also examined some of the evolving science in relation to climate change and the role ‘ocean states’ may play in building sustainable resilience, while encouraging the large polluters to play a fair role in mitigating and realigning their activities with global environmental best practices.