The world stands at the edge of a “moral precipice”, the Prime Minister has told fellow leaders and officials in the Americas as she criticised the international community for doing little about climate change and its impact on small island developing countries (SIDS) like those in the Caribbean.
Addressing the virtual High-Level Dialogue on Climate Action in the Americas, Mottley challenged world leaders on whether they were prepared to take the action necessary to save lives, livelihood and the planet.
She questioned whether the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, would prompt any action.
She also asked world leaders if at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), to be held October 31 to November 12, in Glasgow, “we will not set the world on a 1.5 °C pathway, I ask you when will we do so?”
“The future… Is ours to determine whether we will make that defining difference to our generation. Let us pray that we do so,” she added.
Barbados is co-organising the virtual conference with the governments of Argentina, Barbados, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, and Panama.
The forum for Western Hemisphere governments, the private and financial sectors, development banks, academia, and civil society organizations is discussing their commitment to fight climate change and adjust to its impacts
The dialogue will include panel discussions on topics including enhancing climate ambition on the road to Glasgow, accelerating climate action through regional cooperation, and strengthening adaptation and resilience to the impacts of climate change.
The dialogue is intended to build further momentum for climate action ahead of COP-26.
Mottley told the conference that as leaders of the Caribbean and Latin America, “it is our duty to our people, to our region and to our planet to take the decisions necessary and to follow these decisions with action that will affect positive change in the lives and livelihoods of those people and those nations which are now suffering the worst consequences of climate change”.
“It is our moral responsibility to ensure that even with the impact of this COVID-19 pandemic, we must design a green, resilient and inclusive recovery,” she said, noting that her administration remains committed to ensuring a protected environment, a stable society and a sustainable and resilient economy.
She repeated Barbados’ goal of becoming the first fossil free-fuel island in the world and reducing greenhouse gas emissions across all sectors “to as close to zero as possible”.
She told the conference that this would be achieved through accelerated investments to significantly increase the share renewable energy in the electricity generation mix, as well as transitioning the public and private sector transport system to electric or alternative fuel vehicles.
Government would also be seeking to reduce fossil fuel consumption and improving energy efficiency across all sectors, she declared.
She also touted a specially designed roofs-to-reefs programme as a “model of best practice will be made for small island developing states and developing countries”.
The Prime Minister said Barbados would need to mobilise resources to build further resilience in homes, water supplies, road and sanitation infrastructure as well as the restoration of its coral reef ecosystem.
Mottle told the conference that the region understands its own moral responsibility to deal with the impact of climate change and in the case of Barbados, the measures set the island on the 1.5 °C pathway.
But, she said: “We are disappointed and I say disappointed because we had expectation that so many MDC’s (minimal detectable change) submitted to date are way above that 1.5 mark , despite, despite being aware of the dangers in this direction.
“At COP 26 in Glasgow this November, Barbados will be calling for a scaling up in finance for climate action to go beyond the US$100 billion [$200 billion] per year, so long promised and so not received and we urge that climate capital should be constituted substantially, likes grants and loan terms favourable to the worst-impacted countries.”