News from COP 24 – Carlos Fuller, International and Regional Liaison Officer of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre and Climate Change Negotiator
Carlos Fuller, International and Regional Liaison Officer of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre and Climate Change Negotiator on the 24th Conference of the Parties (COP 24):
Climate Change Talks Reach Crucial Stage
Negotiations on climate change at COP 24 in Katowice, Poland have now reached a crucial stage. Technical negotiations on elements of the Paris Agreement Work Programme (PAWP) ended at 5 pm yesterday. At a plenary meeting later that evening, the COP President announced that there were many outstanding issues remaining. He said that negotiations could now longer continue in the present mode. He has appointed pairs of ministers representing developed and developing countries to undertake consultations on 5 clusters: Transparency, Mitigation and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), the Global Stocktake (GST), Adaptation, and Cooperative Approaches. Two ministers from Small Island Developing States (SIDS) were among those selected. Singapore will join Norway in facilitating discussions on Mitigation and NDCs, while the Marshall Islands and Luxemburg will undertake the GST. Germany and Egypt will continue their consultations on Finance while Poland as the COP President is undertaking consultations on the contents of elements to be included in COP decisions.
AOSIS representing the interests of SIDS is advocating strongly for inclusion of the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming at 1.5°C and the outcomes of the Talanoa Dialogue.
Belize at High-level Segment of the Talanoa Dialogue
Carlos Fuller, International and Regional Liaison Officer at the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre represented Belize at the high-level segment of the Talanoa Dialogue. In his opening statement he noted Belize’s vulnerability to climate change and the reason the country supported the call to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial level. Quoting from the World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO) 2018 State of the Climate Report that 2018 was turning out to be the fourth warmest year on record, he maintained that concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere had now reached 405 parts per million (ppm). The last time that concentrations were that high was 3 to 5 million years ago when sea levels were 15 feet higher than present levels. That means that Belize City and other coastal communities and all the cayes would have been under water.
He went on to note that the recently approved Report on Global Warming of 1.5 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) asserted that the global temperature was now one degree higher than the pre-industrial level and the countries like Belize were already experiencing the adverse impacts of climate change. At 1.5 degrees, conditions would get worse but were manageable, however, at 2 degrees, ecosystems like coral reefs would be unable to survive. The Caribbean would become so acidic from the carbon dioxide it was absorbing from the atmosphere that shell fish like conch, lobster and shrimp, would find it difficult to grow their shells.
He pointed out that the report said that it was still possible to achieve the 1.5-degree target. However, action was required immediately and that emissions of greenhouse gases would have to be reduced by 50% by 2030, and by 2050 the world would have to become carbon neutral. This would require a massive transformation of all sectors of the economy including energy, agriculture, industry and forestry. It would require a massive injection of capital, transformation of the work force and international cooperation. Such a paradigm shift would stimulate the global economy to unprecedented levels of growth that would include all levels of society, raise standards of living and contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Mr Fuller was joined in the Dialogue by the Ministers of Latvia and South Africa and representatives of the Roman Catholic Church and the Youth Organization. The Talanoa Dialogue was mandated by the COP decision which adopted the Paris Agreement in 2015 to inform the revision of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) by 2020. The present NDCs will limit global warming to 3 degrees Celsius while the Paris Agreement’s objective is to limit it to far below 2 degrees and possibly 1.5 degrees.
Talanoa Dialogue Concludes
The COP 23 and COP 24 Presidencies chaired the meeting which closed the Talanoa Dialogue at COP 24 in Katowice, Poland. The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Manuel Guteres in his opening statement noted that the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C concluded that the 1.5-degree target was still achievable. He called upon Parties to communicate more ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) leading up to and at the Summit he would convene in September 2019. Ministers from Poland and Fiji reported on the Ministerial Talanoa roundtables convened yesterday. Switzerland announced that it would reduce its emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) by 50% by 2030 in accordance with the findings of the IPCC Special Report on 1.5 and that it was now developing its long-term emission reduction target for 2050. He highlighted the call in the joint submission by the Environmental Integrity Group (EIG), the Independent Association of Latin American and Caribbean Countries (AILAC) and CARICOM for Parties to enhance their NDCs by 2020.
Minister Steele of Grenada highlighted the need for Parties to undertake rapid action to increase their mitigation ambition in accordance with the finding of the IPCC Special Report. This would require enhanced financial, technical and capacity building support to enable this ambition both for the mitigation target but also for the adaptation actions that would be required in a 1.5-degree world. Towards this end he called for a strong COP decision that incorporated these elements including the call for more ambitious NDCs. He looked forward to the UN Secretary-General’s Summit as an important political moment to raise ambition.
The European Union (EU) also called for a COP decision as an outcome of the Talanoa Dialogue process and that the UN Secretary General’s Summit would be the next opportunity for Parties to announce their enhanced NDCs. The Maldives on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) called for the Talanoa process to continue. At the conclusion of the meeting the Polish Presidency noted the benefits of the 1.5-degree target. He invited Timothy and Hanna, two youth representatives from Fiji and Poland to join the head table where they delivered a joint declaration. In his closing statement the Prime Minister of Fiji issued the Talanoa Call for Action. He welcomed the IPCC Special Report and thanked the scientists who contributed to it. He said that Fiji would join the Marshall Islands in submitting a more ambitious NDC and called for others to come to the SG’s Summit with similar concrete plans. He asked for the Talanoa process to continue to the Summit and beyond.
View Carlos Fuller’s input on the Dialogue at time period 1:20:00 by clicking on the link: DREKETITalanoa Dialogue (MR – 12)
Dr Percival Cho, Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries, the Environment and Sustainable Development of Belize delivered the opening statement at a side event at the 24th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) being held in Katowice, Poland. This programme is funded by the Government of Italy and provides resources to train a young carrier professional for a year on climate change diplomacy. One fellow is selected each year from each of the three Small Island Developing States (SIDS) regions representing the Caribbean, the Pacific and the African/Asian regions. The fellow is provided an office in his/her UN delegation office in New York and provided credentials to attend relevant UN sessions including the negotiating sessions of the climate change convention. The fellows are also provided with classroom and online training sessions.
H.E. Ambassador Lois Young, Permanent Representative of the Belize to the United Nations moderated the session. Other speakers included representatives of the UNFCCC Secretariat and the Government of Italy along with the Government of the Maldives, the outgoing chair of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS). Belize will assume the chairmanship of AOSIS in 2019. AOSIS is one of the negotiating groups of the climate change convention, representing 43 small island and low-lying developing States recognized as the most vulnerable group of countries to the adverse impacts of climate change. The event ended with testimonials by a former and a current AOSIS fellow.
The following statement by Belize was delivered at a Ministerial Meeting of AOSIS during a short ceremony on the occasion of the 24th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to mark Belize’s acceptance of the chairmanship of AOSIS from the Maldives in January 2019. Belize will hold the chairmanship for two years to be followed by Antigua and Barbuda in 2021.
“Good evening distinguishing delegates, colleagues. I am delivering this statement on behalf of the Vice Minister of Belize who had to leave early because of another pressing engagement.
On this occasion I wish to extend sincere thanks to the Maldives for steering our group over the course of their Chairmanship, for their leadership and support. I extend congratulations from my Ministry and from the Government of Belize.
Colleagues of AOSIS, Belize accepts the first half of the incoming Chairmanship of AOSIS with a profound recognition of the challenges ahead. Acknowledging and building on the work put in by the Maldives over the past four years and that of the Republic of Nauru before that, and supported by all member nations, and relying on the sound expertise and innovative ideas of our collective body of experts. Belize intends to advance the work of AOSIS over the next two years, with a renewed focus on structure and support for member parties. Advancing the work to achieve the sustainable development goals will be a major focus over the next two years. Also of paramount importance is the unity of AOSIS which must be preserved.
Ahead of us lies a great challenge, predicated by the distraction of parties backing out of the Paris Agreement and others unwilling to accept the latest science of a world at 1.5 degrees. The best science of the latest IPCC report is sound and yes it is alarming, but all parties must respect and accept it, and seek common ground to come to terms with the implications of it.
As those among the most vulnerable and those already suffering the impacts, Belize and the Caribbean region stands ready to push ahead the work of AOSIS. We look forward to your continued support.
Belmopan, Belize; November 30, 2018 – The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) through the USAID-funded Climate Change Adaptation Program (USAID CCAP) is about to launch its most recent initiative to significantly boost the Caribbean’s ability to limit the ravages of climate change by improving its capability to monitor and plan for physical changes to the land and marine environments.
On Monday, December 3, the Centre will launch a US$2million Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) System, acquired through the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) three-year CCAP Project.
The acquisition of an Airborne LiDAR system by the Centre – also known as the 5Cs – is possibly the most significant achievement for data capture in the Caribbean. For decades, countries of the region have clamoured for LiDAR produced data the high cost all but prohibited its application; and the use of LiDAR was made more difficult since such services had to be sourced from outside the region, adding to costs. At the same time, the requirement for more accurate data to provide evidence of climate change impacts has grown and is rapidly becoming the standard for climate financing.
The purchase of the LiDAR system was made possible through funds provided by the Barbados-based USAID Eastern and Southern Caribbean Office through the 5Cs executed Climate Change Adaptation Program (USAID CCAP). The use of an airborne LiDAR is the result of a collaboration with Maya Island Air (MIA), a locally-owned Belizean airline company. These critical developments also influenced the Caribbean Development Bank and the Government of Italy to provide financial support for the LiDAR system, which is soon to become operational in a region-wide exercise to map some 10,000 square miles of vulnerable coastal areas in the region.
Dr Kenrick Leslie, the Executive Director of the Centre welcomed the launch of the Centre’s latest tool in building climate resilience. The system enhances the Centre’s capacity to provide the region with critical data essential for building climate resilient communities. He noted that with the LiDAR system, “Caribbean leaders will now have access to the data set necessary for the development of tools for use in vulnerability and capacity assessments and early warning systems, and tangible adaptation and disaster risk reduction initiatives. The documentation of the state of the current coastal bathymetric and topographic environment will allow for the development and implementation of appropriate sustainability policies.”
The technology is capable of simultaneously gathering topographic and bathymetric (depth of the seafloor) data, which are to be used to provide detailed information of the region’s coastal areas, reefs and seafloor to produce flood and inundation maps and other products.
Christopher Cushing, Mission Director of the USAID Eastern and Southern Caribbean is expected to formally hand over the equipment to the 5Cs at the launch. This is the Agency’s latest contribution to the regional data enhancement capability under the USAID CCAP. In addition to the LiDAR, five data buoys have been added to the regional Coral Reef Early Warning System (CREWS) network, and 50 Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) have been added to the regional climate and weather monitoring and data collection efforts in the Eastern and Southern Caribbean.
The project has also provided a computer server that will enhance the input, processing and sharing of the vast amount of data generated from the equipment acquired under the project. The information will ensure that the CCCCC, its partners and regional Universities are able to provide accurate and country-specific climate and climate change data to help countries improve their countries abilities to protect their citizens from the effects of climate change.
Dr Leslie has expressed gratitude to USAID, the Caribbean Development Bank, the Government of Italy and his own staff for the commitment to the Centre and the region. The Executive Director also commended Maya Island Air for collaborating with the Centre to outfit a plane with the LiDAR.
With a brand new Cessna aircraft fully customised to fly LiDAR missions, the partnership between the 5Cs and Maya Island Air also represents a new era of public-private partnerships and corporate social responsibility for the benefit of resilience building to the impacts of climate change in the Caribbean.
“Their support will help us to provide a system that was otherwise prohibitive. It is the tangible demonstration of the Airline’s corporate contribution to the Region’s Climate Change initiative”, said Dr. Leslie.
The USAID CCAP Project is helping to build the capacities of regional, national, and local partners to generate and use climate data for decision-making in government and other sectors. The project is also working to strengthen the ability of beneficiary countries to develop successful proposals to access international climate financing.
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The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre coordinates the region’s response to climate change. Officially opened in August 2005, the Centre is the key node for information on climate change issues and the region’s response to managing and adapting to climate change. We maintain the Caribbean’s most extensive repository of information and data on climate change specific to the region, which in part enables us to provide climate change-related policy advice and guidelines to CARICOM member states through the CARICOM Secretariat. In this role, the Centre is recognized by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the United Nations Environment Programme, and other international agencies as the focal point for climate change issues in the Caribbean. The Centre is also a United Nations Institute for Training and Research recognised Centre of Excellence, one of an elite few. Learn more about how we’re working to make the Caribbean more climate resilient by perusing The Implementation Plan.
Project Manager Mr Joseph McGann noted that the project aims to build the recipient communities’ resilience to climate change and climate variability, which has led to increased intensity of extreme meteorological events in the form of hurricanes, floods, and droughts. These events have had profound negative impacts on national economies of Small Islands and Coastal Developing States (SIDS), threatening the survival of the most vulnerable populations and communities in these States, including Belize. With the implementation of the project, the Government of Belize, aims to:
- Quantify the benefits to be derived from the reduction of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emission, through the use of more efficient lighting systems; and
- Reduce the vulnerability of rural communities to the impacts of extreme weather and other disaster generating events.
“We are extremely grateful for this collaboration with the Government and People of Italy. Belize, like so many Small Island Developing States, is disproportionately affected by the devastating impacts of climate change. Today, with this collaborative project with the Italians and the 5Cs, our community moves one step closer to adapt to what can be these devastating consequences of climate change.” said Dr. Hon. Omar Figueroa, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, Environment and Sustainable Development, for the Government of Belize.
Minister Plenipotentiary Roberto Natali, Special Envoy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Italy told the gathering: “The great job of the Centre, directed by Dr. Leslie and his staff, the Government of Belize and the Government of Italy, made this miracle because this was something which was important for this region. And all (of us) together with collaboration and sincere decision, we have made this project and other things are already operative. I am proud that my country can contribute to this.”
Replacement of streetlights is expected to reduce energy consumption within the project area from 150W to 60W, per lamp, a 60% reduction in energy use; reduce emissions by 184 metric tons of CO2 per year; and result in some US$40,000 savings, which can be used for the benefit of the communities.
The Community Multi-purpose Emergency Centre (CMEC) will provide the residents of five rural communities and the town of San Ignacio with a central self-contained Centre that can be used both as a shelter in the event of a weather-related and other emergencies, and for other community social and sporting purposes and events. The five rural communities to be served by the Centre are Trenchtown, Kontiki, Boiton Area, Mosquitoville and Shawville.
The completed Community Centre will be equipped with an independently powered hybrid grid-connected PV renewable energy system, a rainwater storage system; an emergency communication system to ensure its continued operation during a major weather or other disaster event. Construction of the CMEC commenced November 22, 2018 and is expected to be completed by May 31, 2019 at an estimated cost of BZ$1.6 million. Funding is being provided by the Government of Italy and the Government of Belize.
The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre coordinates the region’s response to climate change. Officially opened in August 2005, the Centre is the key node for information on climate change issues and the region’s response to managing and adapting to climate change. We maintain the Caribbean’s most extensive repository of information and data on climate change specific to the region, which in part enables us to provide climate change-related policy advice and guidelines to CARICOM member states through the CARICOM Secretariat. In this role, the Centre is recognised by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the United Nations Environment Programme, and other international agencies as the focal point for climate change issues in the Caribbean. The Centre is also a United Nations Institute for Training and Research recognised Centre of Excellence, one of an elite few. Learn more about how we’re working to make the Caribbean more climate resilient by perusing The Implementation Plan.
The twenty-fourth Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate, known as COP24, will take place in Poland from December second to the fourteenth. The key objective of this year’s conference is to adopt the implementation guidelines of the Paris Agreement. It brings together world leaders and champions of the environment in a number of high-level events. Belize is part of the block of countries identified as Small Island Developing States. Last week, CARICOM member states of the grouping met in Barbados to prepare for the conference. The Caribbean Community Climate Change Center’s Carlos Fuller shares the region’s expectation of the event:
Carlos Fuller, International & Regional Liaison Officer, CCCCC
“For us, COP24 is an important one because it is the most significant COP after the Paris Agreement, which will actually provide the rules of the Paris Agreement. So, when you read through the Paris Agreement, for example, it says many things. It establishes a transparency framework – well what is it? We have to say what that is. It establishes a compliance committee, so what will the compliance committee do? These are the things that will set the stage for the implementation of Paris Agreement. These are the technical parts. However, there are two aspects of the Paris Agreement that will happen at the COP that are very important for the Small Island Developing States. The first of all is this IPCC Special Report on one point five degrees global warming. We know, for example, that report was actually commissioned by COP21 which adopted the Paris Agreement. It requested the IPCC to prepare this report at the request of Small Island Developing States, because we were concerned that within the Paris Agreement while it gives the goal of two point zero, it also says let us strive for one point five. So, this report feeds into aspects of it and there are parts of that report that are very alarming for small island developing states.”
“With the IPCC Report, does it change the way you are going to go into COP24?”
“Most definitely. It shows us the sense of urgency that it is much greater now. It also shows us that the kind of financing that we are asking for, it has changed the landscape totally. What was being provided will not be enough for countries to reduce their emissions to greenhouse gases, much less to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change which we in Belize are already experiencing.”
CREDIT: Channel 5 Belize
And so if you’re wondering what exactly the IPCC Report means for the small island developing states; the news is grim. For coral reefs and other vulnerable ecosystems it may mean a massive die out if we can’t keep global temperatures down to one point five degrees Celsius. Fuller said that the report has a big impact on the SIDS’ approach to COP24. But not all is doom and gloom, as there is roughly about twelve years for countries to cut emissions and bring down the global temperatures.
Carlos Fuller, International & Regional Liaison Officer, CCCCC
“First of all, it tells us that already the earth has warmed by one point one degrees Celsius, so we only have point four degrees Celsius more to go before we reach the one point five degrees Celsius above pre-industrial averages. We are already feeling the effects of that one degree rise already. At one point five it is going to be worse, but at two degrees it is going to be alarming. Ecosystems that could potentially adapt at one point five will not be able to survive at two degrees Celsius. For us, at one point five, we will lose seventy-five to ninety percent of our coral reefs. At two degrees, it is totally dead. That, obviously, we cannot accept. The good part of the report says it is still achievable to reach the one point five degrees Celsius target. Current greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere are not enough to lead us to one point five yet. So, if we do something now it can be achieved but we only have ten years to do it because after 2030 unless we address it, we have lost the one point five target. So, it can be done and we know that it will require a huge investment in transforming our economies from fossil fuel based to renewable energy where Belize is doing a great role. But it has to be all sectors, electricity, transport, agriculture, forestry – so all sectors must contribute to that. So, we want that to come out at the COP and we know that we might face some setbacks there.”
CREDIT: Channel 5 Belize
On the eve of the next global climate change conference to be held in Poland in December, and following the release of a special report by the International Panel on Climate Change that highlights the urgent need for action by governments, industries and individuals to contain global warming, Panos Caribbean is launching a new regional campaign to support the Caribbean and other vulnerable countries in the fight against climate change.
The face of the campaign is a new, powerful painting by Saint Lucian – American artist Jonathan Gladding. It pictures a young girl with her body almost entirely submerged by sea-level rise, and with her fingers sending the desperate message that she needs #1point5tostayalive.
Saint Lucian poet and playwright Kendel Hippolyte, who played a lead role in the campaign to secure the historic Paris Agreement in 2015, has called on Caribbean artists to add their voice to the call for decisive global action against climate change.
Click on the image above to obtain and download large-resolution.
“We cannot look at our children and grandchildren and say we did nothing or we did not know what to do. Whatever artistic gift we have – and whatever rewards it brings or we hope it will bring – will not mean a thing if all we hand over to our descendants is a planet that is their funeral pyre even while they are alive,” says Hippolyte.
Hippolyte has also revealed that he is working on a new theme song, entitled “1.5 Is Still Alive”, in collaboration with musician and humanitarian Taj Weekes. As was done in 2015 with the theme song of the campaign leading to the Paris conference, this project will bring together a number of well-known Caribbean singers.
“In a campaign such as this,” says Panos Caribbean’s coordinator Yves Renard, “artists play a pivotal role, because their voices are known and credible, and because they are able to convey messages in ways that resonate with the culture, feelings and concerns of people and communities. We encourage all organisations,” Renard said, “to reproduce Jonathan Gladding’s beautiful painting and use it to convey the urgency of action.”
The Paris Agreement signed at the historic climate conference in 2015 called on all countries “to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase … to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial average”. Climate change experts now confirm that global warming is on track to break the 1.5°C mark by around 2040.
PICTURED, LEFT: SAINT LUCIAN – AMERICAN ARTIST JONATHAN GLADDING
Experts agree that an increase of average global temperature above 1.5°C will have disastrous impacts on the Caribbean and other vulnerable regions of the world, but they also believe that it is possible to contain global warming, that we have the technology to reduce our impact on the climate. “It is still possible to contain the rise of global temperature, but that will not happen unless governments and businesses in the largest emitting countries are prepared to take radical measures and unless everybody, from the schoolchild to the government official, from the technician to the parent, from the wise elder to the young dreamer, contributes their pebble or their stone towards building a bulwark against climate change.”
This regional awareness campaign is supported by the Caribbean Development Bank and the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, in collaboration with the CARICOM Secretariat, the OECS Commission and other regional entities.
CREDIT: PANOS Caribbean
Request for Proposals: Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) and Preparation of an Environmental and Social Management Plan (ESMP)
The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) has received funds from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) for the purpose of implementing the project “Arundo Donax Renewable Bio-Mass Fuel for Belize” and intends to apply a part of the proceeds towards payments for the Contract “Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) and Preparation of an Environmental and Social Management Plan (ESMP) – Contract# 09/2018 /GCF /Belize/CCCCC”.
Peruse the following official documents:
- RFP – Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) and Develop an Environmental and Social Management Plan (ESMP)
- ToR – Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) and Develop an Environmental and Social Management Plan
The Government of Belize with the assistance of the World Bank is implementing the project entitled “Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) Readiness Project in Belize” with Grant funding from the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility “FCPF” and has appointed the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment, Sustainable Development and Immigration (MAFFESDI) for the overall implementation of the Project with the fiduciary support provided by the Protected Areas Conservation Trust (PACT). The Government of Belize intends to apply part of the proceeds of the grant to payments under the contract for this Consultancy.
REDD+ and PACT now invites eligible Consulting Firms to indicate their interest in providing the services for available consultancies (Development of a Forest Reference Emission Level or Forest Reference Level of Belize and Project Officer for the REDD+ Readiness Project in Belize).
Peruse the official advertisements:
- Consultancy for the Development of a Forest Reference Emission Level or Forest Reference Level of Belize under the REDD+ Readiness Project in Belize
Deadline for submission is 4:00 p.m. (local Belize time) on Tuesday 27th November 2018.
Deadline for submission is 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday 4th December 2018.
For further information and clarification, please send email to email@example.com.