Monday saw the opening of a long awaited United Nations conference on climate change in Paris, where heads of government from all over the world have given themselves a Dec. 12 deadline to sign a new agreement on emissions reductions and other measures to limit global temperature increase.
Caribbean leaders including St. Lucia Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony, Caricom’s lead head of government on climate change, are at the conference advocating action to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to global temperatures before the industrial age.
“For small-island developing states like ours, the science has shown that any long-term global temperature increase above 1.5 degrees Celsius would be catastrophic,” Dr. Anthony said in a message issued Monday.
Scientists say the global temperature has already increased by one degree Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels, and that if greenhouse gas emissions stay at current levels, the temperature will rise by four degrees Celsius by the end of the century.
At the conference opening, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon also urged leaders to come to an agreement that would aggressively reduce the trending rise in temperature.
“The science has made it plainly clear even a two degrees Celsius rise will have serious consequences for food and water security, economic stability and international peace and security,” he said.
The UN secretary general told leaders at the opening ceremony that the conference could be a turning point in the battle against climate change.
“Bold climate action is in the national interest of every single country represented at this conference. The time for brinksmanship is over,” he said, adding, “We need the world to know that we are headed to a low emissions, climate resilient future and there is no going back.”
Credit: The BVI Beacon