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Regional climate change meeting held in Saint Lucia

Climate-change-how-does-it-work

PRESS RELEASE – The Ministry of Sustainable Development, Energy, Science and Technology in collaboration with the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) and the High Level Support Mechanism (HLSM) hosted a regional meeting for climate change negotiators and ministers with responsibility for climate change from Wednesday 16th September, 2015 to Friday 18th September, 2015 in Saint Lucia.

The meeting, which was requested by Prime Minister, Hon. Dr. Kenny D. Anthony, at the last meeting of CARICOM Heads in Barbados, had three objections:

  1. Establish coherence among negotiators on the critical issues in the negotiations toward a new climate change agreement in Paris in December 2015;
  2. Apprise of the areas of convergence and divergence in the ongoing climate change negotiations;
  3. Prepare Ministers for a meeting of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) in New York today, Thursday ,24th September, 2015. The meetings is taking place on the eve of the Post 2015 Development Agenda Summit.

Saint Lucia holds lead responsibility for climate change and sustainable development within CARICOM.

Credit: St. Lucia News Online (Edited)

Regional NGO Moves To Advance Caribbean Climate Interests

Indi Mclymont Lafayette

PANOS Caribbean, together with Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), will today launch a two-day climate change workshop geared at helping to advance the interests of Caribbean small-island developing states.The workshop, which is to see the participation of some 12 journalists and eight artistes from the region, is being held in St Lucia, ahead of this year’s international climate talks set for Paris, France in December.

The journalists and artistes, including Jamaica’s Aaron Silk, are complemented by participants from St Lucia’s Ministry of Sustainable Development, Energy, Science, and Technology – another partner in the workshop.

“The workshop is a prep meeting for Paris, pulling together a range of stakeholders, including popular artistes and journalists with the aim to come up with a strategy to bring attention to the small island position of ‘1.5 degrees to stay alive’,” said Indi Mclymont Lafayette, country coordinator and programme director with Panos.

“We really want to ensure that if an agreement is signed in Paris, it is one that won’t mean the death of small islands in the long run,” she added.

The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), including CARICOM, have as far back as the Copenhagen Talks in 2009, called for a long-term goal to “limit global average temperatures to well below 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to long-term stabilisation of greenhouse gas concentrations to well below 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide equivalent”.

At the time, science adviser to AOSIS Dr Al Binger predicted that given sea-level rise, residents of small island states would eventually have to ‘swim for it’.

“We need to improve our boat-building art [and] teach our kids to swim because sooner or later, we are going to have to swim for it,” he said.

Speaking more recently at the French Embassy-hosted climate change debate in Kingston this year, physicist and head of the Climate Studies Group Mona, Dr Michael Taylor, painted a grim picture for a Caribbean in a world where average global temperatures exceed 1.5 degrees.

According to Taylor, the two degrees advanced by developed country partners may prove “too much for us to deal with”, given warmer days and nights and more variable rainfall, among other impacts,now being experienced.

Meanwhile, Mclymont Lafayette said the workshop – having educated artistes about climate change and journalists on reporting on it – would seek to craft a communication plan to bring a broader set of stakeholders up to date as to what is at stake for the region.

Strategy

“We are looking at a strategy over the next few months of some of the things that could be done. [These include] the journalists to report on climate change; the artistes to use their performing platforms and media interviews to bring attention to the issues and the negotiators to work in tandem with them,” she said.

“It would be good if we could have an awareness campaign leading up to Paris and also while in Paris, have a side event that would really capture a lot of the issues and provide a gateway for hearing or having good discussions on the impacts on the islands,”Mclymont Lafayette added.

The workshop – done with co-financing from Climate Analytics, the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States and the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre – forms a part of a larger Panos project for which they continue to fundraise.

That project aims promote civil society involvement in the discourse on climate change in the region, through, among other things, facilitating their participation in the upcoming Paris Talks.

Credit: Jamaica Gleaner

Caribbean formatting climate change strategy for Paris meeting

A plume of steam billows from the coal-fired Merrimack Station in Bow, New Hampshire, USA in January this year. The COP 21 Paris talks scheduled for later this year will be the stage for the countries of the world to agree to reducing carbon emissions from power plants, factories, and other types of industry, in order to keep global temperatures down. US President Barack Obama will today unveil the final version of his unprecedented regulations clamping down on carbon dioxide emissions from existing US power plants. The Obama Administration first proposed the rule last year. Opponents plan to sue immediately to stop the rule’s implementation. (PHOTO: AP)

Government climate negotiators and civil society groups from the Caribbean who met with artistes and journalists here last week have discussed strategies to drum up local awareness and attract international attention as part of the region’s preparation for the climate change meeting in Paris at the end of the year.

The plan is to roll out some of the projects simultaneously across the region ahead of the Paris talks and stage one or two others during the session.

The Paris talks are called COP 21 and will be the stage for the countries of the world to agree to reducing carbon emissions from power plants, factories, and other types of industry, in order to keep global temperatures down.

Island states, according to published scientific data, are projected to suffer the most from increasing temperatures and the related sea level rise. As such, the Caribbean, as part of the Alliance of Small Island States, is seeking to start a movement among its own peoples to shine a light on the specific ways the region will be affected in hopes that it will sway the developed world.

If carbon emissions continue unabated, projections are that global temperatures will rise by as much as four degrees Celsius by the end of the century.

Globally, the discussion is to keep it at two degrees, but the Caribbean wants to limit it to 1.5 degrees and has been using the slogan ‘1.5 to stay alive’.

St Lucia’s minister of sustainable development Senator James Fletcher, who hosted the meeting, explained the rationale for the regional approach.

“The region has not done enough to elevate the issue of climate change… we need to amplify our voices both in the region and on the international stage,” he said.

Fletcher suggested that the Caribbean follow the example of the Pacific Islands, which, he said, was a good example of climate action on a regional scale, by co-ordinating the messages it wants to be communicated in ways that galvanise support and attract mass attention.

The St Lucia meeting was called ‘Climate Voices on and for Climate Change’. In addition to the ministry of sustainable development, its sponsors included Panos Caribbean, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, and the Organization of American States.

Credit: Jamaica Observer
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