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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
Caribbean #1point5toStayAlive Explainer: Leon Charles and Spencer Thomas, on 2018 and the Road to COP24
2018 is another crucial year for global climate change negotiations, as Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) develop a work programme for the implementation of the Paris Agreement, and as efforts are being made to ensure that the 1.5°C target is eventually reached.
In all the negotiation processes leading to and during the next meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP24) in December, the Caribbean needs to remain actively involved and to make its voice heard.
In this video, regional experts Leon Charles and Spencer Thomas present the agenda for the coming weeks and months, and outline the challenges and the opportunities that the Caribbean must consider in order to secure a satisfactory outcome from forthcoming global negotiations.
PRESS RELEASE – “1 point 5 to stay alive”, the Caribbean speaks to the world at global Climate Change Conference
“1.5 is a matter of necessity,” said University of the West Indies’ Professor Michael Taylor, speaking at an event convened by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) as part of the Conference on Climate Change, COP23, taking place in Germany until the end of this week.
Prof. Taylor was at the time delivering the main results of a study funded by the CDB, a study that has brought together 45 Caribbean scientists from 11 regional institutions to examine and compare the implications of climate change for the region.
The facts speak for themselves. On average, the temperature on this planet has already increased by 1 degree Celsius over what it was before the world began to industrialise, and the impacts of that increase are there for all to see.
In the Caribbean, global warming has already resulted in more intense hurricanes with stronger winds and much more rain, but it is also responsible: for increases in both air and ocean temperature; for more very hot days and nights; for longer and more frequent periods of drought; for an increase in very heavy rainfall events; and for sea-level rise and coastal erosion.
Climate change is real, and things can only get worse, but the question is: how much worse? This is the question that was at the centre of the climate change negotiations in Paris two years ago, and this is why the Caribbean considered it a success that the Paris Agreement made a commitment to an increase of “not more than 2 degrees”, trying to achieve the target of 1.5 degrees.
“This 1.5 Caribbean project,” said Prof. Taylor, “is the region doing its own science, putting Caribbean science in the literature of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).”
And the messages from that research are clear. With ‘business as usual’, temperatures will increase by at least 2.5 degrees by the end of the century, reaching 1.5 degrees in the late 2020s, and 2 degrees in the 2050s.
“At 2 degrees, we would have a significantly harsher climate. We would be moving into the realm of the unprecedented. It’s a matter of compromise,” said Prof. Taylor, “even a 1.5 degree temperature increase will be very problematic.”
The message that the Caribbean is giving at the UN Conference is therefore one of urgency, a message that was echoed by Saint Lucian Prime Minister Allen Chastanet, who spoke at the session and who is attending the Conference in his capacity as CARICOM Lead on Sustainable Development and Climate Change.
“The Caribbean and other small island developing states (SIDS) have been patiently waiting for the world to get its act together,” said PM Chastanet, “but we now need action; we don’t have the ability to wait any longer, we need investment to build our resilience. Financing is a major constraint, and we now need a dedicated source of funds to support resilience building, specifically for the SIDS”.
The need for accessible and appropriate financing was also stressed by Dr. Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister of Grenada and current Chairman of CARICOM, who declared that “we need funding for adaptation but, with the projected impact of a 1.5 increase, adaptation is not enough, thus our call for a more comprehensive regime on Loss and Damage.”
“Since the Climate Change Conference of 2009 in Copenhagen, when the message of 1 point 5 to stay alive was first sent out, the Caribbean has been advocating that a target of 1.5 degrees is both necessary and feasible,” said Dr Kenrick Leslie, the Executive Director of the CCCCC.
At the Bonn Conference this year, thanks to the work of Prof. Taylor and other Caribbean scientists, and to the tireless work of Caribbean delegates in these critical negotiations, this message is coming across even louder and stronger, backed by the highly credible scientific work of the region’s scientific community.
President Daniel Ortega had announced his plans to sign the Paris Agreement last month, during a meeting with a delegation of Senior Executives from the World Bank.
Nicaragua’s Nationally Determined Contributions haven’t been submitted yet, but the country is already considered a renewable energy paradise, as it currently produces more than 50 percent of its power needs from clean energy and aims to increase this to 90 percent by 2020.
Rosario Murillo, Nicaragua’s Vice President and First Lady commented that the Paris Agreement “is the only instrument we have in the world that allows the unity of intentions and efforts to face up to climate change and natural disasters”.
Nicaragua constitutes a developing country, which is however threated disproportionally from the impacts of climate change like extreme weather events and it is particularly vulnerable to hurricanes.
In 2015, it refused to sign the Paris accord as it claimed the Agreement was too weak and it did not protect developing countries from climate change.
However, President Daniel Ortega decided that Nicaragua’s decision to join the Agreement will be done in support of these nations.
He had said: “We have to be in solidarity with this large number of countries that are the first victims, who are already the victims and are the ones who will continue to suffer the impact of these disasters and that are countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, of the Caribbean, which are in highly vulnerable areas”.
To date, 169 countries have ratified the agreement and 165 countries have submitted their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs).
On Monday, UNFCCC published its “Climate Action Now: Summary for Policymakers 2017” based on recommendations from the Technical Expert Meetings on climate change mitigation and adaptation held in May 2017 in Bonn, and as part of the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action that is working to support INDCs and National Climate Action Plans.
The report shed light on the importance of coordination and coherence of all three global agendas related to climate change, i.e. the Paris Agreement, the UN SDGs, and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030.
For example, climate change mitigation action can bring co-benefits for adaptation and sustainable development; renewables can increase access to electricity as well as reduce emissions and more efficient and sustainable agriculture and forestry can contribute to adaptation too.
In addition, it stressed the importance of data and information availability, as a lot of data about the impacts of climate change and the associated risks are not available for many countries.
The report also mentions the complexity of measuring and verifying emissions from agriculture, forestry and other land use, stressing that this needs to be addressed soon.
You can read the full “Climate Action Now: Summary for Policymakers 2017” report here.
Credit: Climate Action Programme
A new study has predicted that if current trends continue and the world fails to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, nearly all of the world’s coral reefs, including many in the Caribbean, will suffer severe bleaching — the gravest threat to one of the Earth’s most important ecosystems — on annual basis.
The finding is part of a study funded by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and partners, which reviewed new climate change projections to predict which corals will be affected first and at what rate.
The report is published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports. Researchers found that the reefs in Taiwan and the Turks and Caicos archipelago will be among the first to experience annual bleaching, followed by reefs off the coast of Bahrain, in Chile and in French Polynesia.
Calling the predictions “a treasure trove” for environmentalists, the head of the UN agency, Erik Solheim, said the projects allow conservationists and governments to prioritise reef protection.
“The projections show us where we still have time to act before it’s too late,” Solheim said.
On average, the reefs started undergoing annual bleaching from 2014, according to the study.
Without the required minimum of five years to regenerate, the annual occurrences will have a deadly effect on the corals and disrupt the ecosystems which they support, UNEP said.
However, it said that if governments act on emission reduction pledges made in the Paris Agreement, which calls on countries to combat climate change and limit global temperature rise to below two degrees Celsius, the corals would have another 11 years to adapt to the warming seas.
Between 2014 and 2016, UNEP said the world witnessed the longest global bleaching event recorded.
Among the casualties, it said, was the Great Barrier Reef, with 90 per cent of it bleached and 20 per cent of the reef’s coral killed.
The 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 22) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is scheduled to take place from 7-18 November 2016 in Marrakesh, Morocco. COP22 will build on last year’s Conference of Parties in Paris (COP21) and begin preparations for entry into force of the Paris Agreement, focusing on action to achieve the commitments of the landmark Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
This three minute video explains all you need to know about the 2015 Paris Agreement and how it will help to address climate change and promote the sustainable development goals (SDGs). The Paris Agreement enters into force today, 4 November 2016, creating binding commitments. The video highlights the need for further ambition by governments and businesses.
Peruse articles related to the Paris Agreement and what it means for the Caribbean below:
Paris Agreement- Status of Ratification Why is COP 21 Important for the Caribbean? 11 points our negotiators are championing Credit: Track0 Vimeo Video; UNFCCC Secretariat For more inforemation, please contact UNFCCC Secretariat Phone: +49-228 815-1000;Fax: +49-228-815-1999; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The European Parliament has approved the ratification of the Paris Agreement by the European Union today.
With today’s European Parliament approval of the Paris Agreement ratification – in the presence of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, the United Nation’s Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the President of COP 21 Ségolène Royal – the last hurdle is cleared. The political process for the European Union to ratify the Agreement is concluded.
* President Jean-Claude Juncker in his State of the Union Speech on 14 September called for a swift ratification of the agreement.
He said: “Slow delivery on promises made is a phenomenon that more and more risks undermining the Union’s credibility. Take the Paris agreement. We Europeans are the world leaders on climate action. It was Europe that brokered the first-ever legally binding, global climate deal. It was Europe that built the coalition of ambition that made agreement in Paris possible. I call on all Member States and on this Parliament to do your part in the next weeks, not months. We should be faster.” Today this is happening.
President Jean-Claude Juncker said: “Today the European Union turned climate ambition into climate action. The Paris Agreement is the first of its kind and it would not have been possible were it not for the European Union. Today we continued to show leadership and prove that, together, the European Union can deliver.”
The Vice-President for Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič said: “The European parliament has heard the voice of its people. The European Union is already implementing its own commitments to the Paris Agreement but today’s swift ratification triggers its implementation in the rest of the world.”
Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete said: “Our collective task is to turn our commitments into action on the ground. And here Europe is ahead of the curve. We have the policies and tools to meet our targets, steer the global clean energy transition and modernise our economy. The world is moving and Europe is in a driver’s seat, confident and proud of leading the work to tackle climate change”.
So far, 62 parties, accounting for almost 52 % of global emissions have ratified the Paris Agreement. The Agreement will enter into force 30 days after at least 55 parties, representing at least 55% of global emissions have ratified. The EU ratification and deposit will cross the 55% emission threshold and therefore trigger the entry into force of the Paris Agreement.
The EU, which played a decisive role in building the coalition of ambition making the adoption of the Paris Agreement possible last December, is a global leader on climate action. The European Commission has already brought forward the legislative proposals to deliver on the EU’s commitment to reduce emissions in the European Union by at least 40% by 2030.
With today’s approval by the European Parliament, the Council can formally adopt the Decision. In parallel the EU Member States will ratify the Paris Agreement individually, in accordance with their national parliamentary processes.
Conclusions of the Extraordinary Environmental Council from 30 September 2016:
Statement by the Commission following the Ministers approval of the ratification:
Commission’s proposal for the EU ratification of the Paris Agreement from June 2016:
Commission’s assessment of the implications of the Paris Agreement for the EU from March 2016:
Speech by President Juncker at the Leaders Event of the COP21 in Paris:
Commission’s reaction following the historic climate deal in Paris on 12 December 2015:
Underscoring the importance of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change, the president of Guyana highlighted that his country will continue to pursue a ‘green’ economy and will be a reliable and cooperative partner in international efforts to protect the earth’s environment.
“[Guyana] realizes that the establishment of a ‘green state’ is consistent with building climate resilience while mitigating the effects of climate change,” President David Granger said in his address on Tuesday morning.
“Guyana promises to work towards the  Agenda’s goals (SDGs), particularly, by contributing to limiting increases in global temperatures; and to work towards a ‘green path’ of development that is in accord with the [Paris] Agreement’s nationally-determined commitments,” he added.
Making specific reference to the importance of Goal 13 that calls for urgent action to combat climate change and its impact as well as the Paris Agreement’s obligation to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degree Celsius, the president informed the General Assembly that Guyana is developing a comprehensive emissions reduction programme as part of its responsibility to contribute to global solutions to the threat of climate change.
“However,” he stated, “all our efforts – nationally, regionally and globally – the advancement of development in an environment of peace and stability are being challenged by the territorial ambitions of our neighbour, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela,” referring to an “external assault on Guyana’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
The president also hailed the efforts of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for his leadership of the organization and, especially, for his commitment to sustainable development that was illustrated in the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, as well as the Paris Agreement.
In conclusion, he stressed the importance of a collective commitment by the international community to collaborate with small states, including Guyana, to pursue a low-carbon, low-emission path to sustainable development and to constraining the rise in global temperature.
Credit: Caribbean News Now!
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the United Nations’ authority on the state of the planet’s atmosphere and climate, has become the first UN specialized agency to formalize its relationship with the Green Climate Fund (GCF). By signing its accreditation master agreement with GCF, the WMO can now receive financial resources for climate action programmes and projects.
This development represents an important milestone for both GCF and the UN system, signaling the role of the Fund in supporting other international organizations advance low-emission and carbon-resilient programmes and projects through GCF in developing countries.
The WMO joins the rank of other Accredited Entities that have concluded their accreditation master agreements with GCF: Agency for Agricultural Development (ADA) of Morocco; Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC); Centre de Suivi Écologique (CSE) of Senegal; and Environmental Investment Fund (EIF) of Namibia.
“The Green Climate Fund is pleased to have the World Meteorological Organization as the first UN organization to formalize its relationship with the Fund,” said Héla Cheikhrouhou, Executive Director of GCF. “As the lead coordinating body for global climate research, the WMO brings a high level of expertise and a unique perspective to strengthen the support GCF will provide to countries in implementing the Paris Agreement,” she said.
An accreditation master agreement is the central instrument in the relationship between GCF and an Accredited Entity. It sets out the basic terms and conditions as to how the accredited entity and GCF can work together for the use of GCF resources.
In addition to WMO, several other UN system organizations are in the process of finalizing their respective accreditation master agreement with the Fund.
The Geneva-based WMO is a specialized agency of the UN with 191 Member States, providing an intergovernmental framework for global cooperation on climate issues. It is also host to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the international body for the assessment of the science related to climate change that was set up in 1988 by WMO and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
Credit: Green Climate Fund