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CARICOM Champions Science at COP 24 – Carlos Fuller, International and Regional Liaison Officer of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre and Climate Change Negotiator
The Member States of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) were among a large group of countries at COP 24 insisting that the global response to climate change be driven by science.
During 2018 the CARICOM Member States tried to include the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C as an agenda item at COP 24. However, they were unable to do so. At COP 24 they used two approaches to highlight the importance of the Special Report to the process. In the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technical Advice (SBSTA) under the agenda item on Research and Systematic Observations (RSO), they proposed a paragraph welcoming the Special Report. Led by Ms Cheryl Jeffers of St Kitts and Nevis, speaking on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), the group also tried to insert paragraphs highlighting key messages from the 2018 State of the Climate presented by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the work of a Task Force of Global Climate Observing System (GCOS). Although these were supported by most of the countries present, including the African Group, the Least Developed Countries Group (LDCs), the Independent Association of Latin America and the Caribbean (AILAC) and the European Union (EU), it was opposed by Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Russia and the United States. As a result, when the SBSTA session ended, there were no agreed conclusions on this issue and discussions will resume at the next session in May 2019.
Undeterred, CARICOM continued to press the case the following week and were able to get reference to the IPCC Special Report in the main COP decision. It invited countries to consider the information contained in the report when they addressed relevant issues. In addition, SBSTA will discuss the contents of the report in May. IPCC assessments and reports will also be used to inform the global stocktake to be undertaken in 2023 to assess the implementation of the Paris Agreement and inform subsequent countries nationally determined contributions (NDCs).
In the decision adopting the Paris Agreement in 2015, the IPCC was requested to prepare this special report. Leonard Nurse, UWI (Barbados); Felicia Whyte, Kimberly Stephenson, Tannecia Stephenson and Michael Taylor, UWI (Jamaica); and Adelle Thomas of the University of the Bahamas contributed to the preparation of the report. During 2018 as the report was circulated for comments, the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre with support from Climate Analytics and Charles and Associates organized regional workshops with CARICOM national IPCC and UNFCCC Focal Points to review the report and provide comments on its contents.
The IPCC will produce two additional special reports in 2019, and CARICOM scientists will once again play an important role in their preparation. Adrian Spence, International Centre for Environmental and Nuclear Sciences (Jamaica); Kenel Delusca, Institute of Science, Technology and Advanced Studies of Haiti; and Noureddin Benkeblia and Donovan Campbell, UWI (Jamaica) will be contributing authors to the IPCC Special Report on Climate Change and Land. For the IPCC Special Report on Oceans and Cryosphere on a Changing Climate, Michael Sutherland, UWI (Trinidad and Tobago) has been selected to assist in preparing the report.
Carlos Fuller, International and Regional Liaison Officer represented the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre at a working lunch of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Island (ACP) States and the European Union (EU) today in Katowice, Poland, the venue of COP 24. In his opening statement Commissioner Antonio Arias Canete noted that the European Community was the largest donor to climate finance and would continue to do so referencing their latest pledges to the Green Climate Fund and the Adaptation Fund. They were committed to meeting their obligations under the Paris Agreement and would begin working on their long-term strategy towards carbon neutrality by 2050.
CARICOM Assistant Secretary-General Dr Douglas Slater expressed the Caribbean’s appreciation to the support provided by the EU to the region in the areas of development, disaster relief and climate change. He thanked the EU for its solidarity with the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) in welcoming the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C and for a strong outcome of the Talanoa Dialogue including a COP decision calling on Parties to submit more ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) by 2020. These sentiments were also expressed by Minister Stiell of Grenada who also highlighted the need for the inclusion in the outcome of Loss and Damage and Finance in response to the IPCC Report. The Permanent Representative of Trinidad and Tobago to the United Nations echoed these sentiments and called for increased support to the region for technology transfer and capacity building.
The representative of Poland informed the meeting that the COP Presidency had now taken over the drafting of the language for the outcomes of the COP. Ministerial consultations had ended. A new clean text would be issued later today and would be debated in a Vienna style setting.
In his closing remarks, Commissioner Canete emphasized that climate change would be the cornerstone of the new ACP/EU partnership programme. He noted that the combined membership of ACP and EU States was more than half of the UN seats. Working together the group could produce great results.
The region was represented by Belize, Jamaica, and the Commission of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).
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 Climate released a widely reviewed post called COP 19 – Five things the Caribbean anticipates in the lead up to the 19th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 19) to the UNFCCC and the ninth session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol. Several decisions were taken at the event in Warsaw, Poland that are of particular relevance and importance to the Caribbean.
The region successfully lobbied for the establishment of a Loss and Damage Mechanism. The Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage consists of an Executive Committee, which will develop the modalities to assist developing countries that suffer loss and damage from extreme events and slow onset events precipitated by climate change. While it does not explicitly mention a compensation mechanism as demanded by vulnerable countries, it does not prohibit the Executive Committee from discussing it. The Mechanism has been established under the Cancun Adaptation Framework even though the position of the Caribbean is that loss and damage goes beyond what can be accomplished through adaptation.
Agreement reached to reduce emissions from the forest sector in developing countries. Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States of America pledged US$280 million to support these actions. This will be of particular relevance to CARICOM countries such as Belize, Guyana and Suriname.
The Adaptation Fund Board (AFB) reached its target of mobilizing US$100 million to fund the six projects in its pipeline. These include a project in Belize, which had been submitted by PACT, one of only two National Implementing Entities (NIE) in the Caribbean accredited to the Adaptation Fund. The other NIE is in Jamaica, which has also received funding for its project.
The Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) is now fully operational. This follows the COP's adoption of CTCN's modalities and procedures. Starting December 8, 2013, Caribbean countries can submit their technology requests to the CTCN, which is hosted by UNEP's Danish office.
The Green Climate Fund (GCF) has been operationalized. Developed countries have been asked to channel a significant portion of their US$100 billion per annum pledge for climate change though the GCF. The Board of the GCF has been tasked with ensuring that there is an equitable balance of funding for both adaptation and mitigation. All developing countries are eligible for funding from the GCF.
Parties to the Convention agreed to continue to work towards establishing a new legally binding climate change agreement by 2015. This would be achieved through the convening of a high-level Ministerial dialogue in June next year to increase the mitigation pledges by developed countries and the summit to be convened by the Secretary General of the UN in September 2014. A draft negotiating text should be available at COP 20 next year to enable Parties to finalize the agreement in Paris at COP 21 in December 2015.
We welcome these developments and will continue to advance the region’s interest.
The 19th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 19) to the UNFCCC and the ninth session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol will take place next week (November 11-22). The conference will be held at the National Stadium in Warsaw, Poland.
Five possible outcomes that will benefit the Caribbean:
COP 19 is billed by many as the "Finance COP". A Ministerial high level segment will address issues on long term financing for developing countries. A pathway detailing how donor countries will honour the US$100 billion a year by 2020 pledge made at the 2009 U.N summit in Copenhagen, accompanied by interim targets and a private sector engagement plan would benefit the region.
Currently, there’s no specific date for donor pledges to begin, but developing countries have already contributed a majority of emissions reductions even without promised support from developed countries.
Operationalization of REDD+ activities. The region's heavily forested countries, particularly Belize and Guyana, are facing increased deforestation and would benefit from comprehensive programmes aimed at addressing this problem.
Raise mitigation ambition. The development of a road map to use the Ministerial summit scheduled for next year to increase the level of mitigation ambition, specifically cutting emissions substantially to limit global warming to 2°C.
Establish Loss and Damage Mechanism. A decision to establish such a mechanism would allow for the provision of compensation to countries that have suffered and will continue to suffer irreparable damage and loss due to climate change.
Draft the new CCA. A significant shift from general discussions to the drafting stage for the new climate change agreement (CCA), the successor to Kyoto, would advance the likelihood that the negotiating text can be produced by the end of 2014 and ultimately allow for copious perusal and discussion.
Under Decision 1/COP.17, the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) was given the ambitious mandate: first, to deliver by 2015 a new international climate change agreement that brings all Parties together in taking action on climate change, and second, to undertake essential work on enhancing pre-2020 mitigation ambition. Success depends on all Parties and the Co-Chairs of the ADP working together to make the best use of the time available, guided by a clear plan of work.
**Bookmark this page for regular updates from the 5Cs’s delegation at COP 17.