BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – THE United Nation’s Secretary General, António Guterres, has urged regional leaders to continue to build-out resilience with regards to the war on Climate Change.
The Secretary General, who addressed regional leaders at the recently held 40th Heads of Government Meeting in Castries, said as climate-related natural disasters grow in frequency and severity, the risks to families and development overall would only intensify.
The Caribbean region has had its fair share of natural disasters. In 2017 Hurricanes Irma and Maria had battered the region, causing billions of dollars in damage.
Guterres noted that the region’s experience makes it abundantly clear that there is an urgent need to reduce global emissions and work collectively to ensure global temperature rise does not go beyond 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.
“That is why I am asking all leaders, from governments and the private sector, to present - plans at my Climate Action Summit or at the latest by December 2020 – to cut greenhouse emissions by 45 percent by 2030 and get to carbon neutrality by 2050.
“We must massively increase our ambition to advance low-emission and resilient development, including addressing loss and damage from climate impacts. And we need all hands on deck to make this transformation possible.”
The Secretary General commended the frontline efforts made by the CARICOM and the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre to deal with the climate change problem.
“You are our important allies in the fight against climate disruption. We hear your voices loud and clear in the negotiation halls. You have been stalwart advocates for a 1.5 degree threshold for over a decade, pushing leaders to devise new models of economic development and affordable, reliable energy access. Island nations in the Caribbean are fast becoming influential test beds for innovative climate action, such as investing in decentralised renewable energy.”
A number of countries have signed on to the Paris Climate Change Accord. But despite the Secretary General’s comments, one leading world polluter, the United States, has pulled out of that agreement which seeks to have countries cut their Green House Gas.
Guterres believes that resilience would provide clean energy solutions; noting that
“Microgrids and decentralised solar energy systems will also ensure that power losses after storms will be shorter and less catastrophic to homes, hospitals and businesses”.
He said investing in sustainable development would also mean investing more in concrete conservation and resilience measures.