Holness at the forefront of climate change action

Friday, October 12, 2018

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Dear Editor,

If there is one thing I am clear about, it is the emphasis and passion being exhibited by the Prime Minister of Jamaica Andrew Holness as it relates to confronting the very urgent and intimidating matter of climate change.

I have read widely about the prime minister's lobby efforts and pronouncements in international and regional fora, championing the cause of Caribbean countries, all of which have been ravaged at one time or another by the viciousness of hurricanes, floods, droughts and other extreme weather conditions.

The truth is that climate change is not as unpopular a topic of discussion as it was before. The discussion really has come a long way. Climate change is no longer an alien concept. People talk about it and use it in an offhanded fashion to explain why it doesn't rain, or why temperatures are higher than usual. But while the phrase is common and widely used, most people don't seem to know where to start to tackle the problem or appreciate the magnitude of the consequences of climate change.

That is why it is critical to have at the forefront leading and driving the discussion and the policies on national and international platforms a leader who is passionate about the issue.

At two recent events I heard the prime minister laying out the challenges confronted by Caribbean countries existing “against a backdrop of a fast-changing global landscape” and being “vulnerable to global happenings”. The leader of our beloved country is not unaware of the dangers posed by climate change, nor is he oblivious to the impact that he notes disproportionately affects the region when compared to how much the region contributes to climate change.

Still, Holness contends that Jamaica and the region must not be daunted but must pursue ambitious climate action.

At another event he stated that the tourism industry — an industry upon which many Caribbean countries rely heavily — was devastated by hurricanes which wrought damage of approximately US$64.76 billion.

Caribbean leaders, including our own Prime Minister Holness, seem very attuned to the climatic realities of our times. It is also very exciting to see that one of our Caribbean leaders is breaking the mould and making representation on the international landscape.

I've become aware that Prime Minister Holness and the French President Emmanuel Macron have received appointments to lead global climate financing initiatives.

I strongly believe the recent report on climate change published by the International Panel on Climate Change will heavily influence their approach to galvanising support and action in dealing with climate change.

I want to congratulate Andrew Holness and encourage his continued championing of the cause of the Caribbean region in respect of climate change together with his Caribbean counterparts.

J R Grant


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