Holness to address Parliament on climate change today

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Prime Minister Andrew Holness is to make a statement in the House of Representatives today, providing an update on climate change issues and his visit to South Korea.

Last week, Jamaica was given the green light to list the first ever Caribbean Green Bond on the Republic of Korea's stock market.

According to Holness, the Green Climate Fund approved the listing which will place Jamaica as the Caribbean country of choice to conduct climate smart and sustainable business. He also announced that Jamaica has joined the Finance Ministers Coalition for Climate Action to ensure continued efforts to climate proof the economy.

He made the announcements last week Monday, while delivering the keynote address at the Green Climate Fund Private Investment for Climate Conference (GPIC) in Korea.

Holness broke with traditional Jamaican politics on Sunday, when he previewed his statement by addressing climate change issues, while speaking to Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) supporters attending of a meeting of their Area Council One, which is comprised of the 15 constituencies in Kingston and St Andrew.

The prime minister told the meeting that while the public may not, at this point, be interested in the issues, “Governments have to do what they know to do in the interest of the public, even if the public is not interested at this time”.

He noted that temperatures are rising, and that during the summer Jamaica experienced some of its hottest days ever. However, he noted it was a global phenomenon, as climates and weather patterns are changing.

He also pointed out that the region has been experiencing more intense hurricanes, including at least one devastating hurricane each year which could threaten the Government's efforts to continue reducing the public debt.

“All the sacrifices we have made to reduce our debt from 147 per cent of GDP to 95 per cent of GDP could be wasted overnight, if there is a major natural disaster and we are going to have to borrow to repair the damage,” he stated.

He said that there are many issues to be considered when rain patterns change, as has been the case in Jamaica where rainfall has reduced in the catchment areas, affecting primarily the Mona Dam, which relies on water piped from St Thomas to Kingston via the Yallahs Pipeline as no rain has been falling in that area.

“I want to give you an assurance that we are doing everything within our power to deal with what we can deal with,” he told the meeting.

In late September, Holness reported that there had been major achievements under the Climate Financing Initiative, while speaking in his capacity as co-chair of the Initiative at the United Nations (UN) Climate Action Summit in New York.

He was appointed to the post by the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, to co-chair the Initiative along with the Presidents of France and Qatar, to mobilise Government and private sector to build political consensus and increase momentum to raise US$100 billion in climate finance by 2020.

Also scheduled for today's meeting of the House of Representatives is:

•Minister of National Security to give notice of introduction and first reading of a Bill shortly entitled, “The Proceeds of Crime Act, 2019”, and suspension of the Standing Orders to enable him to take the motion, take second reading of the Bill and to commence the debate.

In terms of Public Business, the House will take the following legislations:

• Orders and Resolutions on the following matters are to be tabled and taken; Extension of Zone of Special Operations in Denham Town; Extension of State of Emergency in St James, Hanover and Westmoreland; Extension of State of Emergency in St Catherine and parts of St Andrew, as well as the debate on the Proceeds of Crime (Amendment) Act, 2019.

Balford Henry


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