Caribbean formatting climate change strategy for Paris meeting

Sunday, August 02, 2015

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GROS ISLET, St Lucia — Government climate negotiators and civil society groups from the Caribbean who met with artistes and journalists here last week have discussed strategies to drum up local awareness and attract international attention as part of the region's preparation for the climate change meeting in Paris at the end of the year.


The plan is to roll out some of the projects simultaneously across the region ahead of the Paris talks and stage one or two others during the session.


The Paris talks are called COP 21 and will be the stage for the countries of the world to agree to reducing carbon emissions from power plants, factories, and other types of industry, in order to keep global temperatures down.


Island states, according to published scientific data, are projected to suffer the most from increasing temperatures and the related sea level rise. As such, the Caribbean, as part of the Alliance of Small Island States, is seeking to start a movement among its own peoples to shine a light on the specific ways the region will be affected in hopes that it will sway the developed world.


If carbon emissions continue unabated, projections are that global temperatures will rise by as much as four degrees Celsius by the end of the century.


Globally, the discussion is to keep it at two degrees, but the Caribbean wants to limit it to 1.5 degrees and has been using the slogan '1.5 to stay alive'.


St Lucia's minister of sustainable development Senator James Fletcher, who hosted the meeting, explained the rationale for the regional approach.


"The region has not done enough to elevate the issue of climate change... we need to amplify our voices both in the region and on the international stage," he said.


Fletcher suggested that the Caribbean follow the example of the Pacific Islands, which, he said, was a good example of climate action on a regional scale, by co-ordinating the messages it wants to be communicated in ways that galvanise support and attract mass attention.


The St Lucia meeting was called 'Climate Voices on and for Climate Change'. In addition to the ministry of sustainable development, its sponsors included Panos Caribbean, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, and the Organization of American States.








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