Caribbean urged to stay active at COP28
CARIBBEAN nations have been encouraged to remain at the Conference of Parties (COP) table in order to ensure the region is equipped to cope with the effects of climate change.
The call was made by Dr Orville Grey, head of the National Adaptation Plan Global Network, at a virtual forum held last Wednesday ahead of this week’s United Nations climate summit, COP28, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
The forum was hosted by The University of the West Indies Global Institute for Climate-Smart and Resilient Development, under the theme ‘Should We COP Out?’; it examined perspectives from the Caribbean and Canada on COP27 and 28.
According to Dr Grey, the Caribbean cannot cop out of the conference as it offers a space for the region to voice concerns about the negative impacts of climate change on developing countries.
“We have to take a stand. And COP out? I definitely don’t think that is on the table for Caricom and for the Caribbean SIDS [small island developing states]. This is one of those spaces that allows us to have partnerships, to sit down and to collaborate, to look at the issues that are very important to us, and [which will] give us the opportunity to take the stage and speak to our realities and the challenges we are having and the support we will require in the Caribbean to get things done,” he said.
Dr Grey emphasised the significance of Caribbean nations leveraging COP28 to lobby for essential resources and fair decision-making, as small island states facing the threats of rising sea levels and tropical cyclones are more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
He also questioned the commitment of Caribbean leaders to dealing with the impacts of climate change, noting that several Caribbean territories lack a national adaptation plan.
“When you look at adaptation, which is being considered a priority for the region, only five countries in the region have a national adaptation plan so this does not send the greatest signal for us as a region in terms of how important this is,” he reasoned.
Head of the Climate Studies Group, Mona and dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology, Professor Michael Taylor told the forum that Caribbean nations must be a part of COP to ensure that the 2015 Paris Agreement to hold global warming to within 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures is maintained by developed countries.
“The 1.5 goal is not the road we are currently on but for us in the Caribbean the 1.5 threshold stands for many things; it is a symbol of a chance for a better future than where we are heading â€” and there is a lot of science to support this,” he noted.
Coordinator of the Institute for Sustainable Development Dr David Smith emphasised the importance of international funding for Caribbean nations to effect mitigation projects.
“Recently, myself and some colleagues did some work on climate-related expense in the Jamaican budget and what we found was, despite access to [a] global climate fund… the largest source of funds from climate-related expense in the Jamaican budget was the Jamaican Government itself or taxes. That was where most money was coming from, to look at mostly adaptation with some mitigation funds as well, despite the fact that we have access to international funds,” Smith said.
He urged Caribbean nations to address these concerns at COP28, highlighting insufficient international funding and support for adaptation and mitigation projects.