SENATOR Matthew Samuda says the Government is firm in its commitment to the global climate change agenda and can't withdraw from the multilateral processes, regardless of the pace of adaptation and mitigation.
Samuda, the minister with responsibility for the environment, says there is no throwing in the towel for Jamaica as the process has yielded some amount of success, and mechanisms are being implemented to fund programmes that will propel the country further along in its contribution to the global effort to combat climate change.
The minister was speaking at this week's Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange ahead of the annual Conference of the Parties to the United Nationals Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27) set for Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, November 6 to 8.
He said given the limited mitigation across the developed world the cynicism towards climate change is understandable, but the most cynical of individuals who are aware of the activities taking place locally and internationally around climate change would disagree that nothing has come from high-level multilateral dialogue such as COP.
"Small island developing states like Jamaica would never withdraw from the established multilateral process that allows us to sit around the table as equals and call on our neighbours to the north, to the south, to do what they have already committed to do in many cases — and for those who have not made those commitments, to do it," he stated, stressing that walking away would go against the country's foreign affairs doctrine.
"Although we haven't had the success that is required, to say that here has been no climate action would be untrue and unfair to those who have made significant changes," he said, pointing out that mechanisms have been established to fund mitigation, adaptation, and recovery from loss and damage due to climate change.
He highlighted policy mechanisms being set up to fund energy transition, through the multilateral process.
"The process of things like the NDC partnerships where countries — through an auditable, measurable manner — give their commitments for mitigation, reductions in emissions, exist because of this multilateral process. Surely a hundred countries agreeing to take steps and keeping up with that process can't be considered a failure," the environment minister argued.
The NDC (Nationally Determined Contribution) partnership is a coordination of more than 100 developed and developing countries, and more than 80 institutions to create and deliver on climate action to help achieve the Paris Agreement and the sustainable development goals. The partnership provides developing countries with efficient access to a wide range of resources to adapt to and mitigate climate change.
Samuda stressed that Jamaica has made significant advancements in the area of funding in order to meet its mitigation targets.
"Jamaica has done phenomenally well with readiness. It has been readying its financial architecture, and upscaling and training various touch points to be ready to access finance, based on the global standards," Samuda said.
He pointed out that Jamaica is one of few small island nations that has an accredited entity with the Green Climate Fund, and that both the Development Bank of Jamaica and Planning Institute of Jamaica are nearing accreditation for climate action financing, making Jamaica better aligned to access funds.
"There is no doubt that the carbon emissions which fuel the growth of the developed world have contributed to the rate of climate change. That has left scientists deeply concerned about our resilience and our ability to adapt to change, and changes in our weather patterns. Despite the statements of ambition from the developed and the developing world, net emissions have increased. We have countries that have made positive steps but as a global community we don't have the declines that we need to make scientific projections a reality," Senator Samuda said.
"Jamaica is not among the states — regardless of who is in power — that can be classified as a climate denier. There is political agreement across administrations that climate change is real, and that the threats are grave, and that something has been done," he stated.
At COP 27 governments will seek to build on previous successes and pave the way for future goals to effectively tackle climate change through negotiations and agreements.