Slater highlights importance of COP26Saturday, October 23, 2021
BY ARTHUR HALL
COP26, the next annual United Nations climate change conference, has been described by many as the last chance for the world to take a unified position on this looming crisis, and new British High Commissioner to Jamaica Judith Slater is in no doubt about the importance of this summit.
“As you have heard the phrase, 'The last chance to keep 1.5 alive,' that is to do with trying to ensure that the world's mean temperature doesn't rise by more than 1.5 degrees… So I think this is the last chance to come to an agreement that we can try to make that happen.
“It is going to be very challenging because it requires more ambitious commitments by some of the big countries,” Slater told the Jamaica Observer during her first media interview after starting her tour of duty in the island.
COP stands for Conference of the Parties, and the summit will be attended by the countries that signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change — a treaty that came into force in 1994.
This is the 26th COP summit and will be hosted in partnership between the UK and Italy. The conference will be held in Glasgow, Scotland, November 1-12.
According to Slater, during her first meeting with Prime Minister Andrew Holness the only two topics in the almost hour-long sitdown were COVID-19 and COP26.
“COP26 is right at the top of our agenda. We are really pleased that Jamaica will be playing a leading role at the upcoming conference, which is Prime Minister Boris Johnson's absolute top of his list.
“We have more than 120 world leaders who will be attending and I see that the Australian prime minister [Scott Morrison] has just committed to going to COP26. The majority of the world leaders will be in Glasgow for that conference,” said Slater.
She noted that there are a number of objectives set for COP26 and the ones that Jamaica will be very interested in include adaptation and financing.
“Jamaica is already doing some really good things, such as the catastrophe bond that you set up, and Jamaica is a leading voice for small island developing states (SIDS), because obviously these are the countries, many of them are very poor countries, and these are the countries that will be most affected earliest by climate change,” said Slater.
One of the key objectives of COP26 is getting to the US$100-billion annual target for climate change which wealthy nations have promised to donate, and Slater noted that other objectives will include the elimination of coal, the introduction of more low-emission vehicles, and a reduction of deforestation.
“But another objective is to make sure that we come out of this summit with the world together better, finding ways of collaborating, because this is not a problem that can be solved by one country or even a small group of countries, everyone must work together,” charged Slater.