By Sharon Austin
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, (BGIS) — Prime minister Mia Amor Mottley told global leaders that there is a need to move from “placatory rhetoric to real, effective action” to address the climate crisis, as she delivered a statement at the virtual Climate Ambition Summit 2020 Saturday, December 12, 2020, on the fifth anniversary of the landmark Paris Agreement.
The prime minister told her audience: “For unless the climate crisis is addressed, there will be no ‘build back better’ for countries and economies like mine. Frankly, at the global level, we need to move from placatory rhetoric to real, effective action, or numerous nations across the world will be robbed of their future.
“I would like to believe that the major emitters are not capable of what would, in essence, be close to climate genocide. I would like to believe that we are visible and indispensable for them. Let us, therefore, together, act on the responsibility which the climate crisis imposes on all nations and all peoples. The time is now.”
In 2015, world leaders gathered for COP21 in Paris and agreed to limit global warming to well below 2, preferably 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Prime minister Mottley said Barbados’ new Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) of becoming fossil fuel-free by 2030 at best, and carbon-neutral at worse, is an even more ambitious target than that of 2015.
Government, she explained, has created the enabling environment for transition through legislation, incentives, and empowering citizens to participate in the energy revolution. She added that government’s vision is that by 2030, most Barbadian homes would have solar PV panels on their roofs and an electric vehicle in their garage.
“Despite our efforts, the fact is that the level of mitigation ambition contained in your NDCs, will determine the fate of countries like my own,” Mottley noted. The world came together in Paris and embraced the solution to the climate crisis that included “1.5 to stay alive”, which is the mantra of small island developing states such as Barbados.
“Our optimism and joy in Paris now seem short-lived. Global greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise unabated, and our window to end the crisis is closing,” she stated.
The prime minister noted that COVID-19 related debt was consuming resources, some of which was intended for climate mitigation.