CARICOM sees climate meet as turning point

GEORGETOWN, Guyana: Despite contrasting positions among developed and developing countries on limits to greenhouse gas emissions at the climate change conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) says it still sees the meeting as a turning point in its ability to cope with the challenges posed by the phenomenon.

Assistant Secretary-General Dr. Edward Greene says the regional grouping is looking to hold Annex 1 (Developed) countries to their commitments on climate change.

He said the negotiations at Copenhagen were critical as the small island developing states within CARICOM were most vulnerable to “serious trouble” with increases in atmospheric temperatures.

CARICOM and the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) have together articulated a comprehensive position for long term stabilization of atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations at levels which would ensure that global average surface temperature increases would be limited to well below 1.5 degrees Celsius of pre-industrial levels; that global greenhouse gas emissions should peak by 2015; Annex 1 CO2 reductions of at least 45 per cent by 2020 and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by more than 95 per cent of 1990 CO2 levels by 2050.

Referring to financing for climate change mitigation and adaptation, Dr. Greene said the “Global Environmental Fund (GEF), which was supposed to protect the interest of the developing countries – especially small island developing countries – has somehow failed us”.

“What the negotiations are doing is jettisoning the GEF and negotiating, specifically with Annex 1 countries, to have predictable financing available to all countries for adaptation and mitigation,” Greene said.

Greene said he anticipated that the Caribbean would garner support for greater investments in research, diffusion of technology, forest-based solutions to mitigation and assistance in disaster risks management from the conference in Copenhagen.

“That is the negotiating position, we don’t know what will be yielded; the commitments are not yet solidified but the negotiations will try to pin down the Annex 1 countries,” he said.

There are 192 nations gathered for the 15th Conference of Parties (COP15) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Copenhagen, which began last week and will end on Friday, December 18. The countries are seeking a new international agreement on sustainable curbs on Green House Gases (GHG) emissions, and the means to assist poor countries with climate change adaptation and mitigation.

 

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