MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica:
Speaking at the Fifth Caribbean Environmental Forum (CEF) in Jamaica last week, Ramdin said the region did not need to wait for an international binding agreement on carbon emissions to initiate some of its own actions to adapt to climate change.
Ramdin said it was important for Caribbean Community (CARICOM) heads to meet prior to the Cancun talks in order to “elevate the discussion at the political level” and to “provide the necessary instructions and guidelines to policymakers down the road”.
CARICOM heads had discussed the issue at their intersessional meeting in March. They noted that funds promised in Copenhagen had not materialized and urged that the World Bank not insist on assessment studies prior to granting such funds.
The 2009 Copenhagen climate change conference had failed to reach agreement on legally binding measures on the part of polluting countries to reduce emission of greenhouse gases. The Cancun meeting is the most important since Copenhagen, but there is doubt it will achieve a binding agreement on emission levels.
Earlier at the CEF, St. Lucia Prime Minister Stephenson King described the Copenhagen conference as “a rather fractious, almost chaotic, affair”.
Caribbean leaders have lamented the failure of international discussions to arrive at a binding agreement on carbon emissions or to set deadlines for achievement of emission targets. The countries of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) had argued for emission targets that would not increase global temperatures by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius. The leading countries agreed on a 2 degree threshold.
Although the region awaits financial support committed in Copenhagen, Ramdin said it should raise some of its own money to fund disaster reduction and disaster mitigation activities.
In this regard, he proposed a “care for the environment tax” which he said can be collected regionally to raise the needed funding.
“The world wants to see your own contribution,” said Ramdin. He suggested that a formula be developed for the people of the region to contribute toward efforts to deal with the effects of natural disasters to which the Caribbean was prone.
Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS) Albert Ramdin is urging regional governments to convene a special summit to discuss the Caribbean position ahead of United Nations follow-up discussions on climate change in Cancun, Mexico in December.