CARICOM States declare new commitments at the Climate Ambition Summit
(City of Belmopan, Belize) Seven of the fourteen CARICOM Member States which are parties to the Paris Agreement on climate change delivered statements on Saturday, 12 December 2020, at the Climate Ambition Summit organized by the United Kingdom, France and the United Nations in cooperation with Chile and Italy. The event was to celebrate the 5th Anniversary of the Paris Agreement. The Summit was organised to provide countries with an opportunity to showcase their ambition to address climate change through enhanced Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), the provision of finance and bold action on adaptation. All Parties had committed to submit updated NDCs in 2020 to limit global warming to as far below 2 degrees Celsius as possible above the preindustrial level and make efforts to limit it to 1.5 degrees.
Barbados’ ambitious announcement of net zero emissions by 2030 was widely praised by the international community. Prime Minister of Barbados, Honourable Mia Mottley launched her address with the SIDS refrain, “1.5 to Stay Alive”. She noted that global emissions of greenhouse gases continued to rise while the window of opportunity to meet the 1.5-degree target was rapidly closing, referring to one of the conclusions of the landmark IPCC Special Report on 1.5 that emissions had to be cut by 50% by 2030.
Dr the Right Honourable Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister of Grenada expressed disappointment that the COP had failed to welcome that report when it had been issued in 2018. He called on the parties to be more ambitious at COP 26 in 2021 and to finalize the outstanding provisions to operationalize the Paris Agreement. He commended the leadership of the United Kingdom which included a cut of 68% in its emissions by 2030. Grenada’s new NDC included economy wide commitments with the aim of becoming the first climate ready city in the region.
The Honourable Allen Chastanet, Prime Minister of Saint Lucia noted that the country had committed to reducing their already miniscule emissions through sectoral actions including in the energy sector through legislation that addressed energy generation and the promotion of e-mobility. He also called on the COP to conclude its discussions on transparency and market mechanisms in the Paris Agreement.
Quoting Usain Bolt, the Prime Minister of Jamaica, Most Honourable Andrew Holness said that determination “made the impossible possible”. Jamaica’s new NDC included new measures to increase deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency measures as well as reducing emissions in the forestry sector.
His Excellency Chandrikapersad Santokhi, President of Suriname noted that his country had been the second to submit a new NDC in December 2019. He called for the establishment of a global mechanism to access concessional financing and the need to leave no one behind.
Prime Minister of Belize, the Honourable John Briceno, said that Belize’s new NDC would trigger tipping points by reducing 16 million tons of carbon dioxide in forestry and increasing the share of renewable energy generation to 85% by 2030. As the Chair of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), he noted the leadership demonstrated by small island States in the quest to achieve the 1.5-degree target.
Antigua and Barbuda will assume the chair of AOSIS in 2021. The island’s Prime Minister, Honourable Gaston Browne welcomed the announcement that the United States would re- enter the Paris Agreement and called on them to join China in demonstrating the leadership required to meet the 1.5-degree goal with a plan of action.
Only 75 countries were provided the opportunity to deliver statements at the Climate Ambition Summit. To have 50% of CARICOM Member States which are parties to the Paris Agreement invited to deliver statements, is a testament to the ambition and determination of the region.
The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre and the CARICOM Secretariat in collaboration with the United Kingdom had organized a CARICOM Moment of Ambition on the eve of the Summit as a prelude to the event.
The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre coordinates the region’s response to climate change. Officially opened in August 2005, the Centre is the key node for information on climate change issues and the region’s response to managing and adapting to climate change. We maintain the Caribbean’s most extensive repository of information and data on climate change specific to the region, which in part enables us to provide climate change-related policy advice and guidelines to CARICOM member states through the CARICOM Secretariat. In this role, the Centre is recognized by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the United Nations Environment Programme, and other international agencies as the focal point for climate change issues in the Caribbean. The Centre is also a United Nations Institute for Training and Research recognised Centre of Excellence, one of an elite few. Learn more about how we’re working to make the Caribbean more climate resilient by perusing The Implementation Plan.