Source: Jamaican Gleaner

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EDINBURGH, Scotland (CMC):

Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley on Monday urged the international community to agree to a 1.5 degree Celsius mark regarding the environment, warning that anything higher than that would constitute a “death sentence” for countries in the Caribbean and other small islands developing states (SIDS).

“Two degrees is a death sentence for the people of Antigua and Barbuda, for the people of the Maldives, for the people of Dominica and Fiji, for the people of Kenya and Mozambique, and yes, for the people of Samoa and Barbados.

“We do not want that dreaded death sentence, and we are here to say, ‘Try harder!’,” Mottley told the opening ceremony of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), taking place here until November 12.

The global average air temperature may rise by more than 1.5 degree Celsius mark over pre-industrial levels between 2021 and 2040, according to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released on August 9.

To reach a 1.5-degree pathway, new cultivation approaches would need to prevail, leading to a 53 per cent reduction in the intensity of methane emissions from rice cultivation by 2050. Finally, about one-third of global food output is currently lost in production or wasted in consumption.

Mottley told the ceremony that because small states are increasingly vulnerable to the worst effects of climate change, increased global temperatures will affect these smaller, developing countries first.

“We can work with who is ready to go because the train is ready to leave (and) those who are not yet ready we need to continue doing circles and to remind them that their people, not our people, but their citizens need them to get on board as soon as possible,” Mottley said.

“For those who have eyes to see, for those who have ears to listen, and for those who have a heart to feel, 1.5 is what we need to survive,” she said, reiterating that two degrees “is a death sentence”.

She called on the international community to “try harder because our people, the climate army, the world, the planet needs our action now, not next year, not in the next decade”.

Several Caribbean Community leaders are attending the conference as countries work towards the global goal of limiting the global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. If this limit is exceeded, scientists have predicted that worsening climatic events will threaten people’s lives, livelihoods, and food systems.

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