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Mia’s climate plea at UN

BARRY ALLEYNE, [email protected]

Mia’s climate plea at UN

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For the second time in a week, Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley has made a plea to the United Nations to help reduce the threat climate change poses to islands like Barbados and other small developing states.

Yesterday, the Barbadian leader in a 39-minute speech to the UN’s general assembly in New York, called on leaders of large, powerful nations to put their money where their mouths were, and once and for all bring resources to the forefront of saving the planet.

“Some of the most severe consequences of climate change can no longer be avoided,” Mottley advised the assembly, filled with members of the Alliance of Small States, which she chairs.

“How many times have we been told this?” she rhetorically asked. “How many times has science reinforced that there is a very threat to our survival?”

Mottley said many on the planet can go into high altitude feeling they can be insulated from the ravages of climate change. “But for how long? The destructive behaviour continues,” she claimed.

The Barbadian leader asked of the world’s leaders where their moral standing or constructive action was, especially from countries largely responsible for carbon emissions and which believe it is okay to build coal power plants and not decommission them.

“Do you not see what is happening? Do you not care?” she asked of the world’s industrial powerhouses.

“I believe the science. And that we are the last generation that can deal with this existential threat. Last weekend it was Tropical Storm Karen. In the Atlantic we were lucky that Jerry and Humberto didn’t go the way of Dorian,” Mottley said, making reference to the Category 5 storm which devastated Abaco and Grand Bahama islands of The Bahamas earlier this month.

She said it is within the political will of leaders to do what is needed to attack climate change.

“We can make that difference. It is within our power. It can be done. And the time to act is now. Never within the history of mankind has one generation had such responsibility to protect this planet,” asserted Mottley.

She said that making matters worse was the fact that Caribbean countries now find themselves facing other challenges imposed by the power brokers on the planet. “We continue to be confronted by problems of blacklisting, which pales into insignificance when compared to climate change, but which destroys our financial sector.”

She also cited the issues that southern neighbours Guyana and Belize face with regard to territorial integrity.

“These are all threats to our stability, to the people’s stability in our lands,” Mottley stressed.

“We have to ask, ‘Who is listening?’ We don’t only come with tales of woe. The Caribbean has produced excellence. Nobel laureates, sportsmen who are the best in the world of their type, artistes, leaders. We don’t come as a proud people asking for handouts. What we want, what we need, is fiscal and policy space to achieve sustainable development, and be nimble to adapt in ways that allow us to be true and faithful to the task in ways to bring prosperity to our people,” the Prime Minister contended.

She said Caribbean states want to see an international order equally that recognises there should be different policy descriptions to suit the circumstances. “And we could still be friends, small and large, North and South, Christian, Hindu, Muslim, all different races, genders, but built on the principles of justice and fairness for all, not just for some,” Mottley told the general assembly. (BA)