Thursday, April 18, 2024

EDITORIAL: Let’s hope for best from climate talks

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AS BARBADOS CELEBRATES another milestone today with the observance of its 49th anniversary of Independence, the island remains vulnerable to many factors.

From the high cost of crude oil to the performance of the international economy, they all impact us. Equally as devastating are the effects of climate change, often caused by the actions of other nations, primarily wealthy developed states.

That is why our focus must not only be on the Independence Parade at the Garrison Savannah today, the various community events islandwide or simply having a day of fun and frolic with our families. The significance cannot be underscored of what is happening in France where most of the world’s leaders are gathered for the 21st session of the Conference Of The Parties that starts today.

This event is as relevant to the workers of the National Conservation Commission as it must be to the people in St Vincent getting ready to reflect on the flooding tragedy that shattered the joy of their Christmas two years ago.

We in Barbados have witnessed the effects of climate change, given the unpredictable rainfall pattern and the ensuing drought, which has had a direct and personal impact on people, whether at their residences, at business places or in agriculture.  

The objective is fairly clear, according to the scientists: global warming must not exceed two degrees Celsius and not allowed up to the 6.3 degrees predicted by the end of this century if we continue on our current path. It would spell disaster for future generations in many small island developing states, such as those found across this region. And while we look to the United States, China, Brazil and India to play their part, we too must make our contribution.

That is why Barbados must continue its push for alternate energy systems and must do something to clean up the harmful emissions from vehicles that pollute the atmosphere daily. This is not to be an abstract issue and merely another esoteric talking point for politicians, scientists and technocrats.

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart’s absence from the events at the Garrison today is therefore with good cause as he must present the case for the Caribbean Community at these talks in France, which will hopefully end in a better result than the previous climate talks in Kyoto and Copenhagen. These talks in France must end with meaningful results between both developed and developing nations. It is also going to be necessary going forward for total adherence to the rules on protecting the environment if we are to make this planet a safer and better place.

We, Barbados and the Caribbean, expect that Mr Stuart will be a true guardian of not only our heritage, but in advancing a case for generations to come in these susceptible island states. Political Independence can be rendered meaningless without an agreement in Paris.

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