PM: Climate issues will only get worse

Wed, Nov 9th 2022, 12:35 PM

PRIME Minister Philip "Brave" Davis told heads of government that as the world enters a new climate era, the situation will only get worse requiring binding commitments instead of statements alone that have been used to postpone real action.

Should the status quo remain, Mr Davis painted a sobering picture that there could be hundreds of millions of climate refugees, placing pressure on borders, security and political systems across the world.

The prime minister made the remarks at the World Leaders’ Summit of the United Nations Climate Change Conference during COP27, which is being held at Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt this year.

Mr Davis said many Bahamians have questioned why its government was yet again attending the climate change summit and pointed to Tropical Storm Nicole, which began affecting certain islands last night.

“I say that we have come, because we have to believe that a safer, better future is possible,” Mr Davis said. “I say that we have come, because we believe that action - real, concerted, action - can save the planet, and save our human race.

“And I say that we have come, because each nation here, acting in its own, enlightened self-interest, knows, in a most profound way, that we need each other to make this work.

 “I live in the most beautiful country on earth. But right now, even as I speak, Bahamians are mobilising to prepare for the impact of yet another powerful storm, Tropical Storm Nicole. So, I come here with a simple request: let’s get real.

“What we need most at this conference is to confront the radical truth. Big, ambitious goals are important - but not if we use aspirations to obscure reality. The goal to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees, is on life support. This is a hard truth for many to admit, because even the best-case scenarios will mean almost unimaginable upheaval and tragedy.

“The realities of war, economic headwinds, the hangover from the pandemic, and competition among world powers, cannot be used as justification not to confront these imminent dangers.

“Let’s get real: it’s only going to get worse. We are entering a new climate era that will drive extreme geopolitical and economic instability.

“Statements without binding commitments or enforcement mechanisms have been used again and again as a way to postpone real action. Yes, the world’s wealthiest carbon polluters should pay for the very extensive loss and damage caused by their emissions.

“But ‘getting real’ means understanding that it will be self-interest that drives decision-makers.”

He continued: “So, I am not here to ask any of you to love the people of my country with the same passion as I do, or even to act on behalf of future generations in your own country.

“I’m asking: what is it worth to you, to prevent millions of climate refugees, from turning into tens of millions, and then hundreds of millions, putting pressure on borders and security and political systems across the world?”

Mr Davis said he was not telling world leaders to agitate for the World Bank to be overhauled for this new climate era, but he was of the view that they needed to get smart and act quickly to address the systemic risk of climate change.

“Multilateral banks must play a crucial role in scaling up financing options that will provide real solutions.

“I’m not here to tell the private sector to give up caring about profits. I’m here to say that in a world of profound instability, your profits are very much in danger. So, we need to work together to transition the world to clean energy.”

Mr Davis said Bahamians, as descendants of African slaves, had a duty to fight for survival, adding the country had made progress in fighting the impact of climate change rather than wait for the remainder of the world to act.

“We know we have what it takes to provide the kind of leadership and innovation that contribute to meaningful solutions. Our mangroves, seagrasses and salt marshes are a critical carbon sink. While others were talking, we took action, and passed innovative new legislation to deal with blue carbon.

“We created a regulatory framework for dealing and trading in carbon credits.

“Other countries are already considering adopting our model. And just this past Sunday, we agreed in principle with the IMF, to partner together, among other things, to determine how carbon credits can be used productively, as a new asset class.

“Yes, this is what real, life-changing action looks like. We in The Bahamas are not sitting still.

“We will not flinch from confronting the hard truth. We will continue to offer our leadership.

“And we will continue our drive for innovation and ingenuity,” Mr Davis said.

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