Categorized | Environment, Local, News, Regional

France urges rich countries to help Caribbean deal with environment

Minister Claude Hogan represented the Government of Montserrat at this summit

Round table

Montserrat, St Kitts&Nevis and BVI assembly at Climate Change Conference with French President at MartiniqueFORT-DE-FRANCE, Martinique, CMC –A one day Franco-Caribbean summit on the environment ended here Saturday with French President François Hollande calling on wealthy countries to help poor ones deal with the impact of climate change and other environment problems.

Hollande called for “rich countries to help poor countries fight global warming” ahead of the UN Climate Conference in Paris later this year.

“If there is nothing in terms of finance for countries that are the most vulnerable and the poorest, they won’t follow you,” Hollande said.

The summit was attended by 13 Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders as well as Cuba’s Environment Minister Elba Rosa Prez Montoya.

Hollande also called for the establishment of an international green fund could help the vulnerable, tourism-dependent Caribbean region mitigate the effects of climate change.

“Thanks to this fund, we will be able to find solutions to the problem of global warming,” he said.

Officials have said they hope to secure at least 50 per cent of the US$10 billion that governments have pledged for the fund before the Paris summit begins.

He said climate change is a pressing issue that represents US$600 million a year in costs to the Caribbean region alone, promising to reinforce and expand a local natural disaster fund.

“This is a human issue that has displaced millions of people and caused the disappearance of species every year,” he said.

CARICOM Chairman and Bahamas Prime Minister Perry Christie told the summit that the evidence of the impact of climate change within the CARICOM region is very evident.

He reminded the conference that Grenada recorded a 300 per cent loss in gross domestic product (GDP) as a result of one storm.

“We see across CARICOM, an average of two to five per cent loss of growth due to hurricanes and tropical process which occur annually.

“For the Bahamas, which has 80 percent of its land mass within one metre of mean sea level, climate change is an existential threat to our land mass. Indeed, that is the story across the region. And as I have said from place to place, if the sea level rises some five feet in the Bahamas, 80 per cent of the Bahamas as we know it will disappear. The stark reality of that means, we are here to talk about survival,” Christie said.

President of the Regional Council of Martinique Serge Letchimy, who opened the summit, warned that “half of the islands in the Bahamas could vanish due to rising sea levels”.

“Caribbean Climate 2015 is a push to vigorously encourage the international community to reach an agreement at COP21 to keep global warming below 2 degrees C. This is a crucial goal for Caribbean island nations that are particularly vulnerable to climate change and which only contribute 0.3 percent of global greenhouse emissions.”

French Environment minister Ségolène Royal told the summit that the islands have the means to fight climate change but needed assistance as he read the “Declaration of Fort de France” that appealed on the world’s conscience to fight global warming.

Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said climate change is having a huge impact on his country affecting agriculture and the eco-system.

“As you know we promote heavily ecotourism, and if action is not taken by the international community to halt greenhouse gas emissions we’re going to have a serious challenge.

“We’re a coastal country and as the years go by you are seeing an erosion of the coastal landscape. You have a lot of degradation taking place. That has resulted in us spending tremendous sums of money to mitigate against that.

“Clearly, small countries like Dominica, and indeed the entire OECS do not have the kind of resources required to mitigate against climate change. We are the least contributors but we are the most affected,” Skerrit told the summit.

OECS Director General Dr. Didicus Jules said the the impacts of climate change can be seen everywhere across the region.

“It’s beginning to pose a huge threat as we saw in the case of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The last event there, the damage was equivalent of about more than 20 per cent of their GDP.

“So just a simple event can set us back so drastically and that is why the member states are so concerned because these events have all kinds of downstream impacts on the economy, not just the damage and loss caused by the events themselves.”

The Caribbean islands contribute only 0.3 per cent of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere but suffer their effects in a rise in sea levels, increasingly extreme weather and the spread of sargassum algae that harm seashores.

Hollande, who is on a five-day visit to the region, also travelled to Cuba and Haiti later in the week.

Minister Hogan reporting on the meeting from Martinique said:

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Minister Claude Hogan represented the Government of Montserrat at this summit

Round table

Montserrat, St Kitts&Nevis and BVI assembly at Climate Change Conference with French President at MartiniqueFORT-DE-FRANCE, Martinique, CMC –A one day Franco-Caribbean summit on the environment ended here Saturday with French President François Hollande calling on wealthy countries to help poor ones deal with the impact of climate change and other environment problems.

Hollande called for “rich countries to help poor countries fight global warming” ahead of the UN Climate Conference in Paris later this year.

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“If there is nothing in terms of finance for countries that are the most vulnerable and the poorest, they won’t follow you,” Hollande said.

The summit was attended by 13 Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders as well as Cuba’s Environment Minister Elba Rosa Prez Montoya.

Hollande also called for the establishment of an international green fund could help the vulnerable, tourism-dependent Caribbean region mitigate the effects of climate change.

“Thanks to this fund, we will be able to find solutions to the problem of global warming,” he said.

Officials have said they hope to secure at least 50 per cent of the US$10 billion that governments have pledged for the fund before the Paris summit begins.

He said climate change is a pressing issue that represents US$600 million a year in costs to the Caribbean region alone, promising to reinforce and expand a local natural disaster fund.

“This is a human issue that has displaced millions of people and caused the disappearance of species every year,” he said.

CARICOM Chairman and Bahamas Prime Minister Perry Christie told the summit that the evidence of the impact of climate change within the CARICOM region is very evident.

He reminded the conference that Grenada recorded a 300 per cent loss in gross domestic product (GDP) as a result of one storm.

“We see across CARICOM, an average of two to five per cent loss of growth due to hurricanes and tropical process which occur annually.

“For the Bahamas, which has 80 percent of its land mass within one metre of mean sea level, climate change is an existential threat to our land mass. Indeed, that is the story across the region. And as I have said from place to place, if the sea level rises some five feet in the Bahamas, 80 per cent of the Bahamas as we know it will disappear. The stark reality of that means, we are here to talk about survival,” Christie said.

President of the Regional Council of Martinique Serge Letchimy, who opened the summit, warned that “half of the islands in the Bahamas could vanish due to rising sea levels”.

“Caribbean Climate 2015 is a push to vigorously encourage the international community to reach an agreement at COP21 to keep global warming below 2 degrees C. This is a crucial goal for Caribbean island nations that are particularly vulnerable to climate change and which only contribute 0.3 percent of global greenhouse emissions.”

French Environment minister Ségolène Royal told the summit that the islands have the means to fight climate change but needed assistance as he read the “Declaration of Fort de France” that appealed on the world’s conscience to fight global warming.

Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said climate change is having a huge impact on his country affecting agriculture and the eco-system.

“As you know we promote heavily ecotourism, and if action is not taken by the international community to halt greenhouse gas emissions we’re going to have a serious challenge.

“We’re a coastal country and as the years go by you are seeing an erosion of the coastal landscape. You have a lot of degradation taking place. That has resulted in us spending tremendous sums of money to mitigate against that.

“Clearly, small countries like Dominica, and indeed the entire OECS do not have the kind of resources required to mitigate against climate change. We are the least contributors but we are the most affected,” Skerrit told the summit.

OECS Director General Dr. Didicus Jules said the the impacts of climate change can be seen everywhere across the region.

“It’s beginning to pose a huge threat as we saw in the case of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The last event there, the damage was equivalent of about more than 20 per cent of their GDP.

“So just a simple event can set us back so drastically and that is why the member states are so concerned because these events have all kinds of downstream impacts on the economy, not just the damage and loss caused by the events themselves.”

The Caribbean islands contribute only 0.3 per cent of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere but suffer their effects in a rise in sea levels, increasingly extreme weather and the spread of sargassum algae that harm seashores.

Hollande, who is on a five-day visit to the region, also travelled to Cuba and Haiti later in the week.

Minister Hogan reporting on the meeting from Martinique said: