The UN Climate Change subsidiary bodies session

“Rich countries need to pay their fair share: Small Island states urge greater near-term climate action”

For small island States, the large emitters are not pulling their weight to address the climate emergency.

“Climate change is primarily caused due to green house gas pollution by the other countries.” stated Ambassador Black-Layne of Antigua and Barbuda plainly. Black-Layne is the lead negotiator for the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), the negotiating group representing the world’s small island nations, among the most vulnerable to climate change.

“These countries have access to the same science as we do so they know better, they have more money that we do, so they can do better” she continued, “…the latest science makes it clear that we are far off track from keeping average global temperatures rise to 1.5 degrees.”

She made the remarks at the opening of the UN Climate Change Conference June sessions, an important virtual precursor to the main event (COP26) to be held in Glasgow in December.

Average global temperatures have already risen 1.2C above pre-industrial levels, and as a result, island nations are already experiencing unprecedented numbers of storms and hurricanes. The World Meteorological Organisation further warns that average global temperature rise is likely to breach 1.5C at least once within the next five years. However, despite the direness of the situation, developed country commitment toward adequate climate finance remains stubbornly short on substance.

“Climate Finance is not development finance. Finance needed to recover after a hurricane is not development Finance… So let’s be clear, Climate Finance pays for the impact of pollution of others.,” the Ambassador told the opening of the meeting. As such, she insisted that it ought not be restricted by “artificial barriers” such as GDP per capita.

Beyond empty pledges, for AOSIS, truly meaningful progress at these negotiations would mean:

  1. The delivery of climate finance that is truly accessible, and commitment by developed countries toward a new global finance goal compatible with a 1.5C world.
  2. Consensus on the timeframes to update climate plans in a way that sustains pressure for all countries to be at their most ambitious.
  3. A breakthrough in the creation of a robust global carbon market with rules that ensure environmental integrity and seeks to deliver an overall reduction in global emissions, rather than creating more loopholes.
  4. Enhanced action and support for Loss and Damage through a fit-for-purpose Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and Damage.
  5. A broadening of the discussion on technology and equity in access to renewable energy. Introducing safeguards to prevent the cheap dumping of soon to be obsolete emissions intensive technologies in small island markets.

“The AOSIS main objective at these talks will be to finally close off the outstanding issues that are preventing the full operationalization of the Paris Agreement. Only then will the implementation work needed to ensure our islands’ survival can truly begin in earnest,” says Ambassador Black-Layne.

The AOSIS opening statement can be found here: https://www.aosis.org/…/climate-sbs-2021aosis-opening…/

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