Panos Caribbean's Regional Director of Community, Media and Environment; Indi Mclymont-Lafayette being interviewed by Reuters at Climate Communications Day during the Global Climate Change Talks in Durban, South Africa.
By Indi Mclymont-Lafayette, Journalist
Durban, South Africa. December 9, 2011 - Jamaica on Thursday night challenged the negotiators at the United Nations Climate Talks in Durban, South Africa to stop the vacillating and take concrete action to ensure that multilateral regime on climate change can be effective.
“We have been dithering and vacillating for too long and the time for concrete and decisive action is now,” said Keith Porter, who delivered the speech on behalf of Jamaica’s delegation. “… here in Durban we are at a crossroads in the process. There are some difficult but important decisions that must be made if the multilateral regime on climate change is to remain effective.
Porter apologized for the absence of Minister Horace Chang due to ‘urgent matters of national importance’ and stressed that Jamaica was aligning itself with the statements made by Argentina on behalf of the Group of 77 and China as well as Grenada on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS).
“As AOSIS has consistently articulated, a pledge and review system which could lead to temperature rise in excess of 4 degrees will undoubtedly threaten the survival and viability of small island developing states (SIDS),” said Porter.
The AOSIS has been pushing for an extension of the Kyoto Protocol, which sets targets for emission target cuts by developed countries. Several developed countries such as the United States, China, Japan, Russia and Canada are not in favor of a second commitment period of the protocol.
The Jamaican delegation to the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP 17) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). From left, Head of the Meteorological Office in Jamaica, Jeffrey Spooner, Nicolette Williams, Clifford Mahlung,Jamaica's chief negotiator and a representative of the Alliance of Small Island States, (AOSIS) Hopeton Peterson, Keith Porter and Leonie Barnaby of the Ministry of Environment
“We need this protocol and also believe that it is necessary to develop and finalise a complementary protocol to cover the countries that are not party to the Kyoto Protocol,” said AOSIS in its address to the high level segment of the climate talks on Tuesday. “The mandate for this protocol has to be a priority here in Durban and we look forward to concluding negotiations on it. Delay is not an option.”
On Friday, AOSIS joined with the negotiating blocks of countries from the European Union and the Least Developed Countries to press their demands.
They have also been calling for agreement on the implementation of agreements made at the last climate talks in Cancun, Mexico last December as well as resolution on other outstanding issues such as the way forward for the Green Climate Fund and the Adaptation Committee.
“The major emitters have not seen that climate change is very critical to the lives and survival of a large group of people who are not the cause of the problem but will suffer the most. Until that message fully reaches home we can’t solve the problem,” said Clifford Mahlung, Jamaica’s chief negotiator. “There has been some progress on funding for adaptation and we welcome that but if the root of the problem – the emissions of these large countries – is not tackled, then it would be like paying us to die. The small islands will not survive if we do not curtail emissions.”
The UN climate talks have been running since November 28 and are expected to close on December 10. (End/09/12/11)
The Climate & Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) speaks with Indi McLymont-Lafayette, Regional Director, of Community, Media & Environment at PANOS Caribbean. Indi discusses the impacts of climate change in Jamaica and the role of Panos to communicate development issues and the knowledge gaps in the region. – December 13, 2010