THE Caribbean is intent on securing a 1.5 degrees Celsius target as a cap in global temperature increases, with the start of the 2015 international climate talks in Paris.
The region’s position was repeated in the speeches of a number of presenters on this the opening day of the global negotiations — reflecting the statements of Dr. James Fletcher, chair of the CARICOM Task Force on Climate Change last week.
“The conversation has been about two degrees Celsius. And we have said, ‘two degrees cannot work for us’. With two degrees Celsius, we will have major ecosystem collapse in many of our countries,” he said.
Fletcher, also Saint Lucia’s minister of sustainable development, energy, science and technology, was speaking at the announcement of the winner of that island’s ‘Media Climate Change Challenge’ — won by journalist Alison Kentish of Helen Television System — on November 26.
“You will have extinction of some of the biodiversity that is so rich — both marine and terrestrial biodiversity — that makes us who we are. Two degrees Celsius will unleash major diseases on us, will cause our coastal defences to be majorly challenged,” added Fletcher, who is also Saint Lucia’s minister of sustainable development, energy, science, and technology.
According to the minister, patron of the ‘1.5 To Stay Alive’ campaign, launched in October to bolster the Caribbean’s efforts in Paris, “It has to be 1.5 degrees Celsius”.
“Now, there is a cynicism among developed countries who say ‘two degrees, 1.5, 2.5, what is the big deal? It is just numbers’. And we keep saying to them, it is not just numbers; we have to leave Paris with an agreement that recognises 1.5 as a threshold for small island developing states like ours,” he said.
Since its October launch, the ‘1.5 To Stay Alive’ campaign has gained momentum, with the implementation of a range of activities — from the launch of its Facebook page (www.1point5.info) and Twitter account (@1point5OK) that have attracted hundreds of followers to the ‘1.5 Selfie Video’ challenge (http://www.1point5.info/actscentral).
These are in addition to a range of creative outputs from artists, including Jonathan Guy-Gladding, out of Saint Lucia, who has done a painting titled ‘1.5 To Stay Alive’. A number of artistes have also been producing songs on the issue all of which can be found at eh website — www.1point5.info.
Meanwhile, it remains any — and everyone’s guess really — whether, in fact, the region will realise its goal given the level of greenhouse gas emission cuts that countries the world over would have to make to reach such a target.
Still, Caribbean islands are tenacious and appear ready to do battle in order to ensure what they consider the survival of the region and the Caribbean way of life.