(City of Belmopan, Belize) Seven of the fourteen CARICOM Member States which are
parties to the Paris Agreement on climate change delivered statements on Saturday, 12
December 2020, at the Climate Ambition Summit organized by the United Kingdom,
France and the United Nations in cooperation with Chile and Italy. The event was to
celebrate the 5th Anniversary of the Paris Agreement.
The Summit was organized to
provide countries with an opportunity to showcase their ambition to address climate change
through enhanced Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), the provision of finance
and bold action on adaptation. All Parties had committed to submit updated NDCs in 2020
to limit global warming to as far below 2 degrees Celsius as possible above the preindustrial
level and make efforts to limit it to 1.5 degrees.
Barbados’ ambitious announcement of net zero emissions by 2030 was widely praised by
the international community. Prime Minister of Barbados, Honourable Mia Mottley
launched her address with the SIDS refrain, “1.5 to Stay Alive”. She noted that global
emissions of greenhouse gases continued to rise while the window of opportunity to meet
the 1.5-degree target was rapidly closing, referring to one of the conclusions of the
landmark IPCC Special Report on 1.5 that emissions had to be cut by 50% by 2030.
Dr the Right Honourable Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister of Grenada expressed
disappointment that the COP had failed to welcome that report when it had been issued in
2018. He called on the parties to be more ambitious at COP 26 in 2021 and to finalize the
outstanding provisions to operationalize the Paris Agreement. He commended theleadership of the
United Kingdom which included a cut of 68% in its emissions by 2030.Grenada’s new NDC included
economy wide commitments with the aim of becoming the first climate ready city in the region.
The Honourable Allen Chastanet, Prime Minister of Saint Lucia noted that the country had
committed to reducing their already miniscule emissions through sectoral actions including
in the energy sector through legislation that addressed energy generation and the promotion
of e-mobility. He also called on the COP to conclude its discussions on transparency and
market mechanisms in the Paris Agreement.
Quoting Usain Bolt, the Prime Minister of Jamaica, Most Honourable Andrew Holness
said that determination “made the impossible possible”. Jamaica’s new NDC included new
measures to increase deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency measures as
well as reducing emissions in the forestry sector.
His Excellency Chandrikapersad Santokhi, President of Suriname noted that his country
had been the second to submit a new NDC in December 2019. He called for the
establishment of a global mechanism to access concessional financing and the need to leave
no one behind.
Prime Minister of Belize, the Honourable John Briceno, said that Belize’s new NDC would
trigger tipping points by reducing 16 million tons of carbon dioxide in forestry and
increasing the share of renewable energy generation to 85% by 2030. As the Chair of the
Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), he noted the leadership demonstrated by small
island States in the quest to achieve the 1.5-degree target.
Antigua and Barbuda will assume the chair of AOSIS in 2021. The island’s Prime Minister,
Honourable Gaston Browne welcomed the announcement that the United States would re-
enter the Paris Agreement and called on them to join China in demonstrating the leadership
required to meet the 1.5-degree goal with a plan of action.
Only 75 countries were provided the opportunity to deliver statements at the Climate
Ambition Summit. To have 50% of CARICOM Member States which are parties to the
Paris Agreement invited to deliver statements, is a testament to the ambition and
determination of the region.
The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre and the CARICOM Secretariat in
collaboration with the United Kingdom had organized a CARICOM Moment of Ambition
on the eve of the Summit as a prelude to the event.