The New Today

Commentary

COP 26 – What’s in it for the Planet or Grenada?

Under the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) every country on Earth, i.e. our planet, is bound by a treaty to ‘avoid dangerous climate change’.

To ensure or at least to try and monitor that this is happening, countries are meeting for the 26th time in Glasgow in the UK to attempt to come to a global agreement as to how to accomplish avoiding dangerous climate change.

More than 120 world leaders will be there for the first few days, they will then leave and let their representatives continue with the complex negotiations, approximately 25,000 people are expected to attend in total.

This begs several questions:

Why, in this time of Covid are 25,000 people travelling across the world, from near and far to attend a conference, some of them just a few hours after the G20 in Rome?

Why are leaders even bothering to attend if it is just to show their faces?

Since this conference is explicitly about climate change which is about reducing emissions, why is this conference not being conducted virtually?

Could these discussions not be done more efficiently and productively in some other way thus not costing so much of tax payers’ money? We already have the Paris agreement and those goals are legally binding and enshrined in the treaty.

People who have represented Grenada at some of these COPS are very clear that far too much money is spent on transporting, housing and feeding these ’25,000’ people at each conference, that this also begs the question as to how much money is left for people to actually do the frontline work.

It was also said that far too little time is given by the powerful to those whose issues are gravely important, such as Small Island States like Grenada and the Maldives, the time for presentation and negotiation sometimes being little more than a minute, it becomes obvious that the system is being maintained by the powerful for the powerful.

Hence the entire system needs changing and the next question is, will the five point plan, which we elaborated in last week’s article, developed and endorsed by government leaders representing countries and UN negotiating blocs, making up more than half the nations of the world, be considered enough of a negotiating platform for some change to happen, we can only wait and see.

Goals set at the Paris Accord were non-binding national targets, to cut or curb the growth of gas emissions by 2030 in the first instance. These national targets, known as nationally determined contributions or NDC’s were known to be inadequate in Paris and all countries are now being asked to revise their NDC’s to be in line with a 1.5C target.

Related:  Good governance and climate change

This brings us to another concern; as mentioned in the previous article, Jamaica, has already submitted a very ambitious NDC and almost doubled its clean and renewable energy target.

Where is Grenada’s NDC and if we have one, why are we not being told about our nationally determined contributions? If we do have one, there should have been national consultations in relation to them, but not a word has been uttered to those concerned about climate change and its effects on the environment.

As was seen in the interview between Senator Stiell and Sky, the focus of the conversation was about money, not about environmental damage. There was one shot of the road slippage in Molinere, hinting at the effects of climate change, when it is widely believed that planning turned down the application for the new house to be built, citing the fragility of the infrastructure in the area, but people were granted permission to build by higher powers.

Is this how the Government through its Ministry sees itself achieving a ‘smart island state through sustained protection and management of our natural resources and environmental assets’ as their vision statement proudly declares?

Where is the sustained protection and management of our natural resources when we are selling our mangroves through the CBI (Citizen by Investment) programme?

La Sagesse, Levera, Mt Hartman to name but a few while each week more pristine mangroves and beaches are appearing on the internet being sold for possible new resorts, the latest being called “La Pointe” which is apparently slated for Hope Bacolet.

A villa sited in Silversands is presently for sale at $12.75 million US on the internet – we give away our precious mangroves to foreigners, for next to nothing and no accountability for the money, for them to make millions in profit.

We are giving away our heritage with little in return for local people, merely the destruction of our beautiful and sometimes pristine coastal zones. How is that protection of our natural resources?

There are so many questions and no one willing to respond.

The above reflects the views of Friends of the Earth-Grenada