Durban, South Africa. 8th December – Flooding and landslides caused by unseasonal intense rainfall this year have caused damage in excess of US$100 million or 10 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of tiny eastern Caribbean island of Dominica, a UN Climate conference heard.
Last year, Dominica which promotes itself as the Caribbean’s nature island suffered its most severe drought and months later, by a hurricane.
“Climate change is real and gone are the days when climate change was thought to be a figment of the imagination of a few mad scientists and environmental extremists,” Dr. Kenneth Darroux, Dominica’s Minister for Environment told the high level session of the conference which is debating issues of reducing impact on climate change.
“I hate to sound like the prophet of doom, but if urgent action is not taken, the world as we know it will cease to exist…,” he later added.
Highlighting a wish-list, Dominica wants the two-week old conference which ends Friday to agree to a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol which ends in 2012; a mandate for a legally binding instrument under the Convention and increases in mitigation ambition to bring greenhouse gases in line with the under 2 degree Celsius/1.5 degree Celsius pathway.
Barbados Minister of Environment and Drainage, Dr. Dennis Lowe said Small Island Developing States (SIDS) cannot afford to support a politically expedient deal in Durban that condemns countries to an uncertain future or at worst, no future at all.
“As a small island state, Barbados strongly subscribes to the view expressed by AOSIS (Alliance of Small Island States) that Durban must deliver an outcome that responds to the gravity of the challenge before us,” he said at the high level segment.
Barbados, he said, was extremely concerned about the mismatch between the pace of negotiations and the urgency of the issues before the two-week old conference which ends Friday.
Two of the main issues that have not yet found consensus that is at the heart of concerns by Caribbean countries are a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, the only global instrument for reducing emissions of industrialised countries and the green climate fund which promises to provide up to channel US$100 billion a year in aid to developing nations.