PRIME Minister Philip “Brave” Davis speaks at COP26.
By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Senior Reporter
PRIME Minister Philip “Brave” Davis has urged world leaders to show courage in the fight against climate change, warning that the world is running out of time to prevent disaster.
His comments came during yesterday’s COP26 summit in Scotland where as many as 130 world leaders and thousands of diplomats, experts and activists have gathered to discuss climate change and to negotiate steps to slow the rise of global temperatures.
Scientists warn that if temperature rise isn’t kept beneath 1.5 degrees Celsius, the planet will experience devastating effects like more deadly floods and more intense droughts.
Mr Davis said more must be done to ensure meetings like the latest summit are more successful than they have been in the past.
“We in The Bahamas will do what we can,” he said, “but the limits of what our nation’s effort can accomplish are stark: we cannot out-run your carbon emissions, we cannot out-run the hurricanes which are growing more powerful and we cannot out-run rising sea levels, as our islands disappear beneath the seas.
“Hurricane Dorian, that monster Category 5 hurricane which devastated two of our main islands, feels like it descended upon us just yesterday. We still don’t know exactly how many died. And some people still tremble at the first drop of rain.
“We are out of time, colleagues. A recent study declared that The Bahamas had the cleanest air in the world. Other studies have shown that our distinctive, beautiful, aquamarine seas are a magnificent carbon sink. Our seas reduce the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. The Bahamas is not now and never has been the problem. But yet we are forced to pay the price.
“We are among the ‘Top 10 Most-Vulnerable-Island-Nation States’ in the world. And the question I have for my colleagues today is: are we brave enough for this moment? Are we braver than our predecessors who led our nations at the previous 25 climate change meetings? Can we summon the courage and ingenuity and determination to succeed, where they did not? Promises and agreements are easy. Action – specific and concrete policy changes – is a lot harder.
Action requires courage. Every leader before us has postponed until tomorrow what needed to happen yesterday. And now tomorrow is here, today, and countries like mine are out of time.”
It is hoped that during the summit countries will set new targets for cutting emissions on the fossil fuels that are heating the planet. The latest United Nations-hosted conference is considered crucial because scientists believe the world is running out of time to keep temperatures from rising above the 1.5 degrees Celsius threshold.
Mr Davis said countries like The Bahamas need support through financing and technology-transfers to “rebuild for resilience.”
He said: “Without change - if we are lucky - we will become refugees. Without change - if we are unlucky - then we will be left to the mercy of future Hurricane Dorians. More of my people will die. More will be left traumatised and homeless.
People will be forced to flee... but flee to where? These are my neighbours, my family, my friends. My plea is both urgent and deeply personal. And I make it on behalf of all humanity.”
Other world leaders have sounded the alarm over climate change during the conference. On Monday, Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley warned that a two degree Celsius rise in global temperatures would be a “death sentence” for island and coastal communities.
“We do not want that dreaded death sentence and we have come here to say, try harder,” she said.
“This is immoral, and it is unjust.
“Are we so blinded and hardened that we can no longer appreciate the cries of humanity?
“If our existence is to mean anything, then we must act in the interest of all of our people who are dependent on us.
“And if we don’t, we will allow the path of greed and selfishness to sow the seeds of our common destruction,” Ms Mottley said.