PRIME Minister Philip “Brave” Davis.
PRIME Minister Philip “Brave” Davis stressed the impact climate change has on low-lying countries like The Bahamas while calling on international youth leaders to lobby for change.
He made the remarks while delivering a speech to One Young World ambassadors during a virtual conference. One Young World is an international forum for youth leaders.
“The UN Climate Change Conference, COP 26, is coming up, as global leaders prepare to discuss measures to get all countries closer to the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change,” he said.
“As the leader of a small island state, and a particularly low-lying one at that, climate change represents the greatest existential threat that The Bahamas has ever faced. That threat materialised two years ago, in the form of terrible Hurricane Dorian, which left a path of death and destruction in its wake.
“We also experienced major hurricanes in 2015, 2016, and 2017. Lives and livelihoods have been lost and our fear is that there is no end in sight. This trend will increase as long as global greenhouse gas emissions remain unchanged.
“So, when I speak of the threat of climate change, I am not talking about some far-off catastrophic event that will occur decades from now; countries like mine are already experiencing those disasters today.”
Mr Davis said hurricanes are not the only threat that climate change poses. He noted that an estimated 15 percent percent of the country’s national GDP and 11 percent of Bahamian people are threatened by the accompanying rise in sea level.
“Our marine life and fisheries are also at risk, as climate change threatens the survival of critical marine habitats like coral reefs.
“We need big, radical changes to abate this trend and save countries like The Bahamas from a perilous fate. Every coastal region in the world has been, or will be, severely impacted by climate change in some way.
“The world is running out of time if we wish to halt the worst effects of climate change. The summer of 2021 was the hottest on record. As hot as this summer has been, many predict that it may be the coolest summer we experience for the rest of our lives – if decisive action is not taken.
“Each year, as we miss global targets for emissions, we always recommit and promise to do better the following year. There seems to be a running assumption that there is always another chance to turn it all around. Unfortunately, the day is fast approaching when we will be out of extra chances. When it comes to climate change, indecision and procrastination are luxuries we cannot afford.
“The time for action is now.”
Mr Davis said change can come in the form of policies in the expected areas like the shipping industry, aviation, and deforestation adding that helpful reforms can also be found in unexpected places, such as food waste.
“Food waste accounts for an estimated 10 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions – that’s more than the airline industry. Yet, it is rarely discussed within the climate change discussion,” he said.
“We could make a considerable dent in emissions just by eliminating the amount of waste produced at our dinner tables and in our local restaurants, farms, and factories.
“Of course, my objective is not to single out any single industry, but to point out the need for widespread, multi-sectoral reforms for us to have a real shot at halting and reversing the effects of climate change. We must explore every viable solution.
“I implore you to join me in spreading the word about the urgent need for global climate action, and I am extending a standing offer for One Young World to hold a Youth Ambassador Summit here in The Bahamas to further discuss this issue.”