Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley speaking at a High-Level Dialogue on Climate Action in the Americas today. (PMO)

Government remains committed to ensuring a protected environment, stable society, and sustainable and resilient economy for its citizens.

Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley reiterated this commitment today as she participated in a High-Level Dialogue on Climate Action in the Americas, which was co-organised by the Governments of Argentina, Barbados, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic and Panama.

In outlining the country’s plans, Ms. Mottley told her audience: “By 2030, we intend to be the first 100 per cent fossil fuel free island state in the world and … to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across all sectors to as close to zero as possible.

“This will be achieved through accelerated investments to significantly increase the share of renewable energy in the electricity generation mix; …fully transitioning the public and private transport sector to electric or alternatively-fuelled vehicles, and … decreasing fossil fuel consumption and improving energy efficiency across all sectors.”

The Prime Minister said that through the specially designed Roofs to Reefs Programme, Barbados would need to mobilise resources to build further resilience to homes, water supplies, roads and sanitation infrastructure, as well as the restoration of a coral reef ecosystem.  

She added that for many small island developing states, it meant changing the water infrastructure, which was installed more than 100 years ago.

“As individual countries confronted with serious fiscal and debt issues, we have greater difficulty in making that transformation of our water infrastructure,” she pointed out.

In painting the grim picture of the sheer devastation that occurred in the Caribbean because of the climate crisis, Ms. Mottley shared the experiences of Grenada, Barbuda, Dominica, Abaco and Grand Bahama when they were severely impacted by hurricanes.

“In my own country at the beginning of July, in a few hours of torrential rain and high winds, Barbados had damage of just under 3,000 homes from a mere Category One Hurricane Elsa.  But this came two weeks after the freak storm that had 46,000 strikes of lightning in less than 90 minutes,” she explained.

She noted that the climate crisis would cause a reversal of development gains by countries and they would not be able to achieve the sustainable development goals.  

Ms. Mottley told the meeting that they were on “the edge of a moral precipice”, and they must take the decisions necessary to ensure positive change in the lives and livelihoods of nations suffering the worst consequences of climate change.

“It is our moral responsibility to ensure that even with the impacts of this COVID-19 pandemic, we must design a green, resilient and inclusive recovery,” she underscored.

Today’s meeting was held to spur greater regional and global action to combat climate change impacts, as the world prepares for COP26, to be held in Glasgow, Scotland, from November 1 to 12.  

The meeting brought together political leaders across Latin America and the Caribbean, global and regional development banks and organisations, technical experts and climate change specialists.

sharon.austingill-moore@barbados.gov.bb

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