COP26: Opening Ceremony – World Leaders Summit. (UN Climate Change)

If the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) is to deliver on the promises made in the Paris Agreement, it must close the gaps in climate mitigation, national determined contributions and climate finance.

Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley expressed this view today as she delivered remarks at the opening ceremony of the COP26 World Leaders’ Summit in Glasgow, Scotland, which had earlier been addressed by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and His Royal Highness, Prince Charles.  

Ms. Mottley said the COVID-19 pandemic had taught the world that national solutions to global problems did not work.

“We come to Glasgow with global ambition to save our people and…planet. But we now find three gaps on mitigation, climate pledges or NDCs. Without more, we will leave the world on a pathway to 2.7 degrees and with more, we are still likely to get to 2 degrees. These commitments made by some are based on technologies yet to be developed, and this is at best reckless and at worse dangerous,” the Prime Minister stated.

With regard to climate finance, she said the funds were $20 billion short of the promised $100 billion, and this commitment, even then, might only be met in 2023.

“… Adaptation finance remains only at 25 per cent, not the 50/50 split that was promised nor needed, given the warming that is already taking place on this earth. Climate finance to frontline small island developing states declined by 25 per cent in 2019. Failure to provide the critical finance and that of loss and damage is measured…in lives and livelihoods in our communities. This is immoral and it is unjust,” she noted.

Prime Minister Mottley said the central banks of the wealthiest countries engaged in $25 trillion of quantitative easing in the past 13 years, and of that amount, $9 trillion was in the last 18 months to fight the pandemic.

“Had we used that [$]25 trillion to purchase bonds to finance the energy transition or the transition of how we eat or how we move ourselves in transport, we would now today be reaching that 1.5 degrees’ limit that is so vital to us.

“…An annual increase in the SDRs [special drawing rights] of $500 billion a year for 20 years, put in a trust to finance the transition is the real gap Secretary General, that we need to close, not the 50 billion being proposed for adaptation. And if 500 billion sounds big to you, guess what? It is just two per cent of the 25 trillion,” she indicated.

As she urged her colleagues to lead, Ms. Mottley said leaders of today must make the right choice, as the people and planet needed it more than ever.

She stressed that small island developing states needed 1.5 degrees Celsius to survive. Two degrees, she argued, was a death sentence for several countries, and she listed Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Maldives and Samoa as included in that group. 

“We do not want that dreaded death sentence. We’ve come here today to say…try harder because our people, the climate army, the world and planet need our actions now, not next year, not in the next decade,” the Prime Minister insisted.

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