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Looking Forward to COP 27

COP 26 which took place in Glasgow, Scotland, was a failure. The 26th UN Climate Change Conference brought parties together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Objectives set for that summit were not achieved and now the world is hoping that COP27, scheduled to take place in Egypt, would produce positive results. Belize along with its Caribbean sister counties has begun preparing. Executive Director for Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, Dr. Colin Young gave us an update. 

Dr.Colin Young, Executive Director, Caribbean Community Climate Change Center: “In the last few days we were in Miami convening the first proprietary meeting ahead of COP 27 which as you know is going to be held in Egypt. We brought all of the negotiators from CARICOM together to start to chart the priorities for the region leading up to that COP. As you know COP26 that was in Glasgow did not deliver on the priorities of the region things like loss and damage, things like the hundred billion dollar a year goal and the emissions gap and since then the IPCC has published two reports that essentially are very damning in terms of the predictions of what is going to happen if the world does not quickly and collectively accelerate global ambition so that is what we are doing as the negotiators. We will now package this and start to take it up through the political levels first with the ministers with responsibility for climate change and then the heads of government. Belize is definitely a leader. You know they have submitted their enhanced NDCs, the Nationally Determined Contributions, which is a whole set of actions that the country will pursue in order to both adapt to climate change as well as to mitigate which is to cut back on CO2 emissions. But because of Belize’s excellent track record in setting aside protected areas and forests obviously it’s sequestering a lot of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and that is great but we also have countries like Guyana and Suriname that are part of CARICOM that also have large tracts of forests and they’re also doing a lot to protect those forests. Eight countries in the region have already submitted what is called this enhanced NDCs, the issue now is the money to be able to enact those ambitious actions. So without the money it’s very had to adapt to the effects of climate change and that is why we are making the point to demand that the countries who are responsible for causing climate change they put the money so that countries like Belize and those in CARICOM can adapt.”

Young says that it is important for world leaders to understand what is happening and to act with efficiency. 

Dr.Colin Young, Executive Director, Caribbean Community Climate Change Center: “COP26 was billed as the last best chance to keep 1.5 alive and from that point of view it failed because we wanted to get a 45% reduction in the amount of greenhouse gasses and we left Glasgow on a 14% increased based on the commitments so we’re going in the wrong direction but since then the IPCC has published reports that is saying that we’re going even faster and so now they’re calling the Egypt COP what they call a sort of a bridge to ambition. So the idea is that because Glasgow did not deliver we’re hoping now that Egypt delivers. But you know it’s hard to get a hundred and ninety five countries to agree and so it’s like if we’re asking a hundred and ninety five of my friends which restaurant you’re going to go and eat you know you’re going to have a lot of issues about what type of food they want. And while that’s a simplification the truth is it gets really … you have to end up with compromises and sometimes the compromises that you get are not necessarily in your interest. What we do know that as the glaciers start to melt and Antarctica and the ice sheets start to melt off depending on what rate that is happening then obviously the sea level can rise and rise fast and then if there are instances where Belize City is sinking a little bit you can see with a little bit of sinking, and a little bit of increase it can happen very fast. We have some models that we’ve done at the center and not only Belize City as you know Belize City is on a delta, it’s very flat at or below sea level in some places but if you think about the flat islands like Caye Caulker and San Pedro under those models those islands are completely covered and it’s not …. we used to talk about 2100 and we used to talk about 2070 and so on but what’s happening is that now that’s accelerating.”