Mr. President, I join in commending you for hosting this momentous convergence of world leaders, to set the stage for the United Nations Climate Change conference this year. As we grapple with the global pandemic, I believe our presence here is testimony to our recognition that we are at a critical juncture; a tipping point.
This is the last decade, 2020-2030 – the last chance to set the world on track to 1.5 degrees. The question is, will we rise to the challenge? Will our moral conscience prevail? Small Island Developing States as my country, Saint Lucia, whose special circumstances and needs were settled in Paris, is in the midst of a crisis for humanity.
The UN Secretary-General described the IPCC Working Group 1 Report as “a code red for humanity.” Undeniably, certain changes, such as the sea-level rise and ocean acidification are already locked in, with dire consequences for SIDS and low lying states. But we know that 1.5 degrees Celsius is still within our reach. To achieve it, we must act, and act now!
Countries must urgently bring forward new NDCs with 2030 targets consistent with the 1.5-degree temperature goal, supported by credible net zero-by-2050 long-term strategies. We must support wind, solar and other renewable energy investments.
The power to turn things around lies in our collective hands. We must be focused and resolute. We cannot vacillate on matters of human survival.
In this regard, world leaders must deliver on the long-term climate finance goal that was promised, supporting, not only mitigation but also adaptation. We must also raise the profile of, and mainstream loss and damage as a distinct pillar of climate action and support.
It is high time that we complete the Paris Rulebook. When we bring to fruition that vital work, we can strengthen accountability and enable the highest possible ambition while ensuring transparency and environmental integrity.
Colleagues, friends, we, in the developing world, are on the front lines, exposed. Our poor vulnerable citizens have limited ability to respond to climate change effects and so, their quality of life is significantly diminished.
As responsible leaders, can we, in good conscience, sacrifice humanity for industry? Will we continue to ignore the science to gamble with the future of our youth, women, indigenous communities, the private sector, and NGOs? What are the prospects for nations like Taiwan, yet to be recognised, but also confronting climate change, while supporting SIDS?
The young people who will inherit this planet, are watching us. We cannot fail them. Let us not be that generation of leaders who had the last chance to set the world on track, but chose not to put people first.
I thank you.