Negotiators and ministers with responsibility for climate change have ended their meeting in Saint Lucia determined to make their demands heard in Paris.
Saint Lucia is responsible for climate change issues at the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) level, and the island is bringing together climate change negotiators from the member states to cement its plan for addressing issues during negotiations in Paris in December.
Chief Sustainable Development and Environment Officer, Crispin D’Auvergne says the Caribbean has a lot at stake in the upcoming deliberations, as more and more developed countries are trying to sway the outcome in their favour.
“In view of how the negotiations are going right now, some countries are saying we don’t want ‘this’ in the new agreement, others are saying we want ‘that’ or we want it this way. What are we prepared to accept? What do we see as our red line? What do we see as things that must be there for us to be satisfied with the outcome?” he asked.
Experts say climate change is already affecting Saint Lucia. The country’s Prime Minister Kenny Anthony says his constituency of Vieux Fort North, where Saint Lucia’s sole international airport is located, is particularly vulnerable to flooding and in need of mitigation measures.
“That basin that sits where the airport is. If the sea rises a couple of meters, then we are in very serious trouble. I may be gone by then,” Prime Minister Anthony said. “You may be gone by then too, but the generation around the corner may well see a Vieux Fort Town that is very different from what it is today. The challenge for all of us is how are we going to build the defenses that we need to protect communities like Vieux Fort, not just here but of course, elsewhere.”
CARICOM countries have been talking tough as they gear up for the discussions.
They say they are prepared to walk out of negotiations if rich nations do not commit to a meaningful reduction in greenhouse gases, noting that the 15-nation CARICOM bloc will not accept an unfavourable agreement.