The Alliance of Small Island States welcomes the convening of the November Climate Dialogues and the objective to progress the substantive climate agenda. In the midst of the COVID-19 upheaval, there has been no reprieve from constant climate upheaval. Our climate system is manifesting a new norm of extreme events across every continent – from faster than expected Arctic sea ice melt and sea level rise, raging bushfires in Australia and the USA, prolonged drought in South America, to centennial flooding in Africa, and super cyclones and hurricanes from Asia Pacific to the Caribbean. And let us not forget the global pandemic upon us.
COVID-19 is not a climate event but it is the result of our transgression of nature. What’s more, it exposes our collective vulnerability and utter unpreparedness to deal with extreme events that will occur at the global scale just like this pandemic if great powers keep shirking their responsibilities. Small islands have long been the bellwether of this climate reckoning, chronicling each year the worst case scenario of humanity’s climate future. No longer is that future an IPCC projection or what deniers call ‘science fiction’. That future is now;
that so-called fiction, is our reality. And more warming is in the pipeline. We are still on track of a warming of more than 2.5°C by the end of the century and if we fail to achieve very stringent emissions reductions in the next decade, we will exceed the 1.5°C limit before
mid-century. With increasing warming, millions will be displaced, millions more will be impoverished and trillions will be lost due to the impacts of climate change.
There is no time for dithering and no time for posturing – this is our last chance to get the world on a 1.5°C compatible trajectory.
We must all come together to deliver on the Paris promise, because, quite frankly our lives and that of all our children depend on it. Moreover, we must recognize that the COVID-19 response and recovery will determine the future of global GHG emissions for decades to come. So it is imperative that our decisions and actions be guided by science and by the objectives of the Paris Agreement. These November Dialogues must raise the bar of ambition. They must leave an unmistaken impression that we are committed to act boldly, with urgency, and at scale to turn down the heat. For AOSIS, there are four clear deliverables we expect:
Above all, we expect that these events will foster dialogue and engender solidarity for a unified global push toward 1.5 and our improved climate resilience. AOSIS is committed to engage constructively in the mandated events and informal dialogues with all stakeholders. I take this opportunity to thank the Executive Secretary, Ms Patricia Espinosa for her stellar leadership in this process even during these difficult times, and the Government of Chile for the work they are undertaking as the COP President. We note however that the timing of these dialogues are not conducive to participation by all Parties, many in Small Island Developing States, and reiterate what was stated to the Bureau that these dialogues should be held in parts so that all can participate. This also entails that a record must be kept of all the sessions, so as to inform those that participate in the latter sessions.
Last but definitely not least AOSIS expresses its full support to the UK as the incoming COP President, and our commitment to work with you to deliver the outcome we need to secure a safer and more resilient future for the most vulnerable.
I thank you.