CARICOM States must not let up on demanding climate action from G20 – UN Secretary General

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The latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), one of the key organs of the United Nations, issues more alarming evidence that climate impacts are on course to reach catastrophic levels if crucial actions are not taken to address this global  emergency.

The findings of the document were so damning that they were an area of focus for the United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres at the Fourth CARICOM-SICA Summit held on Thursday March 3, 2022.

With reference to the report, Guterres stressed that climate impacts are happening in every region of the world, but especially in vulnerable developing countries and small island states. The United Nations SG said the era of climate disruption has started and Caribbean states are suffering the worst impacts.

Guterres said, “The IPCC report demonstrates that the moment of truth has arrived. We need urgent, transformative efforts to eliminate emissions and halt warming at 1.5 degrees, and to build resilience against the impacts already underway. We need more ambition and action by all, but especially major emitters like the G20, which accounts for 80 per cent of global emissions. They need to keep hearing from you that their addiction to coal and fossil fuels is putting your people at risk. Keep up the pressure on them.”

The SG added, “We need a massive boost in technical and financial support to accelerate the phaseout of coal and create a just transition to renewable energy and green jobs. I have called for developed countries, Multilateral Development Banks and private financiers and other stakeholders to form coalitions to help major emerging economies reduce emissions.”

As promised in Glasgow, Scotland where COP26 was held, he reminded of his statements that the world needs to see a doubling of adaptation finance, along with clear steps to ensure that vulnerable communities can access it through reformed eligibility systems. Guterres, on this note, categorically stated that wealthier countries must make good on the US$100 billion climate finance commitment to developing countries. He said it must happen this year. “And we must ensure that the scale and pace of support continues to grow so that all countries can respond and build resilience,” the Secretary General emphatically stated on this subject.

The IPCC, representing 195 governments, is an intergovernmental body of the UN responsible for providing policymakers with scientific assessments on the risks and implications of climate change. Their reports are peer-reviewed assessments among hundreds of climate scientists and experts. These reports are thorough, science-driven, and unambiguously point to human action as a cause of climate change.

The IPCC has three working groups: Working Group I, dealing with the physical science basis of climate change; Working Group II, dealing with impacts, adaptation and vulnerability; and Working Group III, dealing with the mitigation of climate change. It also has a Task Force on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories that develops methodologies for measuring emissions and removals. As part of the IPCC, a Task Group on Data Support for Climate Change Assessments (TG-Data) provides guidance to the Data Distribution Centre (DDC) on curation, traceability, stability, availability and transparency of data and scenarios related to the reports of the IPCC.

At its 41st Session in February 2015, the IPCC had decided to produce a Sixth Assessment Report (AR6). At its 42nd Session in October 2015 it elected a new Bureau that would oversee the work on this report and the special reports to be produced in the assessment cycle.

In August 2021 the IPCC released the Working Group I contribution to the AR6, Climate Change 2021, the Physical Science Basis

The Working Group III contribution to the AR6 is scheduled for early April 2022.

The Synthesis Report of the Sixth Assessment Report will be completed in the second half of 2022.

The latest report, as referenced by the UN Secretary General, was produced by Working Group II. It was released in the latter part of February 2022.

Experts have said the revenue from Guyana’s oil and gas reserves are key to tackling the country’s and the rest of the Caribbean’s climate change challenges.

Wazim Mowla, a non-resident scholar at Florida International University’s Jack D. Gordon Institute for Public Policy, said in a recent column Guyana should consider allocating a target of a minimum percentage of its oil and gas revenue to be devoted to tackling climate change via adaption and mitigation efforts.

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