Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, is of the belief that the developed world is not doing enough in terms of climate change and questioned whether Dominica should even attend international conferences on the matter.
He spoke at a press conference on Monday on the sixth anniversary of the passage of Hurricane Maria which devastated Dominica on September 18, 2017. Many climate experts have warned more powerful hurricanes will occur frequently in the future because of climate change.
It was a point that Skerrit reiterated when he spoke.
“The reality is hurricanes are gonna come more frequently and more ferociously, that’s what the science is saying.” he stated.
Based on that fact, Skerrit said he is calling on the developed world to do more in responding to the impact of climate change.
“They have made promises at the Paris Agreement, every COP summit there are promises made by the developed world,” he said.
“We started off many years ago with [them] saying, well they needed to provide us with grants to build mitigation against storms and to build resilience. Then they move to saying it’s a loan, they move to green bond. They move now to saying the private sector will do investments. I am not sure which private sector firm will build a sea defense wall or to build a hospital for government. Really and truly, the developed world is not living up to their expressed and agreed promises.”
The Paris Agreement, also called COP21, is an international treaty, named for the city of Paris, France, in which it was adopted in December 2015. It aims to reduce the emission of gases that contribute to global warming and climate change.
The next meeting of the agreement, called COP28, is expected to take place in Dubai from 30 November to 12 December 2023, and Skerrit wondered whether Dominica should attend.
“Every time a COP conference comes up, we ask ourselves, should we go, isn’t that a waste of money to go,” he stated.
However, according to Skerrit, Dominica should not give up fighting against, what he described as “an injustice.”
“If our forebearers were to say too many people died in attempts for emancipation and therefore let us just agree that we will remain slaves for the rest of our lives, we would not be here as free black people or free people in the world,”he remarked.
“And so it is an injustice that we have to continue to fight.”
He went on to say that the fight against climate change should not rest only on the shoulders of the government but everyone should play their part.
“What I always say to Caribbean people in particular is that, this should not appear to be a fight only for the government,” Skerrit said.
“We must recognize that it must be a fight for all of us to play our part.”
He said that climate change affects everybody and therefore “it is important for us to lend our voices calling on the international community to play their part in addressing the issue.”
He stated that in light of the devastation caused by Maria, climate change should seen as an “existential threat.”
“And so let us take this moment to reflect on where we were on the morning of September 19 (2017), when we woke up to the reality of the impact of the natural disaster Maria (had) on us,” the Prime Minister stated.