Caribbean diplomat says SIDS are the conscience of the planet

WARSAW, Poland–Trinidad and Tobago’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Rodney Charles, says Small Island Developing States (SIDSs) are being viewed as the “the conscience of the planet,” as global climate talks continue here.

 Charles, who is also his country’s lead negotiator at the talks, told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) that “we are seen here as the conscience of the planet and our job is to constantly remind them of the consequences of inaction and their two roles in that regard.

“One is taking the necessary action to moving toward a low carbon economy and secondly, to do what is necessary to help countries to adapt to the consequences of higher temperatures,” he said as the 19th  session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations  Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 9th session of the Conference of the Parties moved into a second and final week.

He said that negotiators from the Caribbean were having  “significant discussions” regarding the status of the negotiations as they relate to mitigation and adaptation goals.

“Right now, we are forcefully presenting the case that unless we take urgent action, that we are actually facing the possibility that the planet may be irreversible condemned to higher temperatures and all the consequences that flow from that.

“We are getting a significant amount of pushback from developed countries who are not prepared to come up with the funding necessary to assist countries who are the victims of the consequences of higher temperatures as a consequence of global emission,” he added.

The discussions here are being attended by delegates from more than 200 countries and the Caribbean Community operates within the SIDS and Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) umbrella.

Charles made reference of the passage of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines earlier this month, which claimed 3,000 lives and tornadoes in the United States earlier this week, saying “we are not saying that these things are necessarily directly connected to climate change, but what we are told by the science, we can expect increasing frequency of high-impact climatic phenomena.

“Our challenge is to keep the world always mindful of the challenges of climate change.”

Developing nations at the talks were surprised by Japan’s announcement last week that it was decreasing its 2020 carbon emissions target.

AOSIS issued a “strong statement” saying they are taken aback by that action, Charles said, noting “Ii gather from the body language of the Japanese ambassador that they were not expecting the kind of reaction from the global community.

“So, what we are seeing now is a moving together of forces that suggests that climate change and inaction on climate change and revising ambition will not be looked at without a reaction,” he told CMC..

Asked if he thinks that the talks will end with the Caribbean in a favourable position, Charles said, “it remains to be seen.

“This is my first climate change conference and i am told that in the last two days, one sees a rising of action in order to come to a conclusion. I am hoping that.

 “But the purpose of this meeting is not to agree on climate change goals,” Charles, said, noting however, “the purpose of this meeting is to set in train and lay the groundwork for the secretary-general meeting that will take place next year with political leader and the meeting next year in Peru, and, finally, COP21 in France.

“I think that given what we are facing and the fact that the earth cannot entirely and totally and forever absorb the consequences of our inaction, that something will happen,” Charles told CMC.

Meanwhile, UNFCCC executive secretary, Christiana Figueres, told reporters that “”at minimum”, developing countries need to feel confident that the commitment to the agreed upon US$100 billion for climate finance by 2020 “is still on the table despite growing financial circumstances”.

She said that developing nations say there needs to be more clarify on how that funding is going to be mobilised, and that there need to be a reiterated and strengthened commitment to the operationalisation of the green climate fund.

Pin It

Community Rules is really happy to provide this forum in which all are encouraged to freely state their opinions without ridiculing anyone or being ridiculed. We've found that happens really easily if each comment is limited to the topic at hand. We will approve any comment that speaks solely to the story to which it is attached and is free from name calling and defamatory statements.

While we will not post comments questioning moderators' judgement, we will take such suggestions into consideration as possible ways to improve the experience of all community members. If you feel your submission has been disallowed unfairly or if a breech slips through our net, please let us know by e-mailing