The small island developing states, the SIDS, can play a starring role at COP23.
As a group they have numbers. They come in at 51 countries. That’s a good-sized pack. They got clout.
They can change the narrative – if they seize the moment.
This is what they need to do:
They tell the UNFCCC secretariat that mitigation, for them, is not on the agenda. The SIDS don’t do mitigation. They didn’t cause the greenhouse gas problem; they can’t solve it; they ain’t gonna do it; it’s not their problem. Sorry.
The priority for the SIDS is reducing their vulnerability to the extreme hazards that will intensify because of climate change. The SIDS need a substantial injection of funds and technical assistance in order to reduce their vulnerability, and to increase their resilience in the face of the violent weather that is a chacteristic of the changing climate. For small islands this in an existential threat.
Because of their extreme vulnerability to climate change and the fact that the islands have made almost no contribution to the increasing levels of CO2 and global warming, the SIDS should insist that their problems be addressed first. They are in the front line. They should be in the front of the line for help.
As a group, the SIDS recognize that every island is different and that national priorities will shape the local agenda. However, the SIDS should commit to a common strategy that will increase their resilience and decrease their vulnerability. This strategy also brings important mitigation benefits. It is an adaptation strategy with substantial mitigation co-benefits.
First, the islands will transition to generating all of their electricity from renewable energy by 2025.
Second, the SIDS will commit to switching all public transport and government service vehicles to electric vehicles by 2025. The importation of all electric vehicles for personal use will be duty free.
To make this happen, each of the SIDS will need to introduce legislation that facilitates the emergence and sustainability of independent power producers (IPPs) at all levels : from household rooftop solar to utility scale power generation across all the islands. This legislation is essential—and the Green Climate Fund should help the islands to produce it.
This is just the SIDS being nice.
Then the SIDS should get a little more stroppy.
They should go after the Green Climate Fund. This is a multimillion dollar fund supposedly set up to help the transition to a ‘greener’ economy.
But the GCF has been taken the cleaners. The fossil fuel ccompanies have persuaded the GCF that investing in natural gas is a ‘green’ solution—since if gas replaces power generated from coal then carbon emissions will be reduced. This is like someone asking you for money so he can cut back on his smoking habit from 2 packs a day to 1. Let me see, um? Might there be another option?
The sheer unadulterated stupidity of this policy by the Green Climate Fund beggars belief. It is so stupendously stupid that it has to –it just has to—involve some kind of illicit under the table payments. Otherwise , you are led to conclusion that the Green Climate Fund is managed by total idiots. Which is more likely?
OK, don’t answer that.
The fossil fuel companies–which have been burning coal for decades, polluting the air that prematurely kills 3 to 4 million people a year, are now asking for subsidies so they can explore for natural gas. Isn’t that an excellent form of blackmail? They are essentially saying: pay up or we’ll make an even bigger mess.
This is not the way you drive down carbon. This is not the way you show leadership in the fight to bring down CO2 emissions. This is not the way you do anything useful to move the planet towards a greener future.
The SIDS need to take a stand. Acting together, they should tell the UNFCC secretariat: not ask, not suggest. They tell the secretariat that this is a shameful policy that must be revoked and rescinded.
COP23 is the moment the world gets to hear about the SIDS. The SIDS are in Bonn to say what they want. When they want it, and how.
The fossil fuel companies that come begging for money from the Green Climate Fund so they can switch from coal or oil to natural gas should be shown the door. In fact they should be kicked out of the door. Solar and wind are cheaper, cleaner, and much, much, better for air quality. Ask the people in Beijing and Delhi. Carbon fuels are poisoning the cities and killing half a million children worldwide a year. These are WHO statistics—you can find them everywhere online.
So at COP23, the SIDS need to get smart, get together, and get organised . There is not just safety in numbers. Numbers bring much more than that.
L’union fait la force. Haitians understood that in 1804. It’s time for the SIDS to show that they understand that now.