LONDON – Hon. Minister of the Environment Claude Hogan was among 30 Commonwealth Parliamentarians who gathered ahead of #COP21 for Legislators Expert Workshop and Meetings on Climate Change.
The three-day workshop was organised by the CPA Secretariat in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) and Globe International. It was part of the CPA’s programme of professional development for Members of Parliament and Parliamentary staff.
Minister Hogan said the workshops were intense but provided a rich opportunity to prepare for the upcoming #COP21. The 21st Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) is scheduled for this December in Paris, France. It will bring together nations including representatives from CARICOM to address the need to keep global warming below 2°C.
This is a critical issue for the Caribbean which is adversely affected by climate change although it contributes 0.3% of global greenhouse emissions.
“The amount of money required to address climate change is enormous and ranging up to 90 trillion US dollars to start addressing issues of adaptation, loss and damage, conservation and protection, which are the main issues for developing countries. The developed countries still have carbon emissions and global warming resulting from their own actions as their primary challenges. The latter problems can lead to wiping our Caribbean islands off the face of the earth. Nobody is ready, but there’s a lot of hope and aspiration that the developed countries will provide some financial commitments at COP 21 in Paris. A lot of the treaty is going to be aspirational and it will take up to five years before implementation starts,” Minister Hogan explained.
While the bigger countries are the main culprits the smaller states must do work to curb any further degradation of the environment. “We need to forego any development that relies on converting the environment for development growth and we need to face sea-levels rising, etc, with their help.”
The minister shared that one of the UK representatives at the workshop said “they didn’t know until 1990 that their industrialization activities would lead us to this point. The science on this is excellent. These researches have all the costing details for every activity and projects across the world to mitigate, store carbon and restore the world or at least preserve most of it. There will be some losses at this stage, but the longer we wait to act the greater the losses. Paris will indeed be a game changer.”
The workshop brought together legislators from the Commonwealth and other Parliaments to engage in discussions on the key thematic areas under negotiations on climate change and to update legislators on the process and other peripheral issues surrounding the negotiations such as caucusing, negotiating techniques and, specifically, the role of parliaments during, before and after the conclusions of negotiations. It also identified and categorised specific climate-related issues and regulatory approaches that can be included in the development of model legislation that underpins climate change.