Antigua PM calls for intervention on climate change with President-Elect Donald Trump

Antigua Prime Minister Gaston Browne addressing high-level conference on Climate Change in Morocco.
Government of Antigua

Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne has called on all government and special groupings in the United Nations to commence discussions with the incoming Donald Trump Administration of the United States on climate change.

“If the United States waivers in its current leadership on climate change, or if it withdraws from its commitments, a chain reaction will be triggered, that will leave the Agreement in tatters, and the world in peril,” said Browne in addressing at a High-Level meeting of the 22nd Session of the Conference of Parties (COP22) in Morocco on Wednesday.

According to an Antigua and Barbuda government statement, Browne was making reference to the uncertainty of President-Elect of the United States Donald Trump’s position on climate change, which were highly discussed during the lead-up to the Nov. 8 elections in the United States.

“We (the Caribbean) know that global warming, sea-level rise, extreme drought and stronger cyclones, are daggers at the heart of our existence,” the Antiguan leader said.

“For us, ‘1.5 to stay alive’ is not a frivolous slogan; it is a constant reminder that, if temperatures continue to rise, our countries will suffer insurmountable losses,” he warned. “In fact, many small island states will disappear beneath the sea. That is the stark reality facing small island states.

“While my government offers congratulations to the United States President-elect, Donald Trump, and pledges our resolve to work co-operatively with his administration, we are, however, aware that he remains unconvinced of climate change,” Browne continued. “Those of us from small states live with a different reality. We hope it is also a warning to the world’s most developed nations that the tides of the world’s climate will also be battering their most secure bastions.

“In this connection, I call on all governments to begin early conversations with appointees to Mr. Trump’s administration,” he said. “If the United States waivers in its current leadership on climate change, or if it withdraws from its commitments, a chain reaction will be triggered, that will leave the Agreement in tatters, and the world in peril. It is a real danger that must be addressed with urgency.”

Therefore, Browne called on special groupings within the United Nations, such as AOSIS, to mount urgently a collaborative effort to lay out the dangers that confront the globe to the incoming new United States administration.

On a wider point, Browne emphasized that, to fulfill the commitments of the universal Climate Change Agreement, the resources of the Global Environmental Fund and the Green Climate Fund must be replenished.

He also said that adaptation financing must be significantly increased to balance global priorities in line with the Agreement.

The prime minister said average global temperatures have already increased 1 degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels, stating: “We must collectively act now to protect our planet.

“If the global community does not act decisively to curb emissions, it is likely that every ecosystem across the planet will fundamentally change in our lifetimes,” he cautioned. “Therefore, the problem has all the urgency of now.

“The bell may be tolling loudly for small islands that are innocent victims of the profligacy of others, but it is also tolling for all nations, Browne said. “Let us recommit ourselves to immediate collective action, in saving our planet.”

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