National Statement by Hon. Eric Evelyn
Minister of Environment and Co-operatives
St. Kitts and Nevis
Tuesday November 9, 2021
COP26 Glasgow, Scotland
Presidents, Prime Ministers, Excellencies, Delegates, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today, the delegation of St. Kitts Nevis comes with one simple message – the time for action is NOW! We are here at a time when the entire world is languishing from the horrors of climate change including sea level rise, extreme weather events, and dramatic changes in rainfall patterns. We are here at a time when coastal towns and villages and even entire islands face destruction; at a time when lives and livelihoods are at stake, all undoubtedly attributed to human interference. Yet, enough action is not being taken to remedy this situation that worsens with every second that the clock ticks.
We are at a crossroad where the science is explicit; that to contain climate change to an acceptable level we must limit global temperature increase to 1.5°C. The latest IPCC report indicates that we still have a chance but must act now in order to reach net zero emissions by mid-century.
Climate change is real and St. Kitts and Nevis has launched during COP26 a more significantly ambitious Revised Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) proposing to reduce emissions by 61% by 2030 compared to 2010 levels.
Our revised NDC is an example of the leadership displayed by most vulnerable countries in particular us in the Caribbean and other SIDS and LDCs as we continue to demonstrate leadership despite only being responsible for 7% of global Green House Gas emissions. We suffer the most from a problem that we did not create. Yet we are deprived of much needed climate finance for loss and damage, mitigation and adaptation efforts. This, Mr. President is unacceptable and it has to change. We need climate justice.
St. Kitts and Nevis will heavily invest in renewable energy with plans for a 35 megawatt solar farm to be operational in two years and we continue to aggressively pursue geothermal power.
Climate friendly policies will enable us to advance initiatives to reduce our carbon footprint. Our efforts have been complemented by the friendship of the Republic of China (Taiwan).
Taiwan has demonstrated its commitment to the climate dilemma by enacting appropriate legislation and announcing an ambitious NDC including achieving net zero emissions by 2050. Mr. President, with such exceptional efforts, Taiwan deserves a seat at the table and I humbly ask that Taiwan be admitted to the Convention.
Mr. President, the gap between where we are heading and where we need to be is far too large and we absolutely must have an outcome that fits the scale of this climate crisis.
Let us stand on the right side of history. We cannot wait another day, week, month, or year, we need action NOW. The world is a global village and the decisions you make in the United States affect us in the Caribbean; the decisions that you make in China, Canada and the United Kingdom affect the little girl and boy in the Pacific.
The world is depending on us at COP26 so let us not disappoint. I implore us all to solemnly pledge to save ourselves from extinction.
As I close I am obligated to remind us all that the environment and Planet Earth need champions. I am committed to be one and so is my country St. Kitts and Nevis. I leave you with this question, Are you prepared to be one?