The Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley, delivered a deliberate and inspiring speech at the Opening of the COP27 summit in Egypt, telling world leaders to act on the promises they made on climate change.
She began by decrying the numerous and crippling extreme weather events experienced around the world in the past year, “I don’t need to repeat that we have the power of choice… I don’t need to repeat that this is the COP that needs action… I don’t need to repeat the horror and the devastation wrecked upon this earth over the course of the last twelve months since we met in Glasgow.”
Stressing that despite all the impressive things that humanity is capable of and the advances it has made, the issue of climate justice remains unfulfilled and unprioritised. “Why? Why are we not moving any further… We are in the country that built pyramids, we know what it is to remove slavery from our civilisation, we know what it is to be able to find a vaccine within two years when a pandemic hits us, we know what it is to put a man on the moon and now we’re putting Rover on mars.”
“But the simple political will that is necessary not just to come here and make promises but to deliver on them and to make a definable difference in the lives of the people who we have a responsibility to serve seems… not…capable of being produced. I ask us how many more and how much more must happen.”
Coming to the root of the negligence she spoke to the role of industrialised nations and international financiers, “The Global South remains at the mercy of the Global North… how many more people must speak before those of us who have the capacity to instruct our directors at the World Bank… and the IMF?”
“How many more countries must falter particularly in a world that is now suffering the consequences of war and inflation and are therefore unable to meet the challenges of finding the necessary resources to finance their way to net zero.”
The most pressing issue in climate justice is gaining finance for mitigation, adaptation, and loss and damage. PM Mottley spoke on how the odds already favour the Global North despite their direct contribution to the current climate crisis.
“This world looks still too much like it did when it was part of an imperialistic empire. The Global North borrows between interest rates of between 1-4%. The Global South at 14%. And then we wonder why the just energy partnerships are not working. Similarly, we ask ourselves if countries that want to finance their way to net zero and want to do the right thing can’t get the critical supplies, will they not have to rely again on natural gases…”
The Global North borrows between interest rates of between 1-4%. The Global South at 14%. And then we wonder why the just energy partnerships are not working
“We accept that there was and must be a commitment to unlocking concessional funding for climate-vulnerable countries. There is no way that developing countries who have been graduated can fight this battle without access to concessional funding… It is critical that we address the issue of loss and damage. The talk must come to an end.”
In a different COP27 event organised by Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon she continued to expound on how poorly the Global North was managing climate crises and how it is burdening the countries that least contributed to it.
“We were the ones whose blood, sweat, and tears financed the industrial revolution,” she said. “Are we now to face double jeopardy by having to pay the cost as a result of those greenhouse gases from the industrial revolution? That is fundamentally unfair.”
Watch the Opening speech here: