Prime Minister Davis calls for action at UN Climate Change Conference

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(BIS Photo/Kemuel Stubbs)

By Kathryn Campbell

In an impassioned speech at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) Hon. Philip Davis Prime Minister and Min. of Finance appealed to world leaders do away with promises and agreements and find the courage to take action to implement ‘specific’ and ‘concrete’ changes to climate change.

“We are out of time, colleagues,” said Prime Minister Davis in his brief statement. “A recent study declared that The Bahamas had the cleanest air in the world. Other studies have shown that our distinctive, beautiful, aquamarine seas are a magnificent carbon sink.

“Our seas reduce the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. The Bahamas is not now and never has been the problem. But yet we are forced to pay the price.

“We are among the ‘Top 10 Most-Vulnerable-Island-Nation States’ in the world. And the question I have for my colleagues today is: Are we brave enough for this moment? Are we braver than our predecessors, who led our nations at the previous 25 climate change meetings? “Can we summon the courage and ingenuity and determination to succeed, where they did not?

Promises and agreements are easy. Action – specific and concrete policy changes– is a lot harder. Action requires courage. COP26, previously scheduled for November 2020, is taking place in Glasgow, Scotland, from October 31 to November 12. World leaders, business executives and activists are participating in the conference which among others is focusing on climate financing, securing global net zero by mid-century and keeping 1.5 degrees within reach — countries uniting to protect communities and natural habitats.

In his plea, Mr. Davis told the delegates that their support through financing and technology transfer is urgently needed so The Bahamas can rebuild for resilience.

“Without change — if we are lucky — we will become refugees. Without change — if we are unlucky — then we will be left to the mercy of future Hurricane Dorians. More of my people will die. More will be left traumatized and homeless. People will be forced to flee… but flee to where?

“These are my neighbours, my family, my friends. My plea is both urgent and deeply personal. And I make it on behalf of all humanity. My Friends, look outside. Our hurricanes are your fires and floods. Our hurricanes are your landslides and drought. Morally and ethically, it has to be beyond imagination and conscience, that we do so little, until it becomes too late.

“Do what is needed, not what you can get away with. Turn promises to Small Island Developing States into action. Don’t hide behind buzzwords and hazy assurances. Don’t let the failures of the past limit our ambition for the present,” he added.