Grenadian minister calls on developed nations to take biggest climate change responsibilities
A senior small island politician has demanded industrialized nations face up to their responsibility in leading a global solution to the global threat of climate change.
Grenada Environment Minister Michael Church, whose country chairs the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) said those developed countries who polluted in the biggest way over the history of industrialization must make the biggest sacrifices now.
"We believe the historical responsibility becomes an extremely important and critical element in what we do now and in the future," Church told Xinhua in a recent interview.
"In other words, we should not, not withstanding our smallness, we should not sit back and allow countries to get away by not taking their responsibilities. It has nothing to do with ideologies. It has everything to do with the survival of man on this planet."
Small island nations face the direct threat of climate change. For the 42 member nations of AOSIS, survival is non-negotiable.
AOSIS insists the increase in global temperatures must be kept below 1.5 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial level. If not, island countries such as the Maldives and Tavulu may disappear in this century,Church warned.
"Because of the sacrifices we have made, they could develop," said Church referring to the developed countries. "It is time now they look at how they can begin an orderly exchange or transfer of technology, financing for adaptation and mitigation so that the entire world will get benefits in a more sustainable manner as we proceed with development."
Church spoke to Xinhua in his office in St. George, capital of Grenada, an island country situated in the southernmost tip of the Windward Islands of the Caribbean Sea.
Grenada covers 344 square kilometers and has an estimated population of 110,000. Coconut trees, white sand beaches and clear water are the symbols of this picturesque island. For Church, the survival of his beautiful country depends to a great extent on international climate change negotiations.
Church stressed the environment-friendly technologies available should not be withheld from small countries and developing countries.
"We must get to the point where we can exchange in the most reasonable way these technologies for the advancement of mankind...the transfer of technology should not be solely or predominately driven by the profit motive, but more so by our desire to make progress," Church said.
He thinks China and AOSIS have a lot in common in terms of climate change policy. "I've noticed that we have very very much in common. China is one of the very few countries, bigger countries that have really indicated an understanding of the position of small island states," he said.