Barbados is battling climate change and feels it is on the “front line,” said Prime Minister Mia Mottley. Like many Caribbean islands, Barbados is threatened by rising sea levels and extreme weather events like hurricanes that are increasing in intensity and frequency.
Emerging countries like Barbados need financial assistance to adapt to and mitigate against climate change, Mottley insisted.
Twelve years ago, developed nations pledged $100 billion a year towards helping them do it by 2020, but that target was not met. Mottley is among world leaders at the climate change conference (COP26) in Scotland arguing that sufficient measures are not being made. It’s not just a question of countries sharing responsibilities, she said, but of ensuring their very existence. “This issue is about life and death for us. It is an issue about the stability of a nation.”
Mottley has made tackling the country’s spiralling debt a priority, and she negotiated a debt restructuring for Barbados shortly after taking office in 2018 that included “natural-¬disaster clauses” to allow a break in interest repayments in the aftermath of extreme weather events. But the combined impact of those disasters and the Covid-19 pandemic has taken a heavy toll economically on the island. “You are effectively talking about the potential loss of a decade,” Mottley said.
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