P.M disappointed, not surprised COP24 outcome

Having returned from the Conference of the Parties (COP24) in Poland this week on the convention framework on climate change, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr Sa’ilele Malielegaoi said the road of negotiations had some disappointments. 

One of the main objectives of COP24 was to finalise the rules around the Paris Agreement: how to monitor and regulate the countries and their contributions to mitigating climate change.

Unfortunately, four nations stalled progress on completing that rulebook, with discussions over the recent report by the International Panel on Climate Change, which warned of the dangers of global warming beyond 1.5 degrees. 

“The United States was willing to note the report and express appreciation to the scientists who developed it, but not to welcome it, as that would denote endorsement of the report,” the U.S State Department said, underscoring that the country had not endorsed the report.

Along with the United States, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait wanted the report to be ‘noted’, rather than ‘welcomed’, despite calls by Small Island nations in particularly that the change was unacceptable.

“This is not a choice between one word and another,” said Rueanna Haynes, a delegate for St Kitts and Nevis, speaking to the plenary, calling the discussion “ludicrous.”

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“This is us, as the [United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)], being in a position to welcome a report that we requested, that we invited [scientists] to prepare. 

Prime Minister Tuilaepa said while their actions were disappointing, he wasn’t surprised.

“That’s normal for these countries, it’s understandable that these countries continue to delay as much as possible because they get their money from the sale of oil and the use of coal. 

“But the damage that is done now is attributable to coal and the emissions from the burning of fossil fuels,” he said.

Tuilaepa emphasised the importance of encouraging large, developed nations like those that stalled the rulebook to “fall in line” with the rest of the parties. 

If those fossil fuel producing nations turned to renewable energies, their issues could be solved, Tuilaepa believes. 

“Renewable energy can provide the same energy currently provided by fossil fuels, to ensure the jobs and big corporations can continue to operate on the same level. The secret of it all is to develop renewable energy.”

He said Samoa encourages everyone to use renewable energy, saying that jobs and income can be just as good as from fossil fuels without causing immense damage to the climate, and therefore the planet.

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