Barbados: Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley of Barbados has been an integral part of the contingent of Caribbean leaders who made their way to COP28. As an immensely popular leader in her nation and a rising voice at an international level, she has been influencing proceedings in Dubai with her strong stance on the climate crisis and related issues.
Alliances formed at COP28
PM Mia Motley has utilized her time at COP28 by interacting with world leaders and important personalities in the conversation surrounding climate change, economics and energy production.
She met Dr Getahun and Dr Tedros, as well as the rest of the team representing the World Health Organisation (WHO). Some of the major points of discussion between them included the south-south health alliance and the UNGA coming up in September 2024. They also publicly endorsed COP28’s Climate and Health Declaration, bolstering the agenda of the entire exercise.
PM Mottley also interacted with the First Minister of Scotland, Humza Yousaf, who is also the leader of the National Scottish Party. The two leaders have helped Barbados and Scotland establish a close relationship in terms of investments, trade, sustainable and renewable energy sources and electricity generation. Through this alliance and by building a close working relationship, both nations are aiming at revolutionizing the renewable energy industry.
Alexia Latortue, the Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury, also sat down with Prime Minister Mia Mottley in the presence of James Scriven, the CEO of IDB Invest and Hong Paterson, CFO of GCF. These dignitaries came together for the US Treasury Department’s “Small Islands, Big Challenges” event.
PM Mottley’s impact at COP28
PM Mottley has emerged as one of the most important and recognizable leaders from the Caribbean region and has managed to become a strong voice for her people on the international stage.
She is also said to be the most likely among the list of candidates who might succeed Antonio Guterres as the United Nations Secretary General.
PM Mottley’s demand for a global taxation system which applies to the oil and gas industry, financial services and the shipping industry has caught the attention of many at COP28. The rationale to support this demand is that the capital generated by taxing these services will fund the efforts of poorer nations who have to cope with the severe effects of climate change.
She also pointed out that through these means, trillions of dollars could be provided to developing nations. This way, they will be better equipped to facilitate a rapid adaptation to the current scenario while also initiating practices which reduce the impact on the environment in the future.
These practices will also be helpful in reducing the significant losses that some nations incur by way of climate change related disasters.
These demands are being met in some regard, with the introduction of the loss and damage fund at COP28. In fact, Prime Minister Mia Mottley was quick to appreciate hosts, the United Arab Emirates and Germany for pledging hundreds of millions of dollars to the fund.
Regardless of this positive development, larger and more comprehensive pledges from a large number of nations are necessary to meet the needs of the developing world. This is a fact that PM Mottley is cognizant of as well.
According to PM Mottley, if the global financial services tax is kept at 0.1%, that should be enough to raise $420 billion to cover the costs of losses due to climate change in developing countries. That number is significantly higher than the current figure which stands at $720 million.
“If we took 5 per cent of oil and gas profits last year — oil and gas profits were $4 trillion (£3.1tn) — that would give us $200bn (£158bn)” added PM Mia Mottley.
She also spoke about taxing global shipping, “If we had a 1 per cent tax on the value of shipping — last year, the value of that was $7tn (£5.5tn) — that would give us $70bn (£55bn).”
Her agenda was also supported by climate activists who used the event to stage protests, seeking more financial support to tackle the ill effects of climate change.
It must be noted that the G20 countries, which include developing and industrial nations, are responsible for four-fifth of the total global green-house emissions.
Division on climate tax in the United States
Organisations such as the Climate Vulnerable Forum, have voices their concerns regarding the limited financial input to funds which look to tackle the climate crisis at a global level. Secretary General Mohammed Nasheed was displeased with the fact that the money acquired for this task is limited to a few hundred million instead of trillions which is the requirement.
The United States of America has made attempts to apply a global tax but these initiatives have been opposed by republicans in Congress who have taken issue to funding the various programs and multilateral institutions involved in this endeavor.
With such variance in opinions as to what is the appropriate way of handling the problem at hand, it is assumed by many that the conversation regarding climate change is far to divisive and lacking the urgency necessary to alleviate the stresses on nations which are suffering the most due to this crisis.