Hurricane Dorian flattened communities in the Bahamas. (Photo” Gonzalo Gaudenzi/AP)

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves has told the United Nations that the rapid acceleration of climate change is “the menacing manifestation of a failed multilateralism.

“Faced with a common threat, ample warning, and overwhelming scientific consensus on the past causes, future impacts and present solutions, the international community has dithered endlessly, and impotently,” the Vincentian leader told the General Assembly last Friday.

Gonsalves said that as emissions continue to increase, legally-binding limits are recast as voluntary targets, “and the worst offenders hypocritically highlight the specks of pollution in others’ eyes, to distract from the beam in their own.

“At the same time, many more needlessly suffer and die while indisputably urgent global action is intentionally thwarted by selfish short-termists and convenient climate-deniers,” he said.

The prime minister noted that the meeting was taking place in the aftermath of the devastating effect of Hurricane Dorian on the Bahamas, where scores were left dead and hundreds missing.

“In recent UN gatherings, this tale has become sickeningly familiar,” he told the annual gathering in September, the peak of the hurricane season.

“Only the names and locations have changed,” but warned against allowing “the steady drumbeat of climate catastrophes to become background noise” to the annual gatherings.

“We must remain attuned to the urgency of vulnerable states in the path of cataclysmic storms,” he said, adding that annually, the ferocity of these hurricanes increases.

“Every year, island states wait with bated breath, and hope against hope that increasingly frequent storms will thread their way between our countries without incident.

“And every year that we are spared, we grimly acknowledge that our luck will not hold indefinitely.”

Gonsalves said that hurricanes are, sadly, merely the most violent manifestation of

climate change’s insidious effects.

“The floods, land degradation, droughts, landslides, coastal erosions, and unreliable weather patterns across our region, and elsewhere across the globe, place increasingly insurmountable daily hurdles to life, living and production in vulnerable nations, particularly small island developing states (SIDS).”

He said the three international conventions touching and concerning biodiversity, desertification and land degradation, and climate change are to SIDS a composite, integrated whole upon which their very existence depends.

Gonsalves was speaking at the end of a week that began with UN Secretary General António Guterres’ summit to confront persistent paralysis in the face of the accelerating climate catastrophe.

“Stripped of the crafted eloquence, the summit reconfirmed that there are basic litmus tests for commitment to climate action: enforcement of binding emissions targets that result in a global warming of less than 1.5 degrees; investments in clean air and renewable energy; and provision of easily-accessible adaptation financing that prioritises the most vulnerable nations,” Gonsalves said.

“Surely, the catastrophe in the Bahamas must finally put to rest the fiction that arbitrary and inaccurate measures of wealth are of greater import than the self-evident vulnerabilities of small island developing states.

“If measured by per-capita GDP, the Bahamas is a high-income nation, too rich to be eligible for many forms of concessional financing, assistance in building resilience, and post disaster support.

“Measured instead by size, location, geography and the immutable laws of nature, the Bahamas’ vulnerabilities are starkly apparent,” Gonsalves said.

He said that before the fury of Mother Nature, our islands are equally vulnerable, and must be equally assisted by any mechanism that purports to address the impacts of climate change.

The prime minister said there is small island states exceptionalism which must be factored, juridically, and non-discretionarily, in the architecture of global partnerships on this existential matter.

“St. Vincent and the Grenadines has long considered major emitters’ failure to set — and honour — ambitious mitigation pledges to be an act of hostility against the very existence of small island developing states.

“As hundreds lie dead in the Bahamas, and thousands more climate refugees are denied safe, temporary haven in the industrialised capitals of the nearest major polluter, those acts of hostility are brought into sharper relief,” Gonsalves said.

“No nation that contributes to killing us; no nation that closes its eyes, ears and doors to our suffering truly can, with a clear conscience, proclaim friendship towards us.

“A neighbour who pollutes our residence, who brings or facilitates noxious emissions into our homes, who burns fires at our boundaries and smokes us out, commits egregious wrongs against us and is justly subjected to the requisite remedies of compensatory damages and restraining injunctions,” the prime minister told the world body.

5 replies on “A ‘menacing manifestation of a failed multilateralism’ — Gonsalves tells UN”

  1. The entire Climate Change issue is dividing all peoples of the earth. THE WORLD CERTAINLY IS GOING THROUGH A SIGNIFICANT PERIOD OF CLIMATE CHANGE!
    The problem is that these very few fake and paid-off scientists along with con-artist politicians are using it to raise taxes and implement a form of Global Socialism. Those funding and supporting the agenda are the wealthiest individuals on earth and they use corrupt and greedy politicians to implement thier agenda. They care nothing about the environment, pollution or human suffering. They have fooled and indoctrinated good and conscientious people into supporting thier agenda. They are getting wealthier and more powerful by playing on our sympathies. They are even using children such as Greta Thunberg for thier agenda. They refuse to address pollution, fracking, Nuclear waste dumped into the ocean, and so many other things and instead seek to transfer more of the wealth from the WORKING middle class into thier jurisdiction.
    CO2 has no effect whatsoever on climate. It is not a pollutant and is a molecule that sustains life on Earth, along with N2, O2 and H2O, more than almost any other molecule. If these people are able to force thier agenda through it will cause more damage than any other event in history.
    Yes, the Climate problems are great right now due to Sun Spot activity and the wobble of the Earth along with electro-magnetism, but we have to cope and make appropriate changes and not be tricked out of our money to go to those that already have most of our wealth.
    Paying higher taxes will not make the bad weather go away.

  2. We all can since childhood relate to PM Gonsalves statements that “Every year, island states wait with bated breath, and hope against hope that increasingly frequent storms will thread their way between our countries without incident. “And every year that we are spared, we grimly acknowledge that our luck will not hold indefinitely.”
    Well during this era of anticipated impacts due to climate change, our survival depends beyond ‘LUCK’ and therefore must shift our methodologies to that of more effective and non-discriminatory leadership. A focus on regional unification and mobilization and not only as a Vincentians but as a Caribbean people. My brothers and sisters we are in this together and where there is selfishness and greed, the gathering of wealth will not be strong enough to overcome the turmoil of climate change as the God of climate change has very little mercy for selfishness and one-sidedness.

  3. Ralph Gonsalves once said we are at war with nature; he was promptly told we cannot be at war with nature, because nature will always win.

    Storms, tsunamis, volcanic activities have always come and gone. What happens to the World comes in cycles. Over the millions of centuries, we have had ice ages and meltdowns on a rotating basis.

    A volcano can put more pollution into the atmosphere in a week than man does in a hundred years.

    Only 16,000 years ago there was a two-mile high ice cap above the great lakes in the Northern USA, at that time there was no Caribbean sea. When that cycle changed and the icecap melted over 4000 years, the area now known as the Caribbean Sea was created from the rise in oceans. So oceans have risen and fallen since the earliest days of the World.

    When huge meteorites have hit the World, they caused such atmospheric pollution and the blocking of sunlight for many years; it killed almost everything in the World, including the gigantic creatures, the dinosaurs.

    As short a time ago as 1816, most of the volcanos went off around the World, causing the ‘year without summer’ when the World almost starved because all the crops failed. Lakes in the US froze in June July and August; there were frosts in August and thick fogs. Bread riots in Switzerland, no wheat. The sun was blotted out by the debris, had the Volcanoes erupted again in 1817; it may well have been the end of humanity and every living thing.

    So when Gonsalves spoke about taking on nature and fighting a war with nature, I, for one, thought he was actually a total idiot.

    1. Thank You Jolly Green. What you wrote is only a fraction of the truth. The Climate Change fanatics (carbon nazis) today do not want such information to be known. Many of these misled people are truly good people but being used as useful idiots for the super-rich and thier politician enablers. One major goal of these people is to wipe-out the middle class. Too many people are so naive that they are demanding to be impoverished in th belief that they are saving the planet!

  4. Perhaps Venezuela has got it right, kill all the people and with that end pollution, but would it?

    Nature is the biggest polluter, is now and always has been.

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