UAE minister urges more funds for climate battle

The head of the upcoming U.N. global climate summit, Sultan al-Jaber, has called for increased availability of funds to combat climate change in the Caribbean. Al-Jaber, who is also the United Arab Emirates’ minister of industry, spoke during a regional meeting in Barbados, addressing leaders from the 15-member trade bloc known as Caricom.

Highlighting the severe climate impacts faced by island nations, al-Jaber noted that high costs have hindered these nations from swiftly adopting renewable energy solutions. “The peoples of the Caribbean have been on the front lines of climate change for longer than most,” he asserted, describing their experience as an “early warning system for the rest of the world.”

He also stressed the importance of closing the climate finance gap as a priority ahead of the COP28 summit scheduled for December in Dubai. This call for financial support comes on the same day that the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) escalated its prediction for the Atlantic hurricane season from near-normal to above-normal due to record sea surface temperatures. The prediction now includes 14 to 21 named storms, with two to five major hurricanes.

With five tropical storms having already formed this year, marking an unusually active start to the hurricane season, al-Jaber highlighted the Caribbean’s acute awareness of “the human and economic costs of too little finance for climate adaptation and resilience.”

The meeting also acknowledged the efforts of Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley, who initiated a plan known as the Bridgetown Initiative. This proposal aims to simplify the process for developing nations to combat global warming and defer debt payments in the wake of natural disasters. Supporters of the plan believe it could potentially release $1 trillion in climate financing.

In a related development, Mottley announced on Wednesday that her administration would establish a legacy fund to assist Barbados in its battle against climate change. Her announcement resonated with al-Jaber’s call to action, emphasizing the urgent need for financial resources in the Caribbean region to mitigate the severe consequences of climate change.

Image Credit: AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili, file

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