Wednesday October 27, 2021

‘Climate change could sink small states’

October 14, 2021

Rome: Some of the world’s smallest countries could "disappear" without action at an upcoming UN summit to contain climate change, the secretary general of the Commonwealth warned in a Wednesday interview.

"The threat to the 42 small states in existential," Baroness Patricia Scotland told AFP. "People say that as if it does not mean what it says -- namely these small states will disappear."

The Dominica-born lawyer and former British government minister, who leads the Commonwealth association of former countries of the British empire, was speaking during a visit to Rome that included talks with Pope Francis.

She said some of the Commonwealth’s smallest members, like the low-lying Pacific islands of Tuvalu and Nauru, were "looking for new places to go" because "the sea level rises are so dangerous now". She also decried the devastating impact of more frequent hurricanes, including in her native country.

"Dominica usually looks like a Garden of Eden," she said. But after 2017’s Hurricane Maria "even the bark of trees had been stripped, there was not one green leaf left. It was like Armageddon".

UN climate talks in the Scottish city of Glasgow from October 31 to November 12 are aimed at securing a global deal on decarbonising world economies and charting humanity’s path away from catastrophic global warming.