The pandemic has taught us that national solutions to global problems do not work

Mia Mottley

We come to Glasgow with global ambition to save our people and to save our planet. But we now find three gaps. On mitigation, climate pledges or NDCs – without more, we will leave the world on a pathway to 2.7 degrees, and with more, we are still likely to get to 2 degrees.

These commitments made by some are based on technologies yet to be developed, and this is at best reckless and at worst dangerous.

On finance, we are $20 billion short of the $100 billion. And this commitment even then, might only be met in 2023.

On adaptation, adaptation finance remains only at 25%; not the 50-50 split that was promised, nor needed, given the warming that is already taking place on this Earth. Climate finance to frontline small island developing states, declined by 25% in 2019.

Failure to provide the critical finance and that of loss and damage is measured in my friends, in lives and livelihoods in our communities. This is immoral and it is unjust.

If Glasgow is to deliver on the promises of Paris, it must close these three gaps.

So, I ask to you, what must we say to our people living on the frontline in the Caribbean, in Africa, Latin America, in the Pacific, when both ambition and regrettably some of the needed faces at Glasgow are not present?

What excuse should we give for the failure in the words of that Caribbean icon Eddie Grant, “will they mourn us on the frontline?”

When will we, as world leaders across the world, address the pressing issues that are truly causing our people angst and worry, whether it is climate or whether it is vaccines?

Simply put, when will leaders lead?

Mia Mottley

Our people are watching and our people are taking note. And are we really going to leave Scotland without the resolve and the ambition that is sorely needed to save lives and to save our planet?

How many more voices and how many more pictures of people must we see on these screens without being able to move? Or are we so blinded and hardened that we can no longer appreciate the cries of humanity?

I have been saying to Barbadians for many years that many hands make light work. Today we need the correct mix of voices, ambition and action.

Do some leaders in this world believe that they can survive and thrive on their own? Have they not learned from the pandemic? Can there be peace and prosperity if one third of the world literally prospers and the other two thirds of the world live under siege and face calamitous threats to our wellbeing?

What the world needs now, my friends, is that which is within the ambit of less than 200 persons who are willing and prepared to lead. Leaders must not fail those who elected them to lead.

And I say to you, there is a sword that can cut down this Gordian knot, and it has been wielded before. The central banks of the wealthiest countries engaged in $25 trillion of quantitative easing in the last 13 years. $25 trillion! Of that, $9 trillion was in the last 18 months to fight the pandemic.

Had we used that $25 trillion to purchase bonds to finance the energy transition or the transition of how we eat or how we move ourselves in transport, we would now today be reaching that 1.5 degrees limit that is so vital to us.