At Paris Talks Jamaican Businessman Joe Issa Backs 1.5 oC Cap in Global Warming, Increased Pledges to sustain it.

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As concerns mount about the reality of climate change and the vulnerability of the low-lying Caribbean region, Executive Chairman of Cool Corporation, Joe Issa, one of Jamaica largest indigenous petroleum dealers, urges Caricom negotiators in an interview, to take to the December Global Warming Conference in Paris a common position that seeks to reduce the currently agreed level of global warming of 2 oC above pre-industrial levels by the end of this century, to 1.5 oC and to legally bind those responsible to increase their carbon-cutting pledges sufficiently to meet that goal.

Chairman of Cool Group Of Companies Joseph John Issa

“I believe that all of us have a duty to defend our generations and I think the time is now because there won’t be another Paris any time soon."

As concerns mount about the reality of climate change and the vulnerability of the low-lying Caribbean region, Executive Chairman of Cool Corporation, Joe Issa, one of Jamaica largest indigenous petroleum dealers, urged Caricom negotiators in an interview, to take to the December Global Warming Conference in Paris a common position that seeks to reduce the currently agreed level of global warming of 2 oC above pre-industrial levels by the end of this century, to 1.5 oC and to legally bind those responsible to increase their carbon-cutting pledges sufficiently to meet that goal.

Issa was commenting on a December 12, 2015 article in the North Coast Times titled “Joe Issa Urges Caribbean to Join 1point5 to Stay Alive Climate Justice Campaign” at http://www.northcoasttimesja.com/?p=3449, in which he urged the Jamaican and Caribbean public to join a growing call to limit global warming to 1.5 oC above preindustrial levels by 2100, noting that major land loss of Caribbean territory could occur at higher temperatures.

“I thought it was important to get people to buy into the campaign because it is a worthy one as the reality of global warming is already coming to pass and we need to curb or stop it altogether. I believe that all of us have a duty to defend our generations and I think the time is now because there won’t be another Paris any time soon. It’s the last opportunity to at best, minimize the catastrophe waiting to happen. It’s a threat that must be countered in Paris with a strong, unified lobby to resist any attempts to cap temperature rise above 2 oC,” says Issa in an interview.

Issa’s statements were timely as Jamaica’s climate change negotiators had just announced that they were lobbying for a 1.58 oC , or 5.3% more than his 1.5 oC global warming limit in Paris, according to Petre Williams-Raynor’s November 11, 2015 article in the Gleaner titled “Countdown To COP 21: Jamaica To Sign Off On Team To Paris Climate Talks” at http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/lead-stories/20151111/countdown-cop-21-jamaica-sign-team-paris-climate-talks.

Head of the Climate Change Division, Albert Daley, said in the article that “Jamaica, like other Caribbean countries and (44) others forming the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), is lobbying for a 1.58Celsius target as a cap in global temperatures, but noted that “currently, what has been negotiated, in the main, is a two degrees target, which AOSIS says could prove disastrous for small islands. They, together with other developing-country parties were, however, recently able to get the 1.5 target into the draft text that will form the basis of negotiations in Paris.”

Noting that AOSIS was more cautious , Issa says, “We are a region of small islands states…we don’t have the luxury of huge land masses, and much of our social and economic activities take place in coastal and low-lying areas. So, if what the experts say is true, that if temperature rises to 2 oC and over, above pre-industrial levels, many of our regional neighbours will disappear by the end of this century, then we can’t allow that to happen…we have to give ourselves a fighting chance with a 1.5 oC cap,” Issa says in the interview.

Issa’s concerns are heightened by several publications, such as an October 2, 2015 article in the Jamaica Observer titled “World headed for too high 2.7 Celsius warming, say experts” accessed November 7, 2015 at http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/World-headed-for-too-high-2-7-Celsius-warming--say-experts_19231584. It warned that “Earth could warm 2.7 degrees Celsius this century…carbon-cutting pledges are insufficient to stave off worst-case-scenario predictions for climate change…the goal of limiting overall planet warming to 2.0 oC (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) from pre-industrial levels is still out of reach,” adding, “In rare good news, 2.7 oC was a significant improvement from the previous forecast of 3.1 oC by 2100.”

The article further informed that “the pledges submitted ahead of an informal October 1 UN deadline would still yield global warming well above the 2.0 oC limit set by the global community,” stating that "this reflects the less than sufficient climate targets submitted by many governments."

It quoted the UN's climate science panel as saying that “a world even 1.0 oC or 2.0 oC warmer would face considerable risks, including more severe floods and droughts, a land-gobbling sea-level rise, the spread of disease and food shortages -- all of which may increase global political instability.”

Wikipedia’s report titled “2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference” accesses on October 28, 2015 at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2015_United_Nations_Climate_Change_Conference, says “the objective of the 2015 conference is to achieve, for the first time in over 20 years of UN negotiations, a binding and universal agreement on climate, from all the nations of the world.”

Everyone who supports the call against global warming is also supporting Pope Francis, who has released an encyclical to influence the outcome of the conference. In it he calls for action against human-caused climate change. The report also cited the International Trade Union Confederation, which called for the goal to be ‘zero carbon, zero poverty’, as well as General Secretary, Sharan Burrow, who has repeatedly said ‘there are no jobs on a dead planet’.

Concerned by the bleak prospects for mother earth Issa, who is a Eucharistic Minister in the Roman Catholic Church, and whose parents once hosted Pope John Pau at their Kingston residence, says “we should join Pope Francis and others in ensuring that we all play our part, while also ensuring that others do, in order to ensure the survival of our ecosystems and their species, in which we are among the world leaders.

So whose pledges should the region’s negotiators watch with a critical eye in Paris? Using the EU Edgar database, Wikipedia shows that China, United States, Europe and the 28 countries in the Union, India, the Russian Federation and to a lesser extent Japan, are the top six CO2 emitting countries in the world in 1990 and 2013.

Thus according to Issa, the big contributors must make the biggest pledges to reduce their emission of the dangerous greenhouse gas; “they are the ones we have to convince that the currently agreed 2 oC rise above pre-industrial temperatures is too high and should be reduced to 1.5oC; they are also the ones to make sufficiently high pledges to sustain the 1.5 oC target. We cannot afford to leave Paris with anything higher, and certainly not without the accompanying pledges and legal teeth to enforce them.

The need to get those agreements gets more incredibly serious as “the planet is undergoing one of the largest changes in climate since the dinosaurs went extinct. But what might be even more troubling for humans, plants and animals is the speed of the change. Stanford climate scientists warn that the likely rate of change over the next century will be at least 10 times quicker than any climate shift in the past 65 million years,” according to an August 1, 2013 Bjorn Carey Stanford Report in Stamford News accessed on November 14, 2015 at http://news.stanford.edu/news/2013/august/climate-change-speed-080113.html.

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