Wed | Dec 8, 2021

Climate change squeeze - Holness warns of economic fallout, debt, migration

Published:Saturday | February 8, 2020 | 12:07 AM

Prime Minister Andrew Holness has revisited the highly divisive and political issue of climate change, calling on youth leaders to push for greater equity for the Caribbean countries which areas are being affected by the phenomenon.

Holness, who was addressing students at the University of Missouri in the United States of America on the theme, ‘Democracy, Youth Leadership and the Future of our World’, said the Caribbean was at risk economically because of the inequity linked to climate change.

He is also warning that there could be migrations from the Caribbean because of the brutal effects of disasters resulting from climate change.

“Climate change is such a highly political issue, but if you drill down into it, what does it mean? It really calls for a global sense of equity,” Holness charged, as he elaborated on how the Caribbean was raped of its riches during the period of slavery and left without much infrastructure development.


In recent months, Holness has emerged as one of the leading voices on climate change, and has been invited to several climate change-related conferences,where he has advocated for more attention to be paid to the issue, especially with vulnerable Caribbean countries being at the forefront of global consideration.

“We have to be thinking about resilience, how do we strengthen our economy, our public administration, national security, education system and banking and finance system? So that when these disasters happen, which they will – very dangerous hurricanes form in the region – how do we recover?” Holness questioned.

He said the Caribbean countries were unable to pump adequate resources into building resources and so were left exposed to climate threats.


Holness argued that the Caribbean region was contributing very little carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, which are said to exacerbate the issue.

“Less than 40 million people living in the region, but it is one of the most vulnerable regions as a result of climate change. So I think for young people, leading the future, it is about greater equity and fairness in the world.

“So if it is that we are not able to reach understanding as to how we limit carbon dioxide and other greenhouses gases to slow the effects of climate changes in keeping with the agreed 1.5 degrees Celsius target in the warming of the earth, then there has to be an understanding of how there is a transfer or greater cooperation to assist all of these countries with building their resilience,” the prime minister pitched.

Holness noted that there was the green climate fund to assist developing countries with building resilience but said, “every year, there is great plea and cry for developed countries to make their contributions”.