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Belize pledges zero net emissions by 2050 but will it be enough?

Posted: Thursday, October 3, 2019. 10:30 am CST.

By Aaron Humes: Belize is one of fifteen small countries, according to Big Think writer Scotty Robertson, that recently pledged zero net emissions by 2050 at the United Nations.

The others are the Marshall Islands, Costa Rica, Denmark, Fiji, Grenada, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Saint Lucia, Sweden, Switzerland, and Vanuatu. Another 45 nations previously pledged zero net emissions by 2050, but according to Robertson these sixty countries accounted for only eleven percent of global carbon emissions in 2017, meaning that the results of their efforts will be limited.

India, a middle-income country, promised to increase the share of their electricity produced by renewables and Germany, which will be investing $60 billion in clean energy over the next decade. Russia said they would ratify the Paris Agreement but said nothing more. China merely pledged to continue sticking to its previously agreed to policies while calling out those who were doing nothing. France implied they had no interest in free trade deals with countries that leave the Paris Agreement. The United States, who they were talking about, contributed little to the discussion. Larger countries such as South Korea, Germany and the United Kingdom pledged to double contributions to the Green Climate Fund.

But why, Robertson asks, are the smallest nations making the largest pledges? He says it is because they have no choice – they will be wiped out by rising sea levels and other effects of climate change, so they must act even if the larger nations don’t.

Belize has expressed solidarity with the Bahamas, all but wiped out by Hurricane Dorian in August, and closer to home the effects of an ongoing drought have cost us $50 million without taking into account the millions lost in export earnings.

Nonetheless Belize hosts the Caribbean Community Climate Change Center and has actively sought means of climate proofing infrastructure and industry.

Robertson concludes, “If nothing is done, climate change will affect every aspect of our lives and make the world a much less pleasant place to live. The countries with the most to lose are taking up the mantle of solving the problem, but it is unlikely to be enough. The largest nations, which are also responsible for most of the pollution, will have to follow in the footsteps of the smallest ones if there is to be hope for progress.”


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