Prime Minister Gaston Browne says he favours having climate change taught as a subject in schools as it is currently the most significant threat to human existence.
Fresh from attending the annual United Nations summit on climate change, COP 27, PM Browne said it is important to increase awareness about climate change among all members of society.
“The scientists have indicated that if global temperatures rise beyond 1.5 degrees then our civilization would be imperilled.
“It means that we would be under water and all our infrastructure would be lost.
“In fact, we would become climate refugees if that happens. That is something we have to continue to fight. In fact, I feel so strongly, I believe it’s something that ought to be taught in our schools,” he said.
Describing climate change as “the most existential threat” facing Antigua and Barbuda and other small island states, Browne reiterated that its implications impact all of humanity.
“If global temperatures continue to rise then we won’t have a planet on which to live. It is therefore a serious issue,” he explained.
According to PM Browne it has now been scientifically proven that the global temperature increase is the result of the increase in the use of fossil fuels beginning during the industrial revolution.
“What the scientists are saying is that we have to reduce emissions and to transition into renewables such as solar, wind energy and hydro power as well.”
He noted that the government is currently installing a combined solar and wind plant.
Browne also pointed out that the recommendation of the scientific community now is that fossil fuels ought to remain in the ground.
“This is where the fight is as most industrialised countries have well-established fossil fuel industries. They consume a lot of fossil fuel, and they have these huge oil companies that make billions of dollars in profits each year. In fact, for this year, it is projected that they would make up to two trillion dollars in profits.
“So, they are making all this profit while the planet is burning. There is something fundamentally wrong about that,” he said.
Oil companies, with their huge resources, often pay lobbyists to attend meetings like COP27 to minimise the impact of climate change and railroad attempts to reverse the damage being caused.
The prime minister added that many politicians have been muzzled on speaking out or taking action to address climate change as they are “sponsored” by oil companies which deny the reality and dangers of climate change.
“These are some of the issues we are fighting against,” Browne pointed out.
Environment Minister, Sir Molwyn Joseph travelled on Saturday bound for COP27 in Egypt where he will head the Antigua and Barbuda delegation at the conference which runs for the remainder of the week.