Some people see climate change as merely a concept, the beginning of a conspiracy theory or an attempt to shy away from the real issues whilst others experience this first hand and suffer the consequences. Many people see it as a national problem whilst others see it as an international problem. This first article will explore how Seychellois of all ages see climate change.
With 73% of participants thinking that nothing has really followed after the UN meeting in the 1992, whose responsibility is it to fight climate change? Who has failed to take their responsibility 23 years ago? The statistics from the Seychelles reveals some concern. With 1% of participants expressing that they are not concerned by climate change the wheels of my mind begin to turn as this can only mean that a certain percentage of the population are simply not concerned by this. This is worsened by the statistics that show 7% of people say the present system should not be changed substantially and 16% insisting that exploration of fossil fuels should continue. Anxiety worsens as 9% of participants state that climate change should not be a national priority. Will we ever reach carbon zero? In the Seychelles with the creation of a Ministry for Environment, Energy and Climate Change, a principal secretary for Climate change and a national committee dealing with climate change climate change is perceived to be a national priority on a national level but should it be government’s problem alone?
There is good news!
The majority of people appreciate the importance of climate change with 89% of participants expressing that they were very concerned. Although some see climate change as glass half full or half empty with 41% stated it was a threat to their quality of life whilst 56% think it is mostly an opportunity to improve our quality of life. The majority of people feel that there is no option but to adopt both mitigation and adaptation practices rather than opting for only one means. Should small islands tell the world they are prepared to adapt? Will other countries simply continue with business as usual and hope the victims will simply adapt?
A question that often breaks my heart during negotiations on climate change is – should we risk economic progress for climate change? Often this is a mind-set of the richer developing countries. In the Seychelles 54% believe the world should decide in Paris to do whatever it takes to limit temperatures exceeding 2 degrees celsius warming – that’s right, close down those oil and coal burning factories despite the unemployment that will follow. 33% on the other hand hope to maintain a more moderate approach that the world should take ambitious actions but jot whatever it takes.
Who is ultimately responsible to take actions? Is it primarily a global responsibility through an international climate agreement or treaty, the responsibility of citizens and civil society initiatives, national governments, local authorities or private sector and businesses. The top three were global responsibility, citizens and civil society and national governments in that order. How effective is enforcement for a climate agreement or treaty? A short scan through a Public International Law exam will without fail host the question is “International law law?” As the concern that international law cannot be enforced is fraught with great difficulty. Is leaving our lives in the hands of state leaders without taking any action ourselves safe?