Sanders Commentary: Join the international fight for climate justice


By Sir Ronald Sanders 

(The writer is Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador to the United States of America and the Organization of American States.   He is also a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London and Massey College in the University of Toronto) 


On September 23, at the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne, made a clear and unequivocal statement, concerning the impact of Climate Change.

He said: “Mr. President, the effects of global warming are universal; they reach every country. But it is vital that we all understand that, in as much as global warming is universal, its damaging effects are not the same; the burden falls mostly on the poor in small developing nations, such as mine. That is why, as the representative of the people of Antigua and Barbuda, I must stand up for their rights; including their right to livelihoods and to life.”

Prime Minister Browne continued: “My voice cannot be stilled while danger gathers in the skies above my small and vulnerable country.  I have no choice but to fight unrelentingly for climate justice”.

The statement by the Antigua and Barbuda leader resonates with all leaders of small island states across the world who are frustrated with the failure of the world’s worst polluting nations to honour their pledges to provide funds for adjustment and for building resilience to the extreme weather conditions, which their actions are causing.

More particularly, the leaders of small island states are demonstrating their readiness to fight back in the face of disregard for the persistent loss and damage they are experiencing without any effort to compensate them.

Thus, Vanuatu is seeking the approval of the UN General Assembly, during this current session, for an opinion by the International Court of Justice on the rights of present and future generations to be protected from the impacts of climate change.

Similarly, Antigua and Barbuda along with Tuvalu, Palau, and Niue have established the Commission of Small Island States on Climate Change and International Law (COSIS), which is registered with the UN.

The objective of the Commission is to seek an advisory opinion directly from the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) on compensation for persistent loss and damage caused by Climate Change.

The Vanuatu initiative, and the Commission established by Antigua and Barbuda and three other small islands, reflect their joint frustration with the failures of the COP process to address the damage being done to small countries.

The efforts of these small countries are winning active support from international legal experts.  A team of 17 highly regarded international lawyers has joined COSIS to provide legal advice on the approach to ITLOS.

There is also wider support from organizations such as the Commonwealth Foundation and “The Stop Ecocide Foundation”, a charitable fundraising and commissioning body, which was founded with the intention of getting Ecocide recognized as an international crime at the International Criminal Court (ICC).   The Ecocide Foundation is partnering with “Stop Ecocide International” – a panel of expert lawyers who want to see ecocide outlawed internationally.

“Ecocide” is defined as “unlawful or wanton acts committed with knowledge that there is a substantial likelihood of severe and either widespread or long-term damage to the environment being caused by those acts”. Given the wide body of evidence, gathered by international environmental experts, there can be no government of any country that can claim, with any credibility, that they do not know that pollution is causing “widespread or long-term damage to the environment being caused by those acts”.

But there is still a long road ahead before the Ecocide definition could be adopted by the court. One of the court’s 123 member countries would need to submit the definition to the United Nations Secretary-General, triggering a formal process that could lead to an amendment of the Rome Statute, which sets the court’s rules.

There would, of course, be great opposition to this by the world’s greatest polluters.  Consequently, enormous pressure would be put on small states not to pursue any of the legal initiatives now being contemplated by Vanuatu, by Antigua and Barbuda, Tuvalu, Palau and Niue, and by The Ecocide Foundation.

However, as I told a “Virtual Islands Summit 2022 Symposium”, organized by the Stop Ecocide Foundation on September 29: “Something has to give in this unlevel playing field in which small island states and low-lying coastal states are made to suffer.  The peoples and governments of small island states cannot sit back while their countries are destroyed and they, themselves, are dislocated from their homelands”.

A global alliance of small island states and states with low lying coastlands can be a powerful global force for the protection of each other, and of all life on Earth.

It calls for Caribbean countries, especially the most vulnerable such as The Bahamas, and the smaller islands of the Eastern Caribbean, to join the COSIS and Stop Ecocide initiatives.  These countries have the most to lose; therefore, they must fight the hardest.

The destruction wreaked by Hurricane Fiona in the Eastern Provinces of Canada, and the decimation and loss of lives in Florida and South Carolina in the United States, over the last two weeks, should, at last, persuade the remaining doubters in governments and industry, in these two countries, that their present circumstances are bad, and their future will be worse unless they also take immediate action.

Prime Minister Browne spoke for the peoples of all small states when he told the UN general assembly: “My voice cannot be stilled while danger gathers in the skies above my small and vulnerable country”.

There is a global train for climate justice that is now running on an international railroad; all small countries should board it.

Responses and previous commentaries: 

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  1. I am a university educated engineer and have been following this for at least 10 years. It is totally fake. The founder of the weather channel recently said on CNN that there is no such thing as human induced global warming. Guess they won’t have him back on. Same thing with one of the founders of Greenpeace.

    -Please explain why the elites are not divesting of their beach front properties.
    -Please explain to me how melting sea ice can raise sea levels when the ice is already IN the sea
    -Please explain why during the plandemic, when nobody was going anywhere, neither carbon emissions nor global temperatures saw any real reduction.
    -Please tell china to cut their emissions like everyone else
    -Please tell us about how the lithium mining to make the batteries causes more pollution and more poverty, especially in Africa an Latin America
    -Explain to me how harassing Dutch small farmers in the middle of a food crisis is going to improve the weather
    -Finally, explain to me why the same people that believe there are too may people in the world are now concerned about saving them by trying to control the temperature.

    We’ve been through enough state sponsored bad science the past 2 years. I’m sounding the alarm on this. People start doing your own research while you still can.
    Brix, Angel, where are you? We need you.

  2. “Scientists” can’t tell us where a hurricane will form a month in advance but yet the same “scientists” tell us with certainty that in 10 or so years we’re dead if we don’t abandon oil.
    Here’s the top 50 “catastrophes” that have been predicted by these eco fascist hacks:

    1. 1967: Dire Famine Forecast By 1975
    2. 1969: Everyone Will Disappear In a Cloud Of Blue Steam By 1989 (1969)
    3. 1970: Ice Age By 2000
    4. 1970: America Subject to Water Rationing By 1974 and Food Rationing By 1980
    5. 1971: New Ice Age Coming By 2020 or 2030
    6. 1972: New Ice Age By 2070
    7. 1974: Space Satellites Show New Ice Age Coming Fast
    8. 1974: Another Ice Age?
    9. 1974: Ozone Depletion a ‘Great Peril to Life (data and graph)
    10. 1976: Scientific Consensus Planet Cooling, Famines imminent
    11. 1980: Acid Rain Kills Life In Lakes (additional link)
    12. 1978: No End in Sight to 30-Year Cooling Trend (additional link)
    13. 1988: Regional Droughts (that never happened) in 1990s
    14. 1988: Temperatures in DC Will Hit Record Highs
    15. 1988: Maldive Islands will Be Underwater by 2018 (they’re not)
    16. 1989: Rising Sea Levels will Obliterate Nations if Nothing Done by 2000
    17. 1989: New York City’s West Side Highway Underwater by 2019 (it’s not)
    18. 2000: Children Won’t Know what Snow Is
    19. 2002: Famine In 10 Years If We Don’t Give Up Eating Fish, Meat, and Dairy
    20. 2004: Britain will Be Siberia by 2024
    21. 2008: Arctic will Be Ice Free by 2018
    22. 2008: Climate Genius Al Gore Predicts Ice-Free Arctic by 2013
    23. 2009: Climate Genius Prince Charles Says we Have 96 Months to Save World
    24. 2009: UK Prime Minister Says 50 Days to ‘Save The Planet From Catastrophe’
    25. 2009: Climate Genius Al Gore Moves 2013 Prediction of Ice-Free Arctic to 2014
    26. 2013: Arctic Ice-Free by 2015 (additional link)
    27. 2014: Only 500 Days Before ‘Climate Chaos’
    28. 1968: Overpopulation Will Spread Worldwide
    29. 1970: World Will Use Up All its Natural Resources
    30. 1966: Oil Gone in Ten Years
    31. 1972: Oil Depleted in 20 Years
    32. 1977: Department of Energy Says Oil will Peak in 1990s
    33. 1980: Peak Oil In 2000
    34. 1996: Peak Oil in 2020
    35. 2002: Peak Oil in 2010
    36. 2006: Super Hurricanes!
    37. 2005 : Manhattan Underwater by 2015
    38. 1970: Urban Citizens Will Require Gas Masks by 1985
    39. 1970: Nitrogen buildup Will Make All Land Unusable
    40. 1970: Decaying Pollution Will Kill all the Fish
    41. 1970s: Killer Bees!
    42. 1975: The Cooling World and a Drastic Decline in Food Production
    43. 1969: Worldwide Plague, Overwhelming Pollution, Ecological Catastrophe, Virtual Collapse of UK by End of 20th Century
    44. 1972: Pending Depletion and Shortages of Gold, Tin, Oil, Natural Gas, Copper, Aluminum
    45. 1970: Oceans Dead in a Decade, US Water Rationing by 1974, Food Rationing by 1980
    46. 1988: World’s Leading Climate Expert Predicts Lower Manhattan Underwater by 2018
    47. 2005: Fifty Million Climate Refugees by the Year 2020
    48. 2000: Snowfalls Are Now a Thing of the Past
    49.1989: UN Warns That Entire Nations Wiped Off the Face of the Earth by 2000 From Global Warming
    50. 2011: Washington Post Predicted Cherry Blossoms Blooming in Winter.

    These eco lies are about nothing more than imposition of an authoritarian central government.

  3. Climate change is a hoax. Their so called ‘scientists’ who claim that it is real should get their science degrees revoked.

    What it is actually all about is money and control.

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