Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister Gaston Browne wrote to new United States President Joseph Biden on Wednesday afternoon, immediately after his inauguration, welcoming his administration’s decision to commit to the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
President Biden signed an executive order at the White House just hours after being sworn in, to reverse the previous administration’s withdrawal from the 2015 accord, which seeks to limit global warming and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Writing in his capacity as Chair of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) for the 2021-2022 period, Browne thanked President Biden for his “foresight and concern” and said the 44-member alliance looked forward to his leadership.
He said that AOSIS, comprised of small island and low-lying coastal developing states that are most gravely threatened by climate change, was delighted at the Biden administration’s decision to integrate climate change into the US foreign policy and national security strategies.
“It is vital that every nation acts to preserve the planet for future generations; to save the most vulnerable countries from extinction; and to protect the global community from the consequences of enlarged numbers of refugees, economic destruction, public health emergencies, food insecurity and conflict,” Browne wrote.
“I know you will agree that reducing and eliminating the causes of climate change must remain a priority of each nation’s efforts. We are already failing to limit the global average temperature to a 1.5 degrees Celsius increase above pre-industrial levels. It is urgent that: (i) the machinery for global financial flows, including through International Financial Institutions, be adjusted to ensure that every country is served in accordance with its needs; and (ii) resources be provided to allow the most vulnerable countries to adapt to the present alarming conditions and to prepare for future negative conditions.”
Prime Minister Browne assured President Biden of the readiness and determination of AOSIS to “hold hands with him to jointly address this most dangerous threat to our one planet and our one humanity”.