I’m pleased to speak here for Costa Rica and also my fellow Troika members of the Climate Vulnerable Forum, in particular Philippines and Ethiopia (the new CVF Chair).
Further to the words of Jonathan Pershing, I would also like to comment on why the Entry into Force of the Paris Agreement is so critical. Members of our Forum have been among the first to join the Paris Agreement and Costa Rica is among those that has committed to joining in 2016.
We have been working on dedicated negotiations since the Bali conference almost a decade ago to get the comprehensive agreement that was finally reached in Paris last year. But while we were negotiating, emissions rose, and today we have pollution consistent with much higher levels of warming than we see today with all the extreme weather and catastrophes (which I do not need to go into).
There is still–just–a window to keep warming from exceeding 1.5 degrees. Why is 1.5 degrees important? Because climate change is already dangerous, it has already exceeded the capacity of many countries to adapt to it.
We have already lost lives, we are losing species, we have lost land and buildings. For many countries it is a matter of survival. We can only keep warming to this lowest level of 1.5 degrees if we act now.
Joining or ratifying the Paris Agreement is vital for that. If we delay even by a year or two, it could be enough to put us off track–or rather to commit us to all sorts of sacrifices that become unavoidable with an overheated planet.
This effort is also in our self-interest: the faster we move, the sooner we will be able to take advantage of the benefits of clean air, energy access, electric mobility and many other technologies that will become commonplace once we all move concertedly to fight climate change. Because this is a matter of life and death, but also a matter of health, of food security and development, among others, this is also a matter of human rights
With so much at stake, the Paris Agreement provides us perhaps the greatest opportunity we will have this century to promote and uphold basic and fundamental human rights. As we know too, we cannot expect to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals in the absence of action on climate change, which effects so many aspects of development.