Biden says wealthy nations need to step up in climate fight

US President Joe Biden has pledged to support the nations of the Caribbean in their fight to mitigate the impact of climate change as he said every developed nation had a duty to protect their neighbours.

The president was speaking as he made a surprise visit to a meeting of CARICOM countries and the Dominican Republic, hosted by vice-president Kamala Harris in Los Angeles.

Harris told the president that the meeting had discussed a range of topics but the threat from climate change was dominant.

“We have been engaged in a very candid conversation about the challenges that this region — our neighbours in this region are experiencing — an urgent need for resources, for collaboration, for cooperation, and for consideration of the challenges they face — and a way that we will help,” she said. “And the range of topics has included the imminent, urgent matter of food insecurity.  It has been about the development of climate finance and getting rid of some of the obstacles to access to finance for these nations — obstacles which I believe that some are unnecessary and can be eliminated.”

The response from Biden was emphatic and he used the opportunity to issue a rallying call to other nations across the world.

“There’s a lot that I think that we can and should do,” he said. “This is a partnership.  It’s not, I’m not, we’re not here to dictate.  We’re here to, I’m here to learn, as well as to tell you what we’re prepared to do and what you think we should or shouldn’t be doing.

“And, for example, you know, I think we can work with you to strengthen the region’s ability to adapt to climate change; improve collaboration at the government-to-government level on a lot greater private investment from around the world and from the United States and the hemisphere in in the Caribbean; and our new US-Caribbean Partnership to Address the Climate Crisis  and how we are going to help enhance your climate resilience and your energy security; and to meet some sustainable development goals.”

He added: “So, I think there’s an awful lot we can do. I think we have to understand that the major countries of the world, not just us, have an obligation to help the rest of the world, not just the Caribbean, but the African continent and other places, to deal with the consequences of the damage done by climate by the wealthy countries. “

Biden added: “The infrastructure you need to deal with the consequences of climate are going to be incredibly expensive.  And I think we have an obligation to step up and help meet those obligations, meet those infrastructure changes, and so much more.”

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