Palau delegation to attend COP26 in Glasgow amid COVID- 19 hurdles


Palau is sending a delegation headed by President Surangel Whipps Jr to Glasgow, Scotland for the COP26 climate conference.

Palau will be one of the few countries in the Pacific attending the face-to-face summit amid the coronavirus pandemic that complicates the journey for most of the delegates from the region.

Xavier Matsutaro, Climate Change Office coordinator said that in order to get to Glasgow, the Palau delegation will have to go through a long journey to get to the summit.

The meeting will be held starting 31 October to 12 November.

But Matsutaro said the issue of climate change has been a more pressing issue, which is to implement the 2015 Paris climate accord, limiting global warming to well below 2C compared with pre-industrial levels.

“What underpins everything is the rate at which the globe is warming. So it’s, we’re trying to limit at 1.5 degrees Celsius since the Industrial Revolution started to come to light. And the reason being is if you reach the 1.5 degrees Celsius threshold, there will be really catastrophic weather events, environmental events that would then occur because of that temperature rise,” Matsutaro said in an interview.

He said strong climate action is urgent with Palau experiencing the impacts of climate change from high sea levels that resulted in the inundation of some communities.

Matsutaro also said Typhoon Surigae which hit Palau in April bore the fingerprint of climate change bringing intensified speed that damages many homes and infrastructure.

He said climate finance will be also a key issue for Palau and that securing financing will help the country build resilience against the impact of climate change.

“Climate finance is not only about getting financial support but And not finance for the sake of, you know, getting financial support. That’s not it. I mean, finances is really the means to which we can build our resiliency,” Matsutaro said.

He said that he is confident that the COP26 will fulfill the aims of the Paris Agreement with more world leaders pledging to reduce emissions and adapt to climate change.

“So seeing these efforts being made, both by large countries and at the same time the developing states, we’re seeing a window of hope this time around, how much we will able t to achieve is yet to be seen… but we are seeing positive indication,” he added.