Friday, March 22, 2013

Speech at the 11th Informal Meeting to Further Actions on Climate Change

Thank you, Mr. co-Chair.

I am the Costa Rican ambassador to Japan and I have the mandate to establish a bilateral green growth agenda between both countries.

Two years ago, upon arrival to Japan in the wake of the worst tsunami in 1000 years, my wife and I planted 50 cherry trees that will hopefully be in bloom this week. That is a repeated effort that we have done to increase the planet’s biocapacity.

Yesterday was my first day in school, as some of you mentioned, and today might be my last one, unfortunately. I have had a memorable experience so far although ambivalent in extreme.

On the one hand, I have admired the knowledge, technical skills and experience expressed in every comment and concept that I have heard. For an enthusiast trained in philosophy of law, this has been a magnificent playground and a unique learning opportunity.

On the other hand, I have become increasingly concerned about the state of affairs of the only planet that supports life in the universe. NASA proved last week that life had become extinct in Mars and our main objective must be to revert the trends that are leading Earth towards collapse and reinvigorate life across all species by embracing regenerative development as a humankind.

I feel additionally ambivalent when I compare and contrast ecologists’ prognoses about the planet’s ecosphere –where life lives- and the apparent consensus or at least political leverage to allow the long-term global temperature to rise by 2C.

If you take a closer look, you will see some turtles in the patterns of my tie. If we allow the planet’s temperatures to increase by 2C, there will be no more marine turtles, of which five of a total seven species are born in Costa Rica.

My country committed six years ago to become carbon neutral by 2021 and we are working hard to achieve it, including support from the Japanese and other governments represented here.

But the truth is that for the last 30 years we have become an exemplar of regenerative development, tripling our GDP and at the same time doubling our forest coverage. Our green growth strategy runs on the principle that our behavior must have a net positive impact on our ecosystems.

A final source of ambivalence is when I hear the finances of mitigation and adaptation. One hundred billion dollars a year is less than 10% what the world spends in military armament. If I were the finance minister of planet Earth it would be a no-brainer to shift spending from the latter to the former.

Perhaps that is my cultural bias, as Costa Rica abolished its military army 65 years ago and effectively spent that money in education, healthcare and environmental conservation. In a way, we could say that Costa Rica swapped its weapons for trees.

I am confident that with 65 negotiation days ahead towards a legally binding agreement we will be able to succeed configuring an innovative policy framework that will revert degrading trends and move us swiftly into a regenerative path.

Thank you. 

No comments: