‘A Lot of Talking’: Beryl Devastates Caribbean as Leaders Call Out Rich Countries

Climate Hurricanes
‘A Lot of Talking’: Beryl Devastates Caribbean as Leaders Call Out Rich Countries

Hurricane Beryl has left a path of “almost total destruction” on several islands of Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Their leaders know who to blame.

“For the major emitters of greenhouse gases, those who contribute most to global warning, you are getting a lot of talking, but you are not seeing a lot of action,” said SVG’s Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves on Tuesday, according to reporting from The Guardian. Gonsalves and Grenada’s PM Dickon Mitchell have described “Armageddon-like scenes” after the storm came through, with roofs ripped off buildings and complete power and communications blackouts.

At least seven people have died, including several to the south of the storm in Venezuela. The Grenadian Island of Carriacou has seen as many as 98 percent of its buildings destroyed.

“Complete devastation and destruction of agriculture, complete and total destruction of the natural environment,” Mitchell said. “There is literally no vegetation left anywhere on the island of Carriacou.”

Still a major hurricane with winds over 110 MPH, Beryl began to lash Jamaica on Wednesday.

“The damage of these shocks is deepened by the lack of adequate financial support,” said Patricia Scotland, the secretary-general of the Commonwealth of Nations. “Small island states, which have done the least to cause this climate crisis and have contributed only 1 percent of all global carbon dioxide emissions, struggle to unlock climate finance. In 2019, they had access to only $1.5bn out of the $100bn pledged to developing countries.”

Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley has led a charge in recent years to restructure debt arrangements for small island nations and other parts of the Global South, arguing that climate change’s impacts are locking the poor into an endless cycle out of which they cannot climb without help. Barbados was the first victim of Beryl earlier this week, before it took aim elsewhere.

Gonsalves also criticized the U.N. climate conferences, which last year finally yielded a loophole-ridden agreement to transition away from fossil fuel use, as “largely a talk shop.” And he pointed out that climate change has been largely absent from the election campaigns in recent months in the U.K. and elsewhere in Europe, indicating weak global will to try and help countries like his. “It’s a terrible time for small-island developing states and vulnerable countries.”

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