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ESG backs Cortes’ call to action on climate change

STORM DAMAGE: An archive image of the promenade at Westview Park after the 2008 storm. Climate change and extreme weather events mean governments around the world, including in Gibraltar, will have to plan to mitigate the impact on coastal infrastructure. Photo by Johnny Bugeja.

The ESG has called for Gibraltar’s Climate Change Strategy to be “urgently prioritised and actioned” with cross-party support.

The group was reacting to a recent interview in Chronicle with Dr John Cortes, the Minister for the Environment, in which he said Gibraltar was “still lagging behind” on environmental issues and attitudes despite marked progress in recent years.

Dr Cortes said that against the backdrop of rising temperatures and the global impact of climate change, Gibraltar, while small, could “pro rata” have a “bigger” impact than anywhere else, but the key is getting people onboard.

The ESG welcomed the minister’s intervention and said it would like to see his assessment and call to action “fully endorsed by Government and at a cross party level”.

“We appreciate [Dr Cortes’] public recognition of the very urgent situation and real dangers humanity faces regarding climate change,” the ESG said in a statement last night.

“Almost every corner of the world is now affected by climate change with extreme weather causing unprecedented and catastrophic damage to many communities and natural environments.”

“Each one of us, as individuals, will be well aware of this climate crisis as we have experienced an incredibly hot summer locally, as has all of Europe, but, as an increasingly informed community, we are also all well aware of what we have so far been directly spared in the form of actual disaster.”

Scientists advise that urgent action is required to attempt to limit further uncontrollable warming and greater weather extremes, the ESG added.

“However, and in agreement with Dr Cortes, our present course is plunging us headlong into this dreadful scenario,” the group said in the statement.

“During the COP26 governments from around the world made strong pledges and commitments to rise to this once in a lifetime opportunity to take urgent action; sadly, the follow through has been overshadowed by political and economic priorities.”

“Here, in Gibraltar, we are also continuing with business as usual, with no clear evidence that Government has changed any of its priorities or policies, as a result of climate change.”

“Clearly, however, we cannot postpone the worsening of climate change and the economic pressures that will undoubtedly accompany this.”

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