‘The Price Is Not cheap’ -Amb. McCarthy Promises US Support To Liberia’s Climate Change Efforts

When President George Manneh Weah recently delivered one of the most powerful speeches at Climate Change #COP26 held in Glasgow, Scotland, he not only unveiled Liberia’s enormous biodiversity standing in the world, he also pledged the country’s unwavering determination to leave no stone unturned in meeting international benchmarks and mustering the resources needed to fight climate change. But the price of doing as pledged is not cheap, as United States Ambassador to Liberia posited during the National Launch of the Stockholm +50 National Consultations in Monrovia yesterday. Thus, Mr. Michael McCarthy says the United States of America will be shoulder-to-shoulder with the Liberia in meeting and fulfilling the ambitious commitments made by Liberia. The Analyst reports.

This year, 2022, marks fifty years since the first United Nations conference on the human environment – the 1972 Stockholm Conference. The Government of Sweden is celebrating the anniversary with the aim to contribute to accelerating a transformation that leads to sustainable and green economies, more jobs, and a healthy planet for all, where no one is left behind.

The Liberian version of the celebration was held at the Ministerial Complex, bringing together government officials, civil society actors, diplomats and a cross section of ordinary Liberians.

Remarking at the program Monday, March 7, 2022, the US Ambassador accredited to Monrovia, Michael McCarthy congratulated Liberia for the ambition of its revised Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to fight the adverse effects climate change.

He described Liberia’s list of commitments as impressive, capable of challenging “all of us because the price is not cheap — nearly US $500 million — and Liberia alone will not be able to meet that cost.”

The US Ambassador said the international community will have to meet its own ambitious commitments and the United States has pledged to do the same.

He added: “We commend Liberia for adding three new sectors to its revised Nationally Determined Contributions: Fisheries, the Coastal Zone, and Industry. These are sectors of vital importance to Liberia’s future, and devoted effort will be needed to adapt to and mitigate climate threats to these and other sectors.”

He recalled that at COP26, President Weah spoke of Liberia’s ambition to be a leader in Africa on climate financing.

“As President Weah pointed out, Liberia is home to more than 43 percent of the Equatorial Guinea rainforest, which are, in his words, ‘a major part of the global lungs which make it possible for the industrial world to breathe.’

“We urge Liberia’s efforts to protect these forests while also finding ways for the Liberians who depend on the forests for their livelihoods to sustain them and prosper,” he stressed.

Ambassador also recalled that at COP26 in Glasgow, Liberia committed to meeting the universal goal of limiting the increase in global temperatures to 1.5 degrees centigrade by 2030.

“As our own government has acknowledged, that will require accelerated action by all of us,” he assured. “We are especially grateful that Liberia was an early signatory of the Global Methane Pledge, and we look forward to working with Liberia on that and other initiatives.”

McCarthy underscored the risks of climate change for Liberia, stating that World Bank has pointed out that Liberia is highly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change and highly vulnerable to environmental instability due to its extreme poverty and high dependence on “climate sensitive” sectors such as agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and energy.

Said the US Chief Envoy to Liberia: “The heightened risks Liberia faces include coastal erosion and flooding due to more extreme and unpredictable rainfall. Indeed, ordinary Liberians are already experiencing these impacts during this exceptional dry season, which has severely limited the country’s hydro power generation, resulting in daily blackouts.”

He also identified what he called two big challenges, which are not made any easier to accomplish in the face of a global pandemic.

“One of the three leadership dialogues in Stockholm will focus on achieving a sustainable and inclusive recovery from COVID-19,” Mr. McCarthy stated, adding: “It will be important for all of us to continue to work with Liberia to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while also helping Liberia accelerate its economic growth.”

He noted that an important aspect of a sustainable recovery from COVID-19 is vaccination to prevent future infections, an effort to which he said “the United States has donated nearly 1.3 million doses of vaccine to Liberia, and together with donations from other countries, 23 percent of the population has been fully vaccinated”.

“That is still far short of the 70 percent target for Africa set by WHO by the end of June 2022. We urge Liberia to continue to accelerate its vaccination efforts and we will continue to work with Liberia to accomplish that.”

He expressed the hope that free enterprise will flourish in Liberia in a way that develops the vast talent of its people and sustains its rich environmental advantages — its beautiful landscapes, its exceptional biodiversity, and its abundant natural resources.

The US ambassador however quickly warned that that will not happen if Liberia does not have an inclusive, transparent, and corruption-free political system.

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