What it’s like to run a country that could be destroyed by climate change

The prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda on the lessons of Hurricane Irma.

In September 2017, Hurricane Irma — a Category 5 storm, the worst kind of hurricane — rocked the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda. The storm utterly devastated Barbuda in particular: 95 percent of its buildings were destroyed, and its entire population had to be evacuated.

Gaston Browne, Antigua and Barbuda’s prime minister, was forced to watch as a third of his country became uninhabitable.

Today, Barbuda is slowly being rebuilt, and hundreds of residents have returned home. But the threat is hardly over. The more the world’s climate shifts, the more frequent Irma-style storms will become. So Browne is trying to convince international leaders that it’s time to turn rhetoric about climate change into action.

Browne and I met in Dubai, where he was attending the World Government Summit — a conference at a swanky resort where the global political and financial elite meet to discuss big-picture issues like education and the future of technology.

When I asked him about American politicians who deny that man-made climate change exists — including, among other people, President Donald Trump — he became openly frustrated.

“They are speaking out of ignorance,” he said. “We cannot be in denial — we’ve suffered the consequences.”

Our conversation illuminated something that you don’t often hear in the US media: the perspective of people whose way of life and national survival is imperiled by our changing climate. A transcript of our conversation, lightly edited for length and clarity, follows.

Zack Beauchamp

So what’s the situation in Barbuda today?

Gaston Browne

We’re making steady but slow progress, because of resource constraints. The estimated recovery costs are in the region of $220 million — and that’s our entire budget. We don’t have the kind of resources to fund the recovery costs.

We’re trying to solicit grant …read more

Source:: Vox – All

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