Roban backs climate change protesters at Scottish summit
Mass demonstrations at the climate crisis summit in Scotland were yesterday defended by the home affairs minister.
Walter Roban, a delegate at the event in Glasgow, said he sympathised with activists such as Greta Thunberg, a Swedish teenage environmentalist.
He was speaking as thousands of demonstrators descended on the city for the first days of the COP26 climate conference – and staged a range of protests from road blocks to occupations.
Mr Roban, also the Deputy Premier, said that he backed the demonstrators.
He told The Royal Gazette: “Yeah, because I believe they are here to make their voices heard as the other part of this global picture – those who are not the politicians, not the policymakers.
“I think the people who are outside actually want us to be successful and they have their view about how that can happen.
“So, they’re not here to disrupt as much, I think, to encourage and to demand success.
“So, I would support that and their protest is just a part of the world having its say.”
“They are here to push for the goals that will save the world. They are not pushing against the COP conference.”
Mr Roban, who is attending the conference as part of a delegation from the UK Overseas Territories, said that island states were on the front line of global warming.
He added: “Islands really are the land masses that are experiencing the most volatile impact of climate change right now.
“Sea level rises will be an issue for us, just as it is for all other island states.”
But Mr Roban said: “I am encouraged by the messages that I have heard, particularly from bodies like the Commonwealth and others who are committed to see the majority of states make their commitment and stay and work towards that commitment.”
He added that the expense of attending the conference in an economic crisis sparked by Covid-19 was justified.
He added: “Yes, because I’m here as a part of a group of islands that, actually, despite our size represent a significant portion of the globe’s biodiversity and environment that is impacted by decisions that are made here.
“No one else can be a voice or a face for that effort other than us.
“It is important that we as territories be our own voice.
“We are here at the invitation of Her Majesty’s government, not imposing ourselves on the situation.
“So, justify the costs? We were responding to an invitation.”
Mr Roban will remain in Glasgow until Sunday and then travel to London for meetings on Bermudian affairs.