Barbadian Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley, who has emerged as a fierce critic of the international community’s inaction on the climate crisis, warned that the urgent climate risks facing island nations like hers are also affecting big nations like the U.S.
“While we in the islands are the canaries, you are soon going to be the victims of that. Which country is hit by a hurricane every year, do you know? The United States. Every year, it’s just different states,” Mottley told TIME CEO and editor in chief Edward Felsenthal Tuesday at the TIME100 Summit in New York City. “Our countries in the Caribbean, we play lotto, or roulette, as to which one will be hit. But I would have thought, given the exposure of the [U.S.] southeastern and eastern seaboard, there would be a greater compelling framework for us to treat these issues.”
For years, Mottley has been loud in her criticism of global leaders’ failure to slow down climate change enough—and that smaller and poorer nations, especially island countries, are bearing the brunt of the effects.”We’ve been carrying the cost of climate [change] for a while now. We’re carrying the cost of the G7 industrialized nations on our balance sheets, and it’s wrong and nobody’s making room to ensure we get access to grants,” she said Tuesday. “We can’t borrow if we have no fiscal space, and the cost of borrowing is also prohibitive.”
Mottley has also been supportive of Barbados’ move away from its colonial past. Last November, the country officially removed Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state, opting instead to become a Republic and installed its first ever president, Dame Sandra Mason. Mottley also reiterated her goal of seeking reparations from colonizers—although the formal process has been put on hold because of the war in Ukraine.
The TIME 100 Summit is the live event extension of the annual TIME 100 list of the most influential people in the world. It convenes leaders from the global TIME 100 community to spotlight solutions and encourage action toward a better world. This year’s summit features a variety of impactful speakers across a diverse range of sectors, including politics, business, health and science, culture, and more.
Speakers for the 2022 TIME 100 Summit include Apple CEO Tim Cook, producer Mindy Kaling, filmmaker Taika Waititi, U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, musician Jon Batiste, NBA champion, entrepreneur, and philanthropist Dwayne Wade, former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords, #MeToo founder Tarana Burke, ACLU deputy director for transgender justice Chase Strangio, Christian Siriano founder and creative director Christian Siriano, Brother Vellies founder and creative director Aurora James, Netflix head of global TV Bela Bajaria, author and poet Cathy Park Hong, Olympic freestyle skiing champion Eileen Gu, author, poet, and president of the Mellon Foundation Elizabeth Alexander, filmmaker Betsy West, filmmaker Julie Cohen, BioNTech SE senior vice president Dr. Katalin Karikó, Ukrayinska Pravda editor in chief Sevgil Musaieva, and TIME co-chair and Salesforce chair and co-CEO Marc Benioff.