Mia Mottley, prime minister of Barbados, hailed Sealy as a “true friend” and praised his commitment to the country
Barbados’ special envoy for climate change and carbon market expert Hugh Sealy has died suddenly at the age of 59, leaving the climate community in shock.
Tributes have poured in for the diplomat and climate consultant who has been described as “a passionate and qualified defender” of the Caribbean region and small island nations and “a true climate champion”.
Barbados prime minister Mia Mottley, who announced the news in an emotional statement published on the government’s website, said she was “in a state of shock”. There was no cause of death.
Mottley described Sealy as “a true friend and trusted advisor” that she “will miss immensely”. The pair met in primary school in Barbados and had maintained “a very close friendship” since, she said. Following her 2018 victory in the 2018 general election, she appointed him special climate ambassador.
“It is truly heartbreaking to think that someone with so much left to contribute to the betterment of mankind has left us so soon, but I am comforted that in just six decades on this earth he has contributed much more than his fair share,” Mottley wrote.
The islands have lost a champion. Hugh Sealy fought in support #1point5tostayaliveAnd #climateambitionIn the UNFCCC trenches shaping the discussion in every space he entered. He will be missed. https://t.co/1hL30pRMOR
— Tina Stege (@EnvoyRmi) March 20, 2022
Sealy was born in Canada to Bajan parents in 1962.
After studying chemical engineering in Canada, he earned a doctorate of environmental sciences from the University of Liverpool in England.
In the early 2000s, he became a private consultant and advised governments in the Caribbean region on sustainable developments issues. These included energy and flood management as well as public health and waste.
He was appointed advisor to the government of Grenada on energy and sustainable development and oversaw the development and implementation of Grenada’s 2010-2020 energy policy.
He worked in Barbados to protect water resources. He also spearheaded a program to build resilient roofs across Barbados that could withstand stronger hurricanes.
He was a project manager and then became a diplomat. He served as a senior negotiator in the Alliance of Small Island States (Aosis) on carbon markets and mitigation.
He taught at the St. George’s University in Grenada and in 2019, he was made lecturer on climate change and water resources management at the University of the West Indies in Barbados.
It was deeply sad to learn of the passing Dr Hugh Sealy. It was an honor to have his expertise and voice advocating small islands in climate talks. His impact and service are immeasurable. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and country 🙏🏾 https://t.co/MLQutRQ8Vy
— AOSIS (@AOSISChair) March 20, 2022
He was remembered by the climate community as a fierce defender of the priorities small island states.
Selwin Hart is a UN special adviser on climate change and a fellow Barbadian. said: “Hugh’s passion, commitment and dedication to Barbados the Caribbean and small island developing states was unrivaled. My friend as you Rest In Peace please be assured that we will never give up the fight you bravely fought.”
Anaitee mills, a climate expert and energy specialist from Jamaica, is featured. said the “entire climate change island network is in shock”.
Vale Dr Hugh Sealy
Friend, colleague and fierce, intelligent, committed warrior on climate change #1point5toStayAlive
Deep Condolences pic.twitter.com/ODlXg01mU0
— Bill Hare (@BillHareClimate) March 21, 2022
In the climate talks, Sealy was best known for his work to secure an agreement on establishing rules for carbon markets under the UN climate talks – discussions he co-chaired in 2017 and 2019.
Between 2009 and 2016, he was a member of the UN Climate Change Clean Development Mechanism Board.
More recently, Sealy co-chaired the Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market, an initiative that emerged from Mark Carney’s taskforce to scale up the market. He presented the council’s plans on the issue during a press briefing only last week.
“We have lost a great friend and colleague,” the integrity council said in a statement. “Hugh’s energy, passion and tireless dedication to improving the lives of people everywhere was an inspiration to us all and will leave an indelible mark on our hearts and minds.”
Paul Watkinson, a senior French climate diplomat, praised Sealy’s determination to get a deal on carbon markets. “Hugh Sealy was one of those people who make a real difference, who make things happen,” he tweeted.
Shocked and deeply disturbed by the news about Dr. Hugh Sealy’s sudden death, friend and colleague, staunch defender his country, region, and the global environmental environment. Prayers and thoughts to his family. @miaamormottley @barbados @UNFCCC https://t.co/dcMSsXltXi
— Christiana Figueres (@CFigueres) March 20, 2022
Source: Climate Change News