Tag: St Lucia

This 2016 photo shows erosion along the beach in Annotto Bay, St Mary, due to high waves.

A warning has been issued to governments across the Caribbean, including Jamaica, to do more to make countries resilient to climate change as there is a price to pay if nothing is done.

According to a report commissioned by the Commonwealth Marine Economies Programme, the Caribbean is “in the front line” and at greater risk from more severe impacts than many other parts of the world because of its geographic location as most regional states are smaller islands where people live close to and depend on the sea.

The Caribbean Marine Climate Change Report Card 2017, which was conducted by scientists and researchers, said more intense storms, floods, droughts, rising sea levels, higher temperatures, and ocean acidification are major threats to all regional economies and pose a danger to lives as well, both directly and indirectly.

“As the seas, reefs and coasts on which all Caribbean people depend are under threat, much more needs to be done to protect these resources, and the authors recommend building more resilient environments to prepare for, and protect against, climate change,” the report noted.

It has recommended developing a regional network of marine protected areas designed to future-proof marine biodiversity against climate change and stabilise shorelines to preserve natural barriers such as mangroves, salt marshes, and coral reefs.

STRONG HURRICANES TO INCREASE

The scientists warn that while the overall frequency of Atlantic storms may decrease, the strongest hurricanes are likely to increase. Global average sea level is projected to rise by a further 10-32 inches over the coming century a devastating amount for a country as low-lying as Cayman, where it could be even worse.

“In the northern Caribbean, sea-level rise could be 25 per cent higher than the global average due to other physical factors affecting land elevation,” the report states. “This projected rise in sea level and severe storms is likely to increase the risk of storm-surge events for Caribbean states, which will further exacerbate risks to biodiversity, settlements and infrastructure.”

The report also zeroed in on some countries in the region including Jamaica, Belize, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Guyana and St Lucia.

Where fishing is concerned, the researchers noted that if there is no action – permanent fishing camps on low lying offshore cays may be completely submerged by future sea level rise, and these are particularly vulnerable during extreme-weather events.

Gleaner

The painting by Candice Henry of Trinidad and Tobago, which placed second in CARICOM Energy Week art and photo competition last year.

THE CARIBBEAN Community (CARICOM) Secretariat is this month drawing public attention to the energy realities of the region while helping individuals to identify how to better conserve while cutting costs.

They are doing it through a slew of activities, all of which are being celebrated as part of CARICOM Energy Month and under the theme “Sustainable Energy for Sustainable Development”.

“There are really two main things we are trying to do. One is to really build awareness among the general citizenry around energy matters so people understand what energy conservation means and what are some of the things they can do to take better control of their energy system,” said Dr Devon Gardner, programme Manager for Energy at the CARICOM secretariat.

“The second thing is for them to really understand the energy situation in the region and what is being done on the macro scale to provide the right-size solutions that can be used to support the sustainable development of the countries of CARICOM,” he added.

To make that happen, among other things, there are three knowledge webinars planned on the subject, all of which target the regional public and a number of key stakeholders.

There are, too, a number of competitions one of them a photo and art competition and another a regional news reporting competition intended to get people thinking through energy issues as they affect them and the likely solutions.

According to Gardner, the observation of CARICOM Energy Month which also takes account of national-level activities, including kilo walk events set for, for example, Guyana and St Lucia is important. And this, at a time when CARICOM countries are collectively using some 13,000 Btu of energy to produce one US dollar of gross domestic product (GDP) compared to 4,000 Btu of energy used by Japan, for example, to produce the same one US dollar of GDP and the global average of 10,000 Btu.

“We live in an age where there is great participation in energy; energy investments and energy solutions are no longer top down. Thirty years ago, the utility made the decisions about what kind of power plants to use, determined how to deliver the energy and a person took what was provided. If you did not have it, you simply waited for the utility to give it to you, which is why you heard of rural electricity programmes and so on,” Gardner noted.

“We are in an age now where technology has changed; there a lot of options available for or small, individualised power generation systems as well as energy services that can be provided directly and in a cost-effective ways, such as solar water heaters. There is also greater awareness of people around what is possible though they might not know what those solutions are. It is incumbent on us to give them the options,” he added.

“It is a part of good governance, it is a part of what modern society requires,” Gardner said further.

Critically, he said information and exchanges this month will afford Caribbean stakeholders the chance to shape their climate future.

“Over the last twenty years or so, the whole issue climate protection and of sustainable development practice has risen to the fore on the global agenda. There is recognition that the climate fight can be impacted by an aggregation of climate actions at the micro level,” he said.

“The role of each individual in being able to fight or mitigate various climate effects has drive a lot of what energy month wants to provide, which is that each individual, in their own space, can do something, which when aggregated with the global efforts, is part of significant tool,” he added.

Gleaner

CASTRIES, St Lucia (CMC) — Caribbean Community (Caricom) ministers and climate change negotiators began a two-day meeting here yesterday to fine-tune the region`s negotiating position ahead of the 21st session of the Conference of Parties (COP 21) to be held in Paris later next month.

The November 30 to December 11 conference forms part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change UNFCC).

The meeting here is a follow-up to a similar one held here in September and the organisers said the objective is to prepare the ministers to engage in the pre-COP meeting which will be organised by the COP Presidency in November.

“With just over one month before the start of COP 21 and on the heels of a climate negotiators preparatory meetings held earlier this month in Bonn, Germany, it is an opportune time for Caricom negotiators and ministers to be updated on the critical issues, especially those with implications for Small Island Developing States and to concretise position(s) going to Paris.”

The ministers will be apprised of the state of climate change negotiations under the UNFCC for a new climate change agreement to be finalised at the COP 21.

The meeting here is being organised by the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Energy, Science and Technology, the High Level Support Mechanism and the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre.

The Observer