The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre joins the international community in celebrating World Environment Day. While the COVID 19 pandemic and the international response to contain it have created and exacerbated hardships for everyone, they have also provided us with an opportunity for reflection and holistic recalibration.
Emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere have declined as industrial activity and travel screeched to a halt and is only now slowly coming back. Yet, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere continues to increase as historical emissions are taking their toll. That narrow window of opportunity to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius is rapidly closing. We must cut emissions by 50% by 2030 and become carbon neutral by 2050 if we are to achieve it. This is why all countries must submit new, enhanced and more ambitious NDCs this year and commit to implement them unconditionally. This is not the time for inaction on this front.
Biodiversity is being celebrated this World Environment Day. This period of enforced confinement has provided us with an opportunity to appreciate the ecosystem surrounding us. There is less noise from air, land and marine transportation. We can see and hear more birds. The air is fresher. We can feel the wind. We can hear the rain on our roof tops. Instead of rushing around, we can actually appreciate nature.
Let us not waste the opportunity this time of reflection has provided. As we rebuild our lives and our economies, let us build back better. The response has stimulated our ingenuity in communication, living with less, recycling, and diets.
CARICOM are making every effort to manage the threats posed by the pandemic . Let us not let down our guard. As the hurricane season warms up, let us ensure that we can also weather this threat.
Happy World Environment Day!