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Regional Statement on the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on the Impacts of Global Warming of 1.5 °C Above Pre_Industrial Levels (1.5 °C Special Report) Last Updated

Photo Credit: CARICOM Secretariat

We, the Ministers responsible for addressing climate change in the Caribbean Community:

  1. Recalling the escalated climate change impacts that the region has experienced in recent years with warming of 1.0 °C above pre-industrial levels, including the devastating impacts from hurricanes and tropical storms and other weather-related extreme events, and the adverse effects these impacts have had on particularly vulnerable countries and communities;
  1. Also recalling the long-standing calls from small island and low lying coastal developing states (SIDS) for limiting the increase in average global temperatures to below 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century in order to avoid the worst impacts of climate change;
  1. Mindful of decision 1/CP.21 that invited the IPCC to provide a Special Report in 2018 on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas (GHG) emission pathways;
  1. Welcome the adoption of the IPCC Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change and the challenges it poses to sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty, which was approved in Incheon, Republic of Korea, on 6 October 2018;
  1. Note with grave concern the findings of the IPCC 1.5 °C Special Report that climate-related risks for natural and human systems including health, livelihoods, food security, water supply, human security, and economic growth are significantly higher for global warming of 1.5 °C than at the present warming levels of 1.0 °C above pre-industrial levels. Particularly worrisome for SIDS is the finding that 70 – 90 % of tropical coral reefs will be lost at 1.5 oC of warming and 99 % of them at 2 oC of warming;
  1. Also note with alarm the Report’s findings that global warming is likely to reach 1.5 °C between 2030 and 2052 if the global average temperature continues to increase at the current rate;
  1. Further note that there are limits to adaptation and adaptive capacity for some human and natural systems at global warming of 1.5 °C, with associated losses that could be potentially significant and costly for countries in the region;
  1. Highlight the 1.5 °C Special Report’s findings that holding warming to 1.5 oC throughout the 21st Century is technically and economically feasible and is likely to have considerable sustainable development benefits;
  1. Further highlight the report’s findings that urgent action on emissions reduction is required, bolstered by real commitment to ambitious action from Governments and non-state actors;
  1. Emphasize the report’s findings that international cooperation is a critical enabler for developing countries and vulnerable regions to strengthen their action for the implementation of 1.5 °C-consistent climate responses;
  1. Reiterate accordingly the 1.5 °C Special Report’s findings that the collective mitigation efforts by countries, as expressed in their National Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement, are currently inadequate and would result in temperature increases of over 3.0 °C by 2100;
  1. Affirm the importance of forests as a natural and cost effective contribution to global mitigation efforts and renew our call on all parties to recommit to enhanced ambitious action to halt and reverse deforestation and forest degradation, to advance the REDD+ Framework and to optimize the contribution of forests in achieving the 1.5-degree goal;
  1. Call therefore upon the international community, starting at the upcoming 24th Conference of the Parties (COP 24) in Katowice, Poland, in December 2018, to rapidly increase mitigation ambition and action with a view to achieving a decline in net carbon dioxide emissions by at least 45 % from 2010 levels by 2030, and net zero by 2050;
  1. Stress the importance of having a strong and ambitious outcome to the Talanoa Dialogue at COP 24, inclusive of a COP decision and an accompanying declaration by Ministers urging countries to bring forward substantially more ambitious mitigation efforts in their NDCs to be communicated by 2020, and encouraging countries to come forward with ambitious long-term low GHG emission development strategies by 2050 that are consistent with pathways for limiting warming to below 1.5 oand in keeping with the recognised principle of basing an effective and progressive response to the urgent threat of climate change on the best available scientific knowledge;
  1. Emphasize the significance of the 1.5 °C Special Report’s assessment of the work on residual risks, limits to adaptation and loss and damage, and note that these are already being experienced by SIDS in the Caribbean and other regions;
  1. Also emphasize the need to address loss and damage in SIDS and other vulnerable countries as an integral but distinct pillar of the Paris Agreement and strongly urge all countries, both developing and developed, to participate actively and meaningfully to this end;
  1. Call for the provision of adequate support to initiatives under the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage, including support to enable SIDS to submit proposals to address loss and damage to the Green Climate Fund (GCF);
  1. Also call on the international community to act with utmost urgency to rapidly shift financial flows to facilitate and effect pathways consistent with limiting warming to 1.5 °C;
  1. Urge developed countries on the occasion of the 2018 High-level Ministerial Dialogue on Climate Finance at COP 24 to demonstrate progress towards the mobilization of USD 100 billion per annum by 2020 and to further demonstrate their commitment to efforts to increase that climate finance goal through to 2025;
  1. Stress the importance of achieving a balance in the provision of resources for mitigation and adaptation actions, in particular targeting the needs of SIDS for public and grant-based resources for adaptation and for addressing loss and damage from the dangerous impacts of climate change;
  1. Welcome the launch of the first formal replenishment process of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and look forward to the timely conclusion of an inclusive process and the development of a comprehensive resource mobilization strategy informed by the latest science, while taking into account the urgent needs of SIDS;
  1. Call upon Parties to ensure that market mechanisms under the Paris Agreement now go beyond offsetting to deliver an overall mitigation of global GHG emissions;
  1. Also welcome the United Nations (UN) Secretary General’s convening of a UN Climate Summit in September 2019, and commit to engage constructively and participate at the highest possible level to ensure its success;
  1. Thank the IPCC for the 1.5 °C Special Report and look forward to the upcoming Special Report on the Oceans and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate, the Special Report on Climate and Land, and the Sixth Assessment Report;
  1. Reaffirm our full support to the Republic of Poland in its capacity as the Presidency of COP 24 and encourage efforts by the COP 24 Presidency for a strong political and meaningful outcome at COP 24 aimed at continuing to build the momentum in addressing global climate change and, in particular, bringing into focus international attention on the special circumstances of SIDS.

Credit: CARICOM SECRETARIAT

Regional NGO Moves To Advance Caribbean Climate Interests

Indi Mclymont Lafayette

PANOS Caribbean, together with Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), will today launch a two-day climate change workshop geared at helping to advance the interests of Caribbean small-island developing states.The workshop, which is to see the participation of some 12 journalists and eight artistes from the region, is being held in St Lucia, ahead of this year’s international climate talks set for Paris, France in December.

The journalists and artistes, including Jamaica’s Aaron Silk, are complemented by participants from St Lucia’s Ministry of Sustainable Development, Energy, Science, and Technology – another partner in the workshop.

“The workshop is a prep meeting for Paris, pulling together a range of stakeholders, including popular artistes and journalists with the aim to come up with a strategy to bring attention to the small island position of ‘1.5 degrees to stay alive’,” said Indi Mclymont Lafayette, country coordinator and programme director with Panos.

“We really want to ensure that if an agreement is signed in Paris, it is one that won’t mean the death of small islands in the long run,” she added.

The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), including CARICOM, have as far back as the Copenhagen Talks in 2009, called for a long-term goal to “limit global average temperatures to well below 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to long-term stabilisation of greenhouse gas concentrations to well below 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide equivalent”.

At the time, science adviser to AOSIS Dr Al Binger predicted that given sea-level rise, residents of small island states would eventually have to ‘swim for it’.

“We need to improve our boat-building art [and] teach our kids to swim because sooner or later, we are going to have to swim for it,” he said.

Speaking more recently at the French Embassy-hosted climate change debate in Kingston this year, physicist and head of the Climate Studies Group Mona, Dr Michael Taylor, painted a grim picture for a Caribbean in a world where average global temperatures exceed 1.5 degrees.

According to Taylor, the two degrees advanced by developed country partners may prove “too much for us to deal with”, given warmer days and nights and more variable rainfall, among other impacts,now being experienced.

Meanwhile, Mclymont Lafayette said the workshop – having educated artistes about climate change and journalists on reporting on it – would seek to craft a communication plan to bring a broader set of stakeholders up to date as to what is at stake for the region.

Strategy

“We are looking at a strategy over the next few months of some of the things that could be done. [These include] the journalists to report on climate change; the artistes to use their performing platforms and media interviews to bring attention to the issues and the negotiators to work in tandem with them,” she said.

“It would be good if we could have an awareness campaign leading up to Paris and also while in Paris, have a side event that would really capture a lot of the issues and provide a gateway for hearing or having good discussions on the impacts on the islands,”Mclymont Lafayette added.

The workshop – done with co-financing from Climate Analytics, the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States and the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre – forms a part of a larger Panos project for which they continue to fundraise.

That project aims promote civil society involvement in the discourse on climate change in the region, through, among other things, facilitating their participation in the upcoming Paris Talks.

Credit: Jamaica Gleaner

Longstanding CARICOM Negotiator on Climate Change Reflects on the UNFCCC’s 20th Anniversary

Carlos Fuller

Carlos Fuller

Today, Friday, 21 March 2014, marks the 20th anniversary of the entry into force of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. As we celebrate the landmark Convention and the investment in its implementation over the last two decades, Caribbean Climate, the region’s premier climate change focused blog, asked Carlos Fuller, a long-standing Caribbean negotiator who now functions as the International and Regional Liaison Officer at the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, to reflect on this milestone. His comments are featured below.

Having been involved in the climate change negotiation process since its inception, I look back at the past 20 years with mixed emotions. I have witnessed first-hand the assimilation of vague ideas on the elements of a climate change agreement which were crafted into a Convention with perhaps too rigid elements that have hindered the actions required to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases instead of facilitating a process which would have produced the change in productive and consumption patterns to address the causes of climate change. Nevertheless, a series of decisions including the development and adoption of the Kyoto Protocol provided the impetus for a small group of countries to reduce their emissions and have raised the awareness among a significant segment of the population that the world must take action to cope with a changing climate.

The Caribbean has certainly benefited from the process. All CARICOM States are now aware of the threat climate change poses to the region. Institutional processes have been established in the region in response to the threat including the establishment of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre which is mandated to coordinate the region’s response to climate change, the development of a Master of Science programme in climate change in CEREMES at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies and the creation of the Climate Change Impacts Group at the Moina Campus of UWI among others. The region has attracted over US$100 million in funding to enhance its capacity to address climate change, to assess the impacts of climate change on the region, to asses the region’s vulnerability and to undertake action to reduce that vulnerability. Unfortunately, the region has emulated the example of the international community and has not undertaken the transformational changes that will make the region resilient to climate change.

The region and the international community have another chance to get it right. The global community has embarked on a process to develop a new climate change agreement which should be finalized in Paris in December 2015 and which will come into effect in 2020. That agreement must stimulate all countries to contribute to an international effort to drastically reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and provide the financial and technical support to adapt to the impacts of climate change. The next two years  will be especially crucial as the international community seeks to craft a global agreement that involves all actors (developed, developing, LDC’s etc.) in a massive effort to keep global temperature increase below the 2 deg. C mark and for the capitalisation of the Green Climate Fund at a level that ensures adequate resources are available to allow significant implementation of Adaptation measures in CARICOM and other developing countries.

Climate Change, Transportation and Belize’s economic prospects

Belize Road

Credit: Bishwa Pandey/World Bank

Dr David J. Keeling, Distinguished University Professor of Geography at Western Kentucky University, says “Climate change impacts, both long-term and short-term, are likely to have serious repercussions for Belizean communities without a detailed and comprehensive management plan for accessibility and mobility”. Peruse his exclusive contribution to Caribbean Climate.

Links between climate change and transportation may not seem obvious at first glance, especially when considering the broader social and economic impacts of weather shifts over time and space.  The short-term effects of climate events such as tornadoes, hurricanes, tidal surges, or flash floods capture the attention of the media, emergency personnel, and these populations affected primarily because of the immediate humanitarian considerations.  People need rescuing, emergency shelters must be provided, potable water and food are needed, and emergency services are charged with helping the devastated communities to recover. Without transportation infrastructure, and without the means to provide accessibility to, and mobility within, the affected areas, tragedy would be compounded. Roads especially are critical to this recovery effort, particularly in poorer regions of a country or in more isolated rural areas, because often this is the only basic infrastructure available to connect people to the outside world.

A longer view of climate change impacts on people  and places requires governments and societies to think about transportation in different ways. Of course, we understand intuitively that transport improvements are critical to socio-economic growth and wellbeing, but this does not necessarily translate into concrete policy in many parts of the world, especially Latin America. In Brazil, for example, Latin America’s most robust economy and most populated country, less than 10 percent of the country’s roads are paved, compared to nearly 60 percent in China or 99 percent in Thailand. In smaller countries such as Belize that have fewer available resources, the transportation challenges are more critical and immediate. Climate change impacts, both long-term and short-term, are likely to have serious repercussions for Belizean communities without a detailed and comprehensive management plan for accessibility and mobility.

IMG_0475

Credit: Jason Polk

Less than 20 percent of Belize’s roads are paved, many are two-laned only, some are washboard-dirt in composition, and often patched with gravel or sand.  Many Belizean communities are located quite far from major highway access points, and could be viewed as much more susceptible or vulnerable to coastal changes than larger towns and cities. Regional plans for infrastructural improvements under the auspices of the Plan Puebla-Panamá include the Guatemala-Yucatán Axis that aims to improve economic integration and mobility along the Caribbean coast. However, little progress has been made to date, in part because of regional geopolitical differences. Yet local planning for long-term climate change impacts, such as rising sea levels, more intense rainfall, or other climatic shifts, needs to be harmonized with transportation infrastructure challenges in mind. Belize needs to have a comprehensive, forward-looking management plan that anticipates the relationship between climate change, accessibility, and mobility. This is especially critical for the tourism industry and for agriculture, forestry, and other primary economic activities.

As climates change, so too do economic opportunities and potentials. In short, Belize is vulnerable to the long-term impacts of climate change in myriad ways. It needs, therefore, a proactive, integrative set of management goals that recognize how transportation infrastructure is inextricably intertwined with socio-economic goals and strategies. Even a small country like Belize can have big ideas and policies that can set the standard for how to manage future climate change.

CCORAL Is Here! Endorsed by the IPCC Chair

In keeping with its thrust to promote a culture of risk management across the region, the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre launched a seminal online support tool in Saint Lucia today. The launch event, which was  attended by permanent secretaries from ministries of finance and planning, development partners, Saint Lucia’s Deputy Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre (among other St. Lucian officials), a broad cross-section of regional stakeholders and journalists, officially introduced the Caribbean Climate Online Risk and Adaptation TooL (CCORAL).

In his keynote address Dr. James Fletcher, Saint Lucia’s Minister of Public Service, Sustainable Development, Energy, Science and Technology, urged the region to ensure broad use and adaptability of CCORAL. He added that CCORAL, which has been endorsed by Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Dr. Rajendra Kumar Pachauri, will promote climate-smart development by helping to embed a risk management ethic in decision-making processes across the region.

“The development of the risk assessment tool [is] an extremely important asset in assessing the risk from the impacts of climate change in the Caribbean region,” according to Dr. Pachauri. The two dozen island nations of the Caribbean, and the 40 million people who live there, are in a state of increased vulnerability to climate change. Higher temperatures, sea level rise, and increased hurricane intensity threaten lives, property and livelihoods throughout the region. Against this background, CCORAL will help to boost the capacity of these countries to assess their risk amidst a variable and changing climate, while creating pathways for the identification and implementation of adaptation and mitigation options.

CCORAL is a practical approach to cost-effective climate-resilient investment projects,” says Dr. Kenrick Leslie, Executive Director of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre. “CCORAL will aid the region in defining approaches and solutions that will provide benefits now and in the future by adopting ‘no-regret’ actions and flexible measures.”

(L-R) Dr. Trotz, Deputy Director, CCCCC; Sylvester Clauzel, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Energy, Science and Technology, Saint Lucia;  Keith Nichols, Project Development Specialist, CCCCC; Dr. Bynoe, Sr. Environmental  & Resource Economist, CCCCC;  Dr. Fletcher, Minister of the Public Service, Sustainable Development, Energy, Science and Technology, Saint Lucia; and Deputy Prime Minister of Saint Lucia Philip J. Pierre

(L-R) Dr. Trotz, Deputy Director, CCCCC; Sylvester Clauzel, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Energy, Science and Technology, Saint Lucia; Keith Nichols, Project Development Specialist, CCCCC; Dr. Bynoe, Sr. Environmental & Resource Economist, CCCCC; Dr. Kenrick Leslie, CBE, Executive Director, CCCCC; Dr. Fletcher, Minister of the Public Service, Sustainable Development, Energy, Science and Technology, Saint Lucia; and Deputy Prime Minister of Saint Lucia Philip J. Pierre

It is intended to be used primarily by agencies at the regional and national level with responsibility for development, planning and finance, the private sector and non-governmental organisations. Ministries of Finance and/or Planning are central to the initial efforts to anchor this tool in climate resilience-building decisions. Notwithstanding, civil society organisations, universities, financial services and development partners, local communities can also use CCORAL to inform actions that must embed climate considerations. The tool is available to all member countries through an open source online platform at ccoral.caribbeanclimate.bz.

According to Keith Nichols, Programme Development Specialist at the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, “the development of the risk assessment tool emerged after an extensive consultation process with regional stakeholders to ensure authenticity, relevance and ownership”. It is a direct response to the requirement of the Regional Framework for Achieving Development Resilient to Climate Change (the “Regional Framework”) and the landmark Implementation Plan (IP) that were endorsed by CARICOM Heads in 2009 and 2012, respectively. The IP acknowledges that a transformational change in mindset, institutional arrangements, operating systems, collaborative approaches and integrated planning mechanisms are essential to deliver the strategic elements and goals of the Regional Framework and to enable climate smart development by embedding a risk management ethic in decision-making.

The Caribbean Climate Online Risk and Adaptation Tool (CCORAL), has been developed by the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) with funding from the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) and the Climate Development and Knowledge Network (CDKN).

Learn more about CCORAL by viewing the CCORAL Fact Sheet and Brochure.

Updated July 12, 2013 at 12:07pm post-lauch

Environmental Psychologist: Uncertainty Drives Inaction on Climate Adaptation

Environmental Psychologist and Geographer Dr. Stefanie Baasch says uncertainties about climate change impacts, especially at the local and regional level, could drive inaction. Read more in her exclusive contribution to Caribbean Climate.

Adaptation to climate change is a new and challenging task on the political agendas. Developing strategies and measures for

Environmental Psychologist and Geographer Dr. Stefanie Baasch

Environmental Psychologist and Geographer Dr. Stefanie Baasch

adaptation are not easy to find because adaptation takes place under conditions of uncertainty, complexity and dynamic developments. On the scientific level there are still deep uncertainties in predicting climate change impacts especially at the local and regional scale.

Also, climate change impacts may interact with each other and may furthermore have a greater adverse effect when acting together compared to when they’re acting in isolation. But even if this data would be available in the future, adaptation still remains challenging because of its high complexity and its dependence on dynamic and interacting societal and natural framework conditions. For example, adaptation capacities are highly dependent on economic and demographic developments.

Simultaneously, adaptation is closely linked to local adaptation needs which are based on locally diverse vulnerabilities. This means that adaptation not only calls for strategies which are focusing on changing natural conditions, but also for integrative strategies that takes both societal and natural conditions into account. Adaptation to climate change is a cross cutting issue that interacts with and influences many policy fields, including nature protection, biodiversity and societal development.

From a psychological perspective, dealing with uncertainties is difficult because people in general feel much more comfortable in decision-making based on certainties, as such uncertainty could lead to justifying inaction. Therefore, dealing with these uncertainties is a crucial task for adaptation to climate change. This includes methodological developments and implementation of flexible approaches which enables stakeholders and decision makers to find solutions and strategies towards adaptation.

Effective and efficient adaptation is calling for governance approaches that involves both public and private actors in the process. The integration of regional and local knowledge and the high local responsibility for supporting and implementing adaptation measures  will foster cooperation needs between a variety of actors. Adaptation to climate change is a policy challenge which consists of balancing multi scale, short- mid- and long-term and conflict-ridden (e.g. water and land use) factors.

In general, adaptation is much more a continuous social learning process in which a wide range of actors (policy makers, sectoral stakeholders, citizens, NGOs, researchers etc.) define options for adaptation and negotiate their priorities. That means, adaptation needs methods which are addressing or enabling such social learning processes between diverse actors and therefore have to be participatory and inclusive.

Dr. Baasch is a senior researcher at the Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), Department of Environmental Politics currently conducting research in Belize on how NGOs and other key actors, including community based organizations integrate adaptation to climate change in their programs, as well as  how they are producing and integrating different kinds of knowledge about local adaptation needs. This study is supported by a travel grant from the Fritz Thyssen Foundation in Germany. 

Tell us what you think of Dr. Baasch’s commentary in the comment box below. To contribute to Caribbean Climate email: Tyrone Hall at thall@caribbeanclimate.bz.

About Us

Building picCaribbean Climate is the region’s premier climate change focused blog. It is produced by the Belmopan, Belize-based Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC). The Centre coordinates the region’s response to climate change. Officially opened in August 2005, the Centre is the key node for information on climate change issues and the region’s response to managing and adapting to climate change.

The Centre maintains the Caribbean’s most extensive repository of information and data on climate change specific to the region, which in part enables us to provide climate change-related policy advice and guidelines to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states through the CARICOM Secretariat. In this role, the Centre is recognised by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and other international agencies as the focal point for climate change issues in the Caribbean.

The Centre is also a United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) recognised Centre of Excellence, one of an elite few. Learn more about how we’re working to make the Caribbean more climate resilient by perusing The Implementation Plan.

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