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Caribbean at Annual Meeting of the AMS

Dr Leonard Nurse, Chairman of the Board and Mr Carlos Fuller, International and Regional Liaison Officer of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) attended the 99th Annual Meeting of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) in their personal capacities. Other participants from the Caribbean at the meeting held in Phoenix, Arizona, USA from 6 to 10 January 2019 included Dr David Farrell, Principal of the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH), Mr Glendell de Souza, Deputy Coordinating Director of the Caribbean Meteorological Organization (CMO) and representatives of the national Meteorological Services of the Antigua and Barbuda, Guyana and Suriname.

There were several presentations by scientists from the CIMH. Shawn Boyce presented on “Impact-Based Forecasting and Assessment in the Caribbean”.  Lawrence Pologne delivered a presentation on “The Potential, Viability and Co-benefits of Developing Wind Energy to Mitigate Climate Change in the Caribbean” based on his University of the West Indies (UWI), Cave Hill doctoral thesis. Branden Spooner, an Intern at CIMH, presented on “Using Virtual Reality Technology as a Tool in Disaster Risk Reduction”.

There were several presentations of interest to the region. Kristie Ebi delivered on “Building Resilience of Health Systems in Pacific Island Least Developed Countries”. She also worked with Cory Morin of the University of Washington who delivered a presentation on, “Use of Seasonal Climate Forecasts to Develop an Early-Warning System for Dengue Fever Risk in Central America and the Caribbean”. They expressed an interest with collaborating with the CCCCC in developing this warning system.

The CIMH, and the national Meteorological Services of Belize and Jamaica were used in Catherine Vaughan’s, “Evaluation of Regional Climate Services: Learning from Seasonal Scale Examples across the Americas”. She is working out of the International Research Institute for Climate and Society at Colombia University.

Belize may find the presentation by Jorge Tamayo of the State Meteorological Agency, Spain, on “New Projects on Iberoamerican Meteorological Cooperation” of special interest. One project is on the development of a lightening detection network for Central America. They are also collaborating with the Regional Committee of Hydrological Services (CRRH) and the Central American Integration System (SICA) on a meeting in 2019 on the delivery of climate services.

In an interesting session on Communicating Climate Change, Mike Nelson of KMGH-TV in Denver Colorado, presented on “Communicating Climate Change – Be the Expert in the Living Room”, and Hank Jenkins-Smith of the University of Oklahoma delivered a presentation on “Stability and Instability in Individual Beliefs about Climate Change”. Jenkins-Smith noted that based on polling trends, conservatives were more likely to change their beliefs on climate change while liberals were more likely to retain their opinions on climate change.

In a session on Climate Extremes in the Tropical Americas: Past, Present and Future, Derek Thompson of Louisiana State University (LSU) presented on “Spatiotemporal Patterns and Recurrence Intervals of Tropical Cyclone Strikes for the Caribbean Islands from 1901 to 2017”, and Prashant Sardeshmukh, CIRES presented on “Can We Trust Model Projections of Changes in Climate Extremes over the Tropical Americas?”. He noted that dynamics played a more important role than atmospheric temperature in explaining extreme weather events. Current climate models were not capturing this aspect accurately and more work was required in this area. Kristine DeLong of LSU presented her work on “Last Interglacial Sea Surface Temperature Variability in the Tropical Atlantic Warm Pool: A Comparison of Model and Coral-Based Reconstructions”, which focused mainly on paleoclimatic reconstructions based on coral samples in the Caribbean. She noted the importance of collaboration with Caribbean institutions.

The 100th AMS Meeting will be held in Boson, Massachusetts from 12 to 16 January 2020. Caribbean meteorologists, hydrologists and climate change experts are encouraged to attend these meetings to be appraised of the most recent research on these subjects.

CARICOM Champions Science at COP 24 – Carlos Fuller, International and Regional Liaison Officer of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre and Climate Change Negotiator

The Member States of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) were among a large group of countries at COP 24 insisting that the global response to climate change be driven by science.

During 2018 the CARICOM Member States tried to include the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C as an agenda item at COP 24. However, they were unable to do so. At COP 24 they used two approaches to highlight the importance of the Special Report to the process. In the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technical Advice (SBSTA) under the agenda item on Research and Systematic Observations (RSO), they proposed a paragraph welcoming the Special Report. Led by Ms Cheryl Jeffers of St Kitts and Nevis, speaking on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), the group also tried to insert paragraphs highlighting key messages from the 2018 State of the Climate presented by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the work of a Task Force of Global Climate Observing System (GCOS). Although these were supported by most of the countries present, including the African Group, the Least Developed Countries Group (LDCs), the Independent Association of Latin America and the Caribbean (AILAC) and the European Union (EU), it was opposed by Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Russia and the United States. As a result, when the SBSTA session ended, there were no agreed conclusions on this issue and discussions will resume at the next session in May 2019.

Undeterred, CARICOM continued to press the case the following week and were able to get reference to the IPCC Special Report in the main COP decision. It invited countries to consider the information contained in the report when they addressed relevant issues. In addition, SBSTA will discuss the contents of the report in May. IPCC assessments and reports will also be used to inform the global stocktake to be undertaken in 2023 to assess the implementation of the Paris Agreement and inform subsequent countries nationally determined contributions (NDCs).

In the decision adopting the Paris Agreement in 2015, the IPCC was requested to prepare this special report. Leonard Nurse, UWI (Barbados); Felicia Whyte, Kimberly Stephenson, Tannecia Stephenson and Michael Taylor, UWI (Jamaica); and Adelle Thomas of the University of the Bahamas contributed to the preparation of the report. During 2018 as the report was circulated for comments, the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre with support from Climate Analytics and Charles and Associates organized regional workshops with CARICOM national IPCC and UNFCCC Focal Points to review the report and provide comments on its contents.

The IPCC will produce two additional special reports in 2019, and CARICOM scientists will once again play an important role in their preparation. Adrian Spence, International Centre for Environmental and Nuclear Sciences (Jamaica); Kenel Delusca, Institute of Science, Technology and Advanced Studies of Haiti; and Noureddin Benkeblia and Donovan Campbell, UWI (Jamaica) will be contributing authors to the IPCC Special Report on Climate Change and Land. For the IPCC Special Report on Oceans and Cryosphere on a Changing Climate, Michael Sutherland, UWI (Trinidad and Tobago) has been selected to assist in preparing the report.

COP 24 Adopts Paris Agreement Rulebook – Carlos Fuller, International and Regional Liaison Officer of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre and Climate Change Negotiator

After two weeks of intense negotiations that went 28 hours into overtime, COP 24 adopted a 133-page “rulebook” for the Paris Agreement. These rules which are contained in a series of Decisions contain the modalities and procedures on how the various articles of the Paris Agreement are to be implemented.

The COP welcomed the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C prepared by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to which the Parties in the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technical Advice (SBSTA) had failed to agree the previous week. This report was used to inform the Talanoa Dialogue, which encouraged Parties to consider the outcomes of the Dialogue to inform the preparation of the NDCs and pre-2020 ambition.

Guidelines were adopted for the preparation of NDCs including common timeframes commencing in 2030. The NDCs will be posted on a Registry to be developed and maintained by the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which will also include a section for Adaptation Communications. Parties agreed that the Adaptation Fund under the Kyoto Protocol would serve the Paris Agreement and that it would receive the proceeds of the market mechanism established under the Paris Agreement. However, Parties could not agree on this article of the Agreement which covers cooperative approaches, and the market and non-market mechanisms. The SBSTA would continue debating these issues at this next session for a decision to be adopted at the next COP which will be held in Chile next year.

Parties agreed to commence consideration of the new goal for climate finance in 2020 utilizing the 2020 goal of USD100 billion as the starting point. In addition, as of 2020, developed countries will provide indicative information every two years on the climate financial to be provided to developing countries including the channels, instruments, targeted regions and countries, and sectors.

The modalities, procedures and guidelines of the Transparency Framework were adopted through which Parties will report on how they are implementing the provisions of the Paris Agreement. These will undergo a technical expert peer review process. The Parties also adopted the modalities and procedures which the Compliance Committee will use to assist Parties which are unable to meet their NDCs. The procedures to undertake the global stocktake (GST) in 2023 and every five years thereafter were also agreed.

The result of COP 24 is that the Parties to the Paris Agreement now have most of the tools to begin the implementation of the Agreement.

cop24

Photo courtesy: Britany Meighan

That was awkward — at world’s biggest climate conference, U.S. promotes fossil fuels

https://www.washingtonpost.com/video/c/embed/c5c5fb58-3b98-4d43-817e-a560e6971218

More than a dozen protestors interrupted a U.S. pro-fossil fuel event on the sidelines of the U.N. climate change talks on Dec.10. in Poland. (Reuters)

By Griff Witte andBrady Dennis

December 10; KATOWICE, Poland — President Trump’s top White House adviser on energy and climate stood before the crowd of some 200 people on Monday and tried to burnish the image of coal, the fossil fuel that powered the industrial revolution — and is now a major culprit behind the climate crisis world leaders are meeting here to address.

“We strongly believe that no country should have to sacrifice economic prosperity or energy security in pursuit of environmental sustainability,” said Wells Griffith, Trump’s adviser.

Mocking laughter echoed through the conference room. A woman yelled, “These false solutions are a joke!” And dozens of people erupted into chants of protest.

The protest was a piece of theater, and so too was the United States’ public embrace of coal and other dirty fuels at an event otherwise dedicated to saving the world from the catastrophic effects of climate change. The standoff punctuated the awkward position the American delegation finds itself in as career bureaucrats seek to advance the Trump administration’s agenda in an international arena aimed at cutting back on fossil fuels.

“There are two layers of U.S. action in Poland,” said Paul Bledsoe, an energy fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute and former Clinton White House climate adviser.

One is the public support of fossil fuels, which Bledsoe said is “primarily aimed at the president’s domestic political base, doubling down on his strategy of energizing them by thumbing his nose at international norms.”

The quieter half is the work of career State Department officials who continue to offer constructive contributions to the Paris climate agreement that President Trump loves to loathe.

Which facet of the American presence proves more influential in Poland could have a big impact on whether this year’s climate summit, now in its second week, ends in success or failure.

Because greenhouse gases do not pay attention to national borders, a global front on climate action is crucial. The summit provides the only venue for countries to coordinate their push to curb ongoing global warming.

“This week is going to be telling,” said Helen Mountford, vice president of climate and economics at the World Resources Institute.

Monday’s presentation came after a weekend in which the U.S. delegation undercut the talks by joining with major oil producers Russia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait in blocking full endorsement of a critical U.N. climate report. The report, by some of the world’s leading scientists, found that the world has barely a decade to cut carbon emissions by nearly half to avoid catastrophic warming.

But the United States balked at a proposal to formally “welcome” the finding, setting off a dispute that, while semantic in nature, carried ominous portents that the United States could become an obstacle to progress in Katowice.

“The worrying issue is the signal that it sends,” Mountford said.

An environmental activist protests fossil fuel production Monday in front of the venue hosting the U.N. climate change summit in Katowice, Poland. (Grzegorz Celejewski/Agencja Gazeta/Reuters)

A State Department official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the ongoing sensitivity of the talks, said negotiators “faithfully serve the administration and do their best to defend U.S. economic and other interests.”

The planned U.S. exit from the Paris accord in 2020 has left a lingering question here about which countries will commit to ramping up their ambition in the years ahead and who can serve as a unifying force if the world is serious about making the changes necessary to address climate change.

The United States’ mercurial role in Poland is far different from 2014, when President Barack Obama and Chinese leader Xi Jinping — whose countries account for about 45 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions — struck a deal to limit those emissions in a high-profile announcement in Beijing.

Or 2015, when Obama and other top U.S. officials worked phones and backrooms, encouraging other world leaders in Paris to sign on to a deal aimed at creating a global effort to combat climate change.

Three years later, the idea of the United States as a leader at the international climate talks has evaporated. At a recent Group of 20 summit in Argentina, 19 of the 20 world leaders in attendance reiterated their commitment to climate action — only the United States stood apart. Trump has repeatedly dismissed a federal report about how climate change is already battering the states.

Behind the scenes, U.S. negotiators have soldiered on, pushing for long-held views that span several administrations, such as urging transparency in how countries report their emissions and standardizing the rules that govern the climate accord.

Those are policies “we’ve been pushing for decades. It’s not a new thing,” said Jonathan Pershing, who served during the Obama administration as the State Department’s special envoy for climate change and lead U.S. negotiator to the U.N. climate talks.

Pershing praised the career officials the administration has in Poland, calling them savvy and experienced. Likewise, other delegations have also said that U.S. officials have continued to play a key role, even if it has diminished from past years.

“The U.S. delegation is comprised of seasoned climate change negotiators. On most issues, they have maintained the positions of the previous administration. In some instances, they have remained constructively quiet. They reach out to other delegations informally to build bridges and propose solutions,” said Carlos Fuller, a negotiator for a coalition of small island and low-lying coastal countries that are particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

“This is regrettable, as some of the best climate change scientists in the world are American. A lot of the data feeding the science comes from U.S. institutions and platforms. However, the White House policy statements have forced their negotiators to take this stance,” Fuller said.

The conference in Katowice brings together delegates from nearly 200 countries to try to kick-start a process that has shown worrying signs of stalling out. The goals are to raise global ambitions in the quest to cut carbon emissions, to establish a rule book for measuring progress and to put serious financial backing behind the developed world’s support for emissions reduction among developing nations.

Much of the negotiating work is highly technical, with the big-picture framework of the Paris talks replaced by the nitty-gritty of establishing standards and protocols. It is work tailor-made for diplomats and bureaucrats, and ill suited to politicians.

Monday’s protest was part of a demonstration by activists determined to disrupt the U.S. government’s only planned public contribution to the debate at this year’s global climate conference, the most important review of progress — or lack thereof — since the meeting in Paris.

After dozens of activists had shouted, “Keep it in the ground!” and “Shame on you!” for roughly 10 minutes, they marched together from the room. In the calm that followed, administration officials continued with their pitch for carbon-capture technologies to clean up coal, hydraulic fracturing to unearth gas and a new generation of nuclear energy plants.

Scientists say that a rapid migration away from fossil fuels toward cleaner energy is essential in the quest to prevent the most catastrophic effects of climate change. But Griffith, the White House adviser, said that an exclusive focus on wind and solar is misguided at a time when the global energy supply is still dominated by carbon. He and his colleagues touted the economic benefits of shale gas and insisted that coal can be made much less polluting given the right technology.

“Alarmism,” Griffith said, “should not silence realism.”

But with many of the alarming pronouncements coming from scientists, Griffith was pressed on whether the U.S. approach really reflected the gravity of the moment.

One audience member asked whether the U.S. government accepted the urgency embedded in the United Nations’ recent report: “Do you believe that we have 12 years to save the planet and civilization as we know it?”

Griffith declined to say.

Youth and indigenous groups protest during a U.S.-hosted event Monday at the U.N. climate talks in Katowice, Poland. (Frank Jordans/AP)

Credit: Washington Post

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

ACP/EU Working Lunch Convened at COP 24

Photo Credit: Carlos Fuller

Carlos Fuller, International and Regional Liaison Officer represented the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre at a working lunch of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Island (ACP) States and the European Union (EU) today in Katowice, Poland, the venue of COP 24.  In his opening statement Commissioner Antonio Arias Canete noted that the European Community was the largest donor to climate finance and would continue to do so referencing their latest pledges to the Green Climate Fund and the Adaptation Fund. They were committed to meeting their obligations under the Paris Agreement and would begin working on their long-term strategy towards carbon neutrality by 2050.

CARICOM Assistant Secretary-General Dr Douglas Slater expressed the Caribbean’s appreciation to the support provided by the EU to the region in the areas of development, disaster relief and climate change. He thanked the EU for its solidarity with the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) in welcoming the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C and for a strong outcome of the Talanoa Dialogue including a COP decision calling on Parties to submit more ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) by 2020. These sentiments were also expressed by Minister Stiell of Grenada who also highlighted the need for the inclusion in the outcome of Loss and Damage and Finance in response to the IPCC Report. The Permanent Representative of Trinidad and Tobago to the United Nations echoed these sentiments and called for increased support to the region for technology transfer and capacity building.

The representative of Poland informed the meeting that the COP Presidency had now taken over the drafting of the language for the outcomes of the COP. Ministerial consultations had ended. A new clean text would be issued later today and would be debated in a Vienna style setting.

In his closing remarks, Commissioner Canete emphasized that climate change would be the cornerstone of the new ACP/EU partnership programme. He noted that the combined membership of ACP and EU States was more than half of the UN seats. Working together the group could produce great results.

The region was represented by Belize, Jamaica, and the Commission of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).

News from COP 24 – Carlos Fuller, International and Regional Liaison Officer of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre and Climate Change Negotiator

Carlos Fuller, International and Regional Liaison Officer of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre and Climate Change Negotiator on  the 24th Conference of the Parties (COP 24):

Climate Change Talks Reach Crucial Stage

Negotiations on climate change at COP 24 in Katowice, Poland have now reached a crucial stage. Technical negotiations on elements of the Paris Agreement Work Programme (PAWP) ended at 5 pm yesterday. At a plenary meeting later that evening, the COP President announced that there were many outstanding issues remaining. He said that negotiations could now longer continue in the present mode. He has appointed pairs of ministers representing developed and developing countries to undertake consultations on 5 clusters: Transparency, Mitigation and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), the Global Stocktake (GST), Adaptation, and Cooperative Approaches. Two ministers from Small Island Developing States (SIDS) were among those selected. Singapore will join Norway in facilitating discussions on Mitigation and NDCs, while the Marshall Islands and Luxemburg will undertake the GST. Germany and Egypt will continue their consultations on Finance while Poland as the COP President is undertaking consultations on the contents of elements to be included in COP decisions.

AOSIS representing the interests of SIDS is advocating strongly for inclusion of the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming at 1.5°C and the outcomes of the Talanoa Dialogue.

Belize at High-level Segment of the Talanoa Dialogue

Carlos Fuller, International and Regional Liaison Officer at the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre represented Belize at the high-level segment of the Talanoa Dialogue. In his opening statement he noted Belize’s vulnerability to climate change and the reason the country supported the call to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial level. Quoting from the World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO) 2018 State of the Climate Report that 2018 was turning out to be the fourth warmest year on record, he maintained that concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere had now reached 405 parts per million (ppm). The last time that concentrations were that high was 3 to 5 million years ago when sea levels were 15 feet higher than present levels. That means that Belize City and other coastal communities and all the cayes would have been under water.

He went on to note that the recently approved Report on Global Warming of 1.5 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) asserted that the global temperature was now one degree higher than the pre-industrial level and the countries like Belize were already experiencing the adverse impacts of climate change. At 1.5 degrees, conditions would get worse but were manageable, however, at 2 degrees, ecosystems like coral reefs would be unable to survive. The Caribbean would become so acidic from the carbon dioxide it was absorbing from the atmosphere that shell fish like conch, lobster and shrimp, would find it difficult to grow their shells.

He pointed out that the report said that it was still possible to achieve the 1.5-degree target. However, action was required immediately and that emissions of greenhouse gases would have to be reduced by 50% by 2030, and by 2050 the world would have to become carbon neutral. This would require a massive transformation of all sectors of the economy including energy, agriculture, industry and forestry. It would require a massive injection of capital, transformation of the work force and international cooperation. Such a paradigm shift would stimulate the global economy to unprecedented levels of growth that would include all levels of society, raise standards of living and contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Mr Fuller was joined in the Dialogue by the Ministers of Latvia and South Africa and representatives of the Roman Catholic Church and the Youth Organization. The Talanoa Dialogue was mandated by the COP decision which adopted the Paris Agreement in 2015 to inform the revision of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) by 2020. The present NDCs will limit global warming to 3 degrees Celsius while the Paris Agreement’s objective is to limit it to far below 2 degrees and possibly 1.5 degrees.

Talanoa Dialogue Concludes

The COP 23 and COP 24 Presidencies chaired the meeting which closed the Talanoa Dialogue at COP 24 in Katowice, Poland. The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Manuel Guteres in his opening statement noted that the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C concluded that the 1.5-degree target was still achievable. He called upon Parties to communicate more ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) leading up to and at the Summit he would convene in September 2019. Ministers from Poland and Fiji reported on the Ministerial Talanoa roundtables convened yesterday. Switzerland announced that it would reduce its emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) by 50% by 2030 in accordance with the findings of the IPCC Special Report on 1.5 and that it was now developing its long-term emission reduction target for 2050. He highlighted the call in the joint submission by the Environmental Integrity Group (EIG), the Independent Association of Latin American and Caribbean Countries (AILAC) and CARICOM for Parties to enhance their NDCs by 2020.

Minister Steele of Grenada highlighted the need for Parties to undertake rapid action to increase their mitigation ambition in accordance with the finding of the IPCC Special Report. This would require enhanced financial, technical and capacity building support to enable this ambition both for the mitigation target but also for the adaptation actions that would be required in a 1.5-degree world. Towards this end he called for a strong COP decision that incorporated these elements including the call for more ambitious NDCs. He looked forward to the UN Secretary-General’s Summit as an important political moment to raise ambition.

The European Union (EU) also called for a COP decision as an outcome of the Talanoa Dialogue process and that the UN Secretary General’s Summit would be the next opportunity for Parties to announce their enhanced NDCs. The Maldives on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) called for the Talanoa process to continue. At the conclusion of the meeting the Polish Presidency noted the benefits of the 1.5-degree target. He invited Timothy and Hanna, two youth representatives from Fiji and Poland to join the head table where they delivered a joint declaration. In his closing statement the Prime Minister of Fiji issued the Talanoa Call for Action. He welcomed the IPCC Special Report and thanked the scientists who contributed to it. He said that Fiji would join the Marshall Islands in submitting a more ambitious NDC and called for others to come to the SG’s Summit with similar concrete plans. He asked for the Talanoa process to continue to the Summit and beyond.

 View Carlos Fuller’s input on the Dialogue at time period 1:20:00 by clicking on the link: DREKETITalanoa Dialogue (MR – 12)

CCCCC adds LiDAR to boost Caribbean’s Climate Change Fight

Credit: Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre. Not for use without written permission.

Belmopan, Belize; November 30, 2018 – The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) through the USAID-funded Climate Change Adaptation Program (USAID CCAP) is about to launch its most recent initiative to significantly boost the Caribbean’s ability to limit the ravages of climate change by improving its capability to monitor and plan for physical changes to the land and marine environments.

On Monday, December 3, the Centre will launch a US$2million Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) System, acquired through the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) three-year CCAP Project.

The acquisition of an Airborne LiDAR system by the Centre – also known as the 5Cs – is possibly the most significant achievement for data capture in the Caribbean. For decades, countries of the region have clamoured for LiDAR produced data the high cost all but prohibited its application; and the use of  LiDAR was made more difficult since such services had to be sourced from outside the region, adding to costs. At the same time, the requirement for more accurate data to provide evidence of climate change impacts has grown and is rapidly becoming the standard for climate financing.

The purchase of the LiDAR system was made possible through funds provided by the Barbados-based USAID Eastern and Southern Caribbean Office through the 5Cs executed Climate Change Adaptation Program (USAID CCAP).  The use of an airborne LiDAR is the result of a collaboration with Maya Island Air (MIA), a locally-owned Belizean airline company. These critical developments also influenced the Caribbean Development Bank and the Government of Italy to provide financial support for the LiDAR system, which is soon to become operational in a region-wide exercise to map some 10,000 square miles of vulnerable coastal areas in the region.

Dr Kenrick Leslie, the Executive Director of the Centre welcomed the launch of the Centre’s latest tool in building climate resilience.  The system enhances the Centre’s capacity to provide the region with critical data essential for building climate resilient communities. He noted that with the LiDAR system, “Caribbean leaders will now have access to the data set necessary for the development of tools for use in vulnerability and capacity assessments and early warning systems, and tangible adaptation and disaster risk reduction initiatives.  The documentation of the state of the current coastal bathymetric and topographic environment will allow for the development and implementation of appropriate sustainability policies.”

The technology is capable of simultaneously gathering topographic and bathymetric (depth of the seafloor) data, which are to be used to provide detailed information of the region’s coastal areas, reefs and seafloor to produce flood and inundation maps and other products.

Christopher Cushing, Mission Director of the USAID Eastern and Southern Caribbean is expected to formally hand over the equipment to the 5Cs at the launch. This is the Agency’s latest contribution to the regional data enhancement capability under the USAID CCAP. In addition to the LiDAR, five data buoys have been added to the regional Coral Reef Early Warning System (CREWS) network, and 50 Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) have been added to the regional climate and weather monitoring and data collection efforts in the Eastern and Southern Caribbean.

The project has also provided a computer server that will enhance the input, processing and sharing of the vast amount of data generated from the equipment acquired under the project. The information will ensure that the CCCCC, its partners and regional Universities are able to provide accurate and country-specific climate and climate change data to help countries improve their countries abilities to protect their citizens from the effects of climate change.

Dr Leslie has expressed gratitude to USAID,  the Caribbean Development Bank, the Government of Italy and his own staff for the commitment to the Centre and the region.  The Executive Director also commended Maya Island Air for collaborating with the Centre to outfit a plane with the LiDAR.

With a brand new Cessna aircraft fully customised to fly LiDAR missions, the partnership between the 5Cs and Maya Island Air also represents a new era of public-private partnerships and corporate social responsibility for the benefit of resilience building to the impacts of climate change in the Caribbean.

“Their support will help us to provide a system that was otherwise prohibitive.  It is the tangible demonstration of the Airline’s corporate contribution to the Region’s Climate Change initiative”, said Dr. Leslie.

The USAID CCAP Project is helping to build the capacities of regional, national, and local partners to generate and use climate data for decision-making in government and other sectors. The project is also working to strengthen the ability of beneficiary countries to develop successful proposals to access international climate financing.

– END –


The Caribbean Community Climate Change 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. We maintain 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 CARICOM member states through the CARICOM Secretariat. In this role, the Centre is recognized by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the United Nations Environment Programme, 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 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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CCCCC, Govts of Belize and Italy break ground for Multi-Purpose Facility

L-R: Keith Nichols, Head of the Project Development and Management Unit, CCCCC; Dr. Kenrick Leslie, Executive Director, CCCCC; Minister Plenipotentiary Roberto Natali, Special Envoy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Italy; Dr. Hon. Omar Figueroa, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, Environment and Sustainable Development, Government of Belize; Hon. Hugo Patt, Minister of Natural Resources, Government of Belize; Mr. Joseph McGann, Senior Project Manager, CCCCC

Belmopan, Belize; November 28, 2018 – The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC), in collaboration with the Governments of Belize and Italy, held a ground breaking ceremony for the construction of a Community Multi-purpose Emergency Centre (CMEC) at the Victor Galvez Stadium, in San Ignacio, Belize on Wednesday, November 28, 2018.

Breaking of the Ground – (L-R): Dr. Hon. Omar Figueroa, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, Environment and Sustainable Development, Government of Belize; Minister Plenipotentiary Roberto Natali, Special Envoy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Italy; Dr. Kenrick Leslie, Executive Director, CCCCC

The project “Reducing the Carbon Footprint of San Ignacio and Five Surrounding Villages in the Cayo District” is being implemented as a collaborative effort by the Government of Belize and the CCCCC with financial support from the Government of Italy. Approximately 25,000 residents in San Ignacio and surrounding villages are expected to benefit directly from the project at completion. The project include replacing existing street lighting in San Ignacio with more efficient Light Emitting Diode (LED) lights and the building of a multi-purpose facility for use as a disaster shelter and a community centre.

Project Manager Mr Joseph McGann noted that the project aims to build the recipient communities’ resilience to climate change and climate variability, which has led to increased intensity of extreme meteorological events in the form of hurricanes, floods, and droughts. These events have had profound negative impacts on national economies of Small Islands and Coastal Developing States (SIDS), threatening the survival of the most vulnerable populations and communities in these States, including Belize. With the implementation of the project, the Government of Belize, aims to:

  1. Quantify the benefits to be derived from the reduction of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emission, through the use of more efficient lighting systems; and
  2. Reduce the vulnerability of rural communities to the impacts of extreme weather and other disaster generating events.

Dr. Hon. Omar Figueroa, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, Environment and Sustainable Development, Government of Belize

“We are extremely grateful for this collaboration with the Government and People of Italy. Belize, like so many Small Island Developing States, is disproportionately affected by the devastating impacts of climate change. Today, with this collaborative project with the Italians and the 5Cs, our community moves one step closer to adapt to what can be these devastating consequences of climate change.” said Dr. Hon. Omar Figueroa, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, Environment and Sustainable Development, for the Government of Belize.

Minister Plenipotentiary Roberto Natali, Special Envoy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Italy

Minister Plenipotentiary Roberto Natali, Special Envoy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Italy told the gathering: “The great job of the Centre, directed by Dr. Leslie and his staff, the Government of Belize and the Government of Italy, made this miracle because this was something which was important for this region. And all (of us) together with collaboration and sincere decision, we have made this project and other things are already operative. I am proud that my country can contribute to this.”

Replacement of streetlights is expected to reduce energy consumption within the project area from 150W to 60W, per lamp, a 60% reduction in energy use; reduce emissions by 184 metric tons of CO2 per year; and result in some US$40,000 savings, which can be used for the benefit of the communities.

The Community Multi-purpose Emergency Centre (CMEC) will provide the residents of five rural communities and the town of San Ignacio with a central self-contained Centre that can be used both as a shelter in the event of a weather-related and other emergencies, and for other community social and sporting purposes and events. The five rural communities to be served by the Centre are Trenchtown, Kontiki, Boiton Area, Mosquitoville and Shawville.

The completed Community Centre will be equipped with an independently powered hybrid grid-connected PV renewable energy system, a rainwater storage system; an emergency communication system to ensure its continued operation during a major weather or other disaster event. Construction of the CMEC commenced November 22, 2018 and is expected to be completed by May 31, 2019 at an estimated cost of BZ$1.6 million. Funding is being provided by the Government of Italy and the Government of Belize.

–END–


The Caribbean Community Climate Change 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. We maintain 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 CARICOM member states through the CARICOM Secretariat. In this role, the Centre is recognised by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the United Nations Environment Programme, 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 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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CARICOM Unified on COP24 Expectations

The twenty-fourth Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate, known as COP24, will take place in Poland from December second to the fourteenth. The key objective of this year’s conference is to adopt the implementation guidelines of the Paris Agreement. It brings together world leaders and champions of the environment in a number of high-level events. Belize is part of the block of countries identified as Small Island Developing States. Last week, CARICOM member states of the grouping met in Barbados to prepare for the conference. The Caribbean Community Climate Change Center’s Carlos Fuller shares the region’s expectation of the event:

Carlos Fuller

Carlos Fuller, International & Regional Liaison Officer, CCCCC

“For us, COP24 is an important one because it is the most significant COP after the Paris Agreement, which will actually provide the rules of the Paris Agreement. So, when you read through the Paris Agreement, for example, it says many things. It establishes a transparency framework – well what is it? We have to say what that is. It establishes a compliance committee, so what will the compliance committee do? These are the things that will set the stage for the implementation of Paris Agreement.  These are the technical parts. However, there are two aspects of the Paris Agreement that will happen at the COP that are very important for the Small Island Developing States. The first of all is this IPCC Special Report on one point five degrees global warming. We know, for example, that report was actually commissioned by COP21 which adopted the Paris Agreement. It requested the IPCC to prepare this report at the request of Small Island Developing States, because we were concerned that within the Paris Agreement while it gives the goal of two point zero, it also says let us strive for one point five. So, this report feeds into aspects of it and there are parts of that report that are very alarming for small island developing states.”

Andrea Polanco

“With the IPCC Report, does it change the way you are going to go into COP24?”

Carlos Fuller

“Most definitely. It shows us the sense of urgency that it is much greater now. It also shows us that the kind of financing that we are asking for, it has changed the landscape totally. What was being provided will not be enough for countries to reduce their emissions to greenhouse gases, much less to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change which we in Belize are already experiencing.”

CREDIT: Channel 5 Belize
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