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TTC Special: Climate changes in the Caribbean: NO time to loose

Scientists clearly warn that climate change will not only destroy the tourism industry,  but also the people and the land where they live.

Scientists clearly warn that climate change will destroy the tourism industry, but also the people and the land where they live.

TTC Service.- A  warning of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre that provides climate change-related policy advice and guidelines to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states, said recently that 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, rises in sea level, and increased hurricane intensity threaten lives, property and livelihoods throughout the region.

This is a very stern warning but very real also.  The sudden climate changes in the region are leading to adverse effects on the Caribbean’s charming beaches, coral reefs, orchards, marine life, and local flora and fauna, natural attractions closely linked to millions of tourists that visiting each year the Caribbean islands.

According to scientific studies famine, hurricanes, and storms have become a common thing as of late, due to the drastic changes in weather. Changes in hydro-cycle and rainfall patterns will harm the agriculture of the region. Some parts of the Caribbean have already started merging with the ocean and there are predictions that more land will be destroyed in the coming years, including total diminishing of the smaller islands.

Scientists clearly warn that climate change will not only destroy the tourism industry, the crucial economic resource of the Caribbean, but also the people and the land where they live. The solutions to combat this global phenomenon are very urgent. Many governments in the region are reacting to this danger.

In Belize, for example, a five-year project launched in Belize City last March seeks two objectives; putting in place structures to ensure continued protection for marine protected areas, and ensuring that those who benefit from use and enjoyment of those areas are educated on the dangers of climate change and given means of sustaining their lifestyles without further damage to precious natural resources.  Approximately 203,000 Belizeans live in coastal communities.

In Cuba, some 80 coastal settlements are likely to be affected and 15 could disappear by 2050 if the Cuban government does not implement adaptation measures in response. The Cuban  National Statistics Office reported in 2013 that Cuba spent 37 million dollars more on environmental protection in 2012 than in the previous year. However, expenditure on river basins of national interest fell by 81,000 dollars in the same period. The government created an environmental research and management macro-project to consider climate change vulnerability and risk assessment in coastal zones from 2050 to 2100, which includes recommendations for adaptation measures.

In Dominican Republic, “is taking climate change seriously, from grass-roots organizing among fishermen in a remote area of the country’s frontier, to government actions aimed at adapting to a warmer world. Pilot projects underway here could be used as examples of climate adaptation as other vulnerable Caribbean countries begin to feel the effects of global warming” said a report from Al jazeera America.

Jamaica’s natural resources have suffered a decline in quantity and quality over time, due primarily to its heavy dependence on these resources, cultural/traditional unsustainable practices, and the many natural hazards which have affected the island. Between 2004 and 2008, five major storm events caused damage and losses estimated at US$1.2 billion. In Jamaica, the launch of Vision 2030 Jamaica National Development Plan gave fresh impetus to addressing Climate change and environmental issues.

The Government forged a partnership with the European Union and the United Nations Environment Programme in a project to reduce the risks caused by natural hazards and to increase resilience of vulnerable areas in an effort to adapt to climate change.

The Caribbean islands are already suffering the effects of climate change. No time to loose.

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