Small Island Vulnerability to Be Discussed at Caribbean Climate 2015 in Martinique

BRADES – The impact of climate change on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) including those in the Caribbean will be the focus of this weekend’s Caribbean Climate 2015, a conference bringing the French and English Caribbean nations together.

Changing weather patterns, sea rising and increased risk to human health are some of the consequences of climate change. (In photo: Satellite image of Hurricane Fran from September 1996.)

Changing weather patterns, sea rising and increased risk to human health are some of the consequences of climate change. (In photo: Satellite image of Hurricane Fran from September 1996.)

Montserrat is to be represented by the Hon. Minister of Agriculture Claude Hogan who will join other CARICOM minister of Environment for the two-day event starting in Fort-de-France, Martinique, on 09 May 2015 then ending on Guadeloup with the President of the Republic of France.

While SIDS produce a minuscule fraction of global greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) because of their location either below or barely above sea level, they are among the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change such as sea-level rise and extreme weather conditions. Studies show that climate change is most likely to impact tourism, energy, water, agriculture, the human habitat and the economic infrastructure.

Another significant threat is linked to the projected impact of climate change on human health, through an increase in the presence of vectors of tropical diseases, such as malaria and dengue, and the prevalence of respiratory illnesses. These diseases will affect the well-being and productivity of the workforce of the sub-region and compromise economic growth, competitiveness and development potential of the Caribbean Community.

The CARICOM officials intend to send the message that the current response from the International Community to the threats posed by the impacts of climate change, including financial resources available is inadequate.

“It has been underscored in a number of scientific reports that the global goal of limiting average temperature increase to below 2°C levels is inadequate for protecting fragile ecosystems in SIDS from the adverse impacts of climate change. In the case of the Caribbean some ecosystems are already experiencing the negative effects of climate change in that they are approaching the limits of their adaptive capacities. This situation poses major challenges for the livelihood and development of the people in the Caribbean,” a CARICOM communique noted.
The community is also “concerned about the significant gap between the aggregate effect of Parties’ mitigation pledges in terms of global annual emissions of greenhouse gases by 2020 and aggregate emission pathways consistent with having a likely chance of holding the increase in global average temperature to below 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. As a result, the Caribbean Community would reiterate the urgent need to close the gap between the mitigation pledges by major emitters and the level of effort required to hold the increase in global average temperature to below 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Given these circumstances, Caribbean countries have
continued to emphasize, together with other SIDS, the need for ambitious and urgent action to address climate change.”

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