'Real and present danger' from climate change - Vaz
Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation Daryl Vaz has described climate change as a "real and present danger" that will persist. He said that "critical and urgent action" must be taken by nations globally to reduce its effects.
"We are now facing a future that almost certainly will be hotter, wetter and drier due to climate change. We will continue to experience increasing temperatures as well as more frequent and intense weather events, such as hurricanes, drought and floods," he said.
The minister was speaking at a forum at the Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston on Wednesday to mark World Meteorological Day, under the theme: 'Hotter, Drier, Wetter - Face the Future'.
Vaz said the views expressed by some interests that climate change and environmental issues "only affect some of us, and is a problem for the distant future", is a "misconception".
"When temperatures soar to record levels, as they did during much of last year, it is not a few who feel the heat, but all of us. When drought ravages our crops and there are outbreaks of bush fires, we all pay higher prices at the market," he noted.
Additionally, Vaz said that when floods, resulting from hurricanes or intense rainfall, damage roads and other infrastructure, "the country stands the cost of rebuilding".
"There is little wonder, therefore, that more ministries within the Caribbean region are including climate change within their portfolio responsibilities," he noted.