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Beware climate change - Pickersgill

Published:Friday | October 17, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Pickersgill

Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change Robert Pickersgill has underscored the need to intensify climate change adaptation and mitigation in order to reduce its most devastating impacts on the society.

"The science behind climate change is unquestionable. Given the number of records that have being broken every year for temperature, rainfall, drought, and tropical cyclones in many parts of the world, it is imperative that the necessary actions be taken, and quickly," he said.

The minister was speaking at a workshop for the third National Communication and Biennial Update Report to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), held on Tuesday, October 14, at the Terra Nova Hotel in St Andrew.

Pickersgill said experts have predicted that climate change for Jamaica is imminent, with the island to experience climate departure as early as 2023. Climate departure marks the point when the coldest years will be warmer than the hottest years previously on record in a given time frame.

"In fact, it is predicted that, after 2023, the average temperature of the coolest year from then on will be warmer than the average temperature of the hottest year between 1960 and 2005," Pickersgill said.

He noted that the immediate impacts have also resulted in a resurgence of vector-borne diseases and the introduction of new ones, including, most recently, the chikungunya virus (chik-v), which has affected thousands of Jamaicans.

The minister said, however, that there have been several developments with regard to global adaptation and mitigation, and world leaders continue to meet to strategise measures to address the issue.

In the meantime, he said Jamaica is in the process of preparing the country's Initial Biennial Update report and Third National Communication, which are to be submitted to UNFCCC in 2014 and 2017, respectively.