Tue | Jul 14, 2020

Jamaica to experience climate departure by 2023

Published:Monday | October 8, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Students of Oracabessa High School in St Mary join Glenroy Berry of the Forestry Department (right) and Social Development Commission (SDC) Parish Manager, St Mary, Shawin Reynolds, in planting a tree on the school compound on Friday.

Jamaica is expected to experience climate departure in the next five years if current environmental practices persist, according to Forestry Department Chief Executive Officer and Conservator, Marilyn Headley.

In a message read at the National Tree Planting Day ceremony at Oracabessa High School in St Mary on Friday, one of four such ceremonies across the island, Headley said however that the impact could be pushed back five years through carbon dioxide mitigation.

"In 2013, a British scientific journal, Nature, published an article which stated that Jamaica is expected to experience climate departure by 2023 with the possibility of it changing to 2028 with carbon dioxide mitigation," Headley stated.

"According to climate scientists, climate departure is 'the moment when average temperatures, either in a specific location or worldwide, become so impacted by climate change that the old climate is left behind.' A city is said to hit climate departure when the average temperature of its coolest year from them on is projected to be warmer than the average temperature of its hottest year between 1960 and 2005."

The journal said Jamaica is going to experience climate departure but it could be delayed by a few years if we start to take steps to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere now.

"The trees that we will plant today will assist in reducing the carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere thus contributing to our efforts to delay climate departure," Headley said, while noting that trees and forests, by extension, are important tools in the fight to delay the effect of climate change.

She said the Forestry Department is leading the drive to plant trees and maintain and increase forest cover in Jamaica.

"We encourage everyone to plant a tree, not just on National Tree Planting Day, but to incorporate tree planting into other activities throughout the year," she added.

80th anniversary

The reminder comes as the Forestry Department observes its 80th year of protecting and conserving Jamaica's forest resources. The department is marking its anniversary under the theme '80 Years of GROWTH.'

The Oracabessa ceremony was attended a team from the Forestry Department headed by Forest Manager, North East Region, Glen Ivey; Parish Manager for the Social Development Commission Shawin Reynolds, representatives from Elliott's Community Enterprise, along with several students at the school.

The event was observed under the theme, "Every Tree Count: 1,2,3, Plant Yours Today."