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Earth Today | UWI, CDB to boost access to climate science

Published:Wednesday | May 9, 2018 | 12:00 AMPetre Williams-Raynor/ Contributing editor
Prof Michael Taylor *** Local Caption *** Contributed Photo Prof Michael Taylor
Prof Michael Taylor Audience *** Local Caption *** Contributed Photo Audience members at the recent launch of the Caribbean Science Series launched recently at the University of the West Indies, Mona, in Kingston.

THE UNIVERSITY of the West Indies (UWI) and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) are looking to improve access to climate change research that can, among other things, inform policymaking in the region.

This, with a new publication called the Caribbean Science Series, launched in Jamaica recently to showcase a variety of scientific papers that cover diverse climate change-related themes, many of which feature scenarios of a higher than 1.5 degrees Celsius increase in temperature.

"The CDB (beginning in 2016) sponsored Caribbean scientists to do science in support of the SIDS (small-island developing states) 1.5 global call. The Caribbean scientists targeted a number of scientific papers covering various themes - changes in Caribbean climate; energy; agriculture; water; economic damage, etc - at 1.5 or higher global warming," revealed Professor Michael Taylor, co-director of the Climate Studies Group Mona.

"The question posed was how to make the information in the papers accessible to the ordinary man and to regional policymakers. The result was the Caribbean Science Series," he added.

The first research paper was published in the Journal of Climate.

"Four of the other papers were submitted to a special 1.5-focused edition of the journal Regional Environmental Change," noted Taylor.

Now, the CDB is to fund - to the tune of US$90,000 - those five, in addition to four others, for the new publication.

The first five were developed in the wake of the global agreement to hold "the increase in the global average temperature to well below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and [to pursue] efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius".


The 1.5 target


Together with other SIDS, the Caribbean was able to attract support for 1.5 as a target for inclusion in the historic 2015 Paris Agreement.

The CDB subsequently bankrolled the research to determine the significance of the 1.5 goal, in what has become known as the Caribbean 1.5 Project.

The Caribbean Science Series - being done in electronic form and limited print - is coordinated by UWI on behalf of regional scientists in the 1.5 Project. Volume one is available at http://www.caribbeanclimate.


"Science emerging from the Caribbean suggests that ... there is little time for the Caribbean to prepare for the harsher climate challenges that will emerge at 1.5 or two degrees Celsius ... Urgent global action taken now, and which goes well beyond what has already been committed to, is needed to delay the onset of more adverse Caribbean climate states. This is what is implied in the region's stance that 1.5 degrees Celsius must be an end-of-century global goal," reads a section of volume one in the Caribbean Science Series.

"1.5 to Stay Alive, the central message anchoring the Caribbean's position, is more than a just a catchy slogan. It is a rallying call for the global community to take action now, from those most vulnerable to climate change," it added.

According to Taylor, the CDB publication is significant, in the effort to clarify for people climate science and its relevance to their lives.

"The series is important for demystifying science and climate science in particular. It provides an avenue for Caribbean climate and environmental scientist to communicate their main results in a way that is understandable by everyone," he said.