Sun | Oct 24, 2021

Earth Today | Jamaica gets recommendations for climate-secure future

Published:Thursday | October 14, 2021 | 12:08 AM
TAYLOR
TAYLOR
An abandoned bicycle stands in a space that used to be a house, in a neighbourhood destroyed by Hurricane Dorian, in Abaco, Bahamas. Dorian hit the northern Bahamas on September 1, 2019 with sustained winds of 185 mph (295 kph), unleashing flooding that re
An abandoned bicycle stands in a space that used to be a house, in a neighbourhood destroyed by Hurricane Dorian, in Abaco, Bahamas. Dorian hit the northern Bahamas on September 1, 2019 with sustained winds of 185 mph (295 kph), unleashing flooding that reached up to 25 feet (8 metres) in some areas.
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JAMAICA HAS been provided with a set of long-term climate change strategy recommendations to help the island achieve a low-carbon and secure climate future.

The recommendations – reflected in a report prepared for the Climate Change Division (CCD) with the support of the World Bank Group – cover a range of sectors, notably electricity, industry, transport, agriculture, forestry, the built environment, waste, tourism, as well as population and health.

They include developing electric charging infrastructure, accelerated deployment of a low-carbon public transport, the development of a policy framework for climate-smart agriculture, as well as anti-run-off/reef protection regulations.

They also extend to increasing organic matter recycling, improvements in solid waste management infrastructure and the expansion of water and sanitation supply.

These are together with the diversification of tourism offerings and the introduction of a policy framework for prioritising beach areas for protection.

The strategy recommendations come as climate change presents a clear and present danger to Jamaica and other Caribbean small island developing states (SIDS), which are among the most vulnerable to impacts.

Those impacts include sea level rise and coastal erosion; as well as extreme hurricane events the likes of which the region has seen over recent years and which have caused billions of dollars in damage and loss of lives and livelihoods.

RISKS ALREADY EVIDENT

“The climate-related risks Jamaica faces are already evident today – with, for example, Hurricane Ivan in 2004 having caused $580m of damage, and prompting many farmers to abandon the sector. As climate change intensifies, so the risks faced by Jamaica will grow,” noted the report.

“Periods of extreme heat will have widespread effects across the economy, including infrastructure degradation and associated business interruption, and negative impacts on health and human development. Economic modelling demonstrates significant labour productivity reductions at high temperatures, particularly for exposed sectors such as agriculture and construction, which will reduce output and consequently Jamaica’s growth potential,” the report added.

The reality is such that scientist the world over, including those doing work with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, have called for steep greenhouse gas (GHG) emission cuts, with the goal to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

Net zero is the point at which the amount of GHGs going into the atmosphere is balanced by the amount that is removed, in a bid to restrain the current warming of the planet to 1.5 or two degrees Celsius, as reflected in the historic Paris Agreement of 2015.

The Paris Agreement is the global pact made by countries to tackle climate change.

“At the one degree (of warming) that we have passed, we are faced with diminishing capacity to cope. The repeated incidents of extreme weather and the magnitude that we have simply reduces our capacity to cope,” said Professor Michael Taylor, in addressing the recent national stakeholder engagement hosted by the CCD and partners ahead of the climate change negotiations in Glasgow next month.

“From the science perspective, if we are going to achieve any limitation of temperatures, whether 1.5 or two, we have to reach net zero carbon dioxide emissions this century. 1.5 or two is conditioned on net zero. Net zero means that what we are putting out is to be matched by what we are taking in,” added the climate scientist, who was one of the lead authors for the IPCC’s special report on global warming.

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