A study on global warming and its effect on sea-level rise released by scientists in France this week should be cause for concern here in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean...
According to the study, every five years that elapse before carbon pollution peaks will add 20 centimetres to sea-level rise in the year 2300. The report quotes the study's lead author, Matthias Mengel — a scientist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany — as saying that “the trajectory of emissions in the next few decades will shape our coastlines in the centuries to come”.
Scientists have revealed that globally about 40 billion tonnes of CO2 are released into the atmosphere every year. The emissions had held steady for three years, but last year the world saw an increase of two per cent.
We are now being told that on current trends, emissions could increase for at least another decade.
Scientific data reveal that since the industrial revolution began, global temperatures have, on average, already increased by one degree Celsius.
The 2016 Paris Climate Agreement, which was signed by 197 countries, requires a capping of global warming at below two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), and pursuing efforts to hold it at 1.5 degrees Celsius.
The agreement also sets a threshold of “net zero emissions” by the end of the century. However, it appears that a number of countries are struggling to hit the Paris Agreement targets, which have been described as modest, despite the fact that renewable energy is getting more affordable.
Brazil, for instance, is having difficulty controlling deforestation, which fuels greenhouse gas emissions, while a number of countries are looking to coal plants to meet electricity demands.
In the United States, which has indicated that it will pull out of the Paris treaty, the Government has cut its support for clean energy and increased its backing for fossil fuels, under its “America first” policy The upshot is an expected increase in emissions by 1.8 per cent this year.
All this will no doubt have an effect on low-lying coastal lands, including here in the Caribbean. In fact, a United Nations report released late 2010 painted an alarming picture of devastation across the Caribbean that will be caused by rising sea levels in years to come and the heavy cost to the region.
According to the report, for just the 15 Caribbean Community member states, the cost of the damage and necessary rebuilding caused by sea-level rise could climb to US$187 billion by the year 2080.
The report also suggests that a sea-level rise of one metre, which is now regarded as highly likely by the end of the century, would result in “at least $149 million in tourism resorts damaged or lost”; loss or damage of 21 Caricom airports; and the inundation of land surrounding 35 of the region's 44 ports.
There is much more astonishing information in the report which, we hope, is being taken seriously by Caribbean governments which should, by now, have started to implement measures — some of which have been recommended by the World Bank — to help the region resist and adapt to the effects of climate change.
The goals of the Paris Agreement are admirable, but it's not yet a done deal and we become complacent at our peril.
Friday, February 23, 2018
original story HERE
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