Climate change in region no longer future threat but reality

- Caribbean centre

The Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) has reaffirmed its commitment to addressing climate change in the region while noting that it is no longer seen as a future threat but as a reality that affects everyone today.

“… While many argue about the causes and the nature of it, it is important to recognize that the world is experiencing dramatic changes which need to be addressed urgently,” the CCCCC said in a recent press release.

It noted also that last month at the Twenty-Second Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of Cari-com, leaders reinforced the urgent need to address climate change in the region.

The Heads of Government welcomed a report from the Prime Minister of Saint Lucia on the outcome of the Sixteenth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Frame-work Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) (COP 16) which was held last December in Cancun, Mexico.

The outcome at Cancun represented progress for many countries and is clearly a stepping stone for future actions and agreements.
However, the release noted, the road ahead is still a bumpy one for the Caribbean, being among the most vulnerable groups affected by climate change.

The region has already suffered greatly from the effects of a changing climate and will inevitably suffer severe consequences if strong measures are not taken at this stage, the release said.

The Caribbean shares these challenges with wider groups including the Alliance of Small Islands States (AOSIS) and the Group of Latin America and Caribbean Countries (GRULAC), and has over the years worked with them to secure stronger global efforts to address climate change.

And based on these links, the Heads of Government agreed that Caricom member states would make efforts to ensure there is adequate and balanced representation by competent Caricom experts through GRULAC and AOSIS on the newly-formed governance bodies of the UNFCCC.

They also agreed that member states would collectively sponsor and lobby for the CCCCC to be designated an International Centre on Adaptation. The CCCCC will also support member states in identifying and preparing appropriate projects in order to make use of available and emerging resources for climate change adaptation.

In the meantime, the CCCCC welcomed the opportunity to work with member states and is firmly committed to this endeavour.

“The Caricom as a collective group has worked effectively throughout the years to negotiate on climate change issues and can continue to play a significant role in crafting an effective global framework for addressing climate change,” the release stated.

The CCCCC has had the privilege of working with member states to develop their capacity to address challenges posed by climate change and gained their collective agreement on a Regional Climate Change Strategic Plan in 2009.

Heads of Government requested the Caricom Secretariat to convene a Joint COHSOD-COTED Meeting to agree on an action plan to address the way forward for the region to follow-up on the outcome of COP-16, preparation for COP 17 and for the implementation of the Regional Climate Change Strategic Plan, among other issues.

There is clearly much work to be done this year as the Caribbean and other groups work towards achieving an effective climate change framework, the release observed.

In his statement during the High Level Segment at COP 16, CCCCC Executive Director, Dr Kenrick Leslie, emphasized: “Caricom is seeking the highest level of ambition from the negotiations. An agreement, which will result in the peaking of global concentrations of greenhouse gases by 2015 and a decline to 350 parts per million to give the atmosphere an even chance to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels”.

Moreover, “Caricom holds the position that emission reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol are woefully inadequate. Much more must be done and we all have to do our share.”

For developing countries, every fraction of a degree of further global warming will multiply the massive problems which are already undermining their national development efforts and threatening their physical survival, the CCCCC concluded.