CARIBBEAN COULD FACE CONSEQUENCES OF CLIMATE CHANGE

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– Rainfall could decrease by 40%.

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A Jamaican researcher has warned that the Caribbean will have to take steps to combat climate change, as predictions are that the region will become increasingly hotter and drier if global temperature rise continues or increases. Dale Rankine, a PhD candidate at the University of the West Indies (UWI) and member of the UWI Climate Studies Group, told regional journalists on Wednesday that rainfall across the region could decrease by 40 per cent between May and November by 2050.

“Sixty per cent of the rainfall in all the Caribbean falls between May to November, so, if we get drier between May and November, we are in some serious trouble. This is a compelling story; it is a serious challenge,” Rankine said. He said such a scenario is important because it is going to impact more specifically on food security. Scientists are 95 per cent certain that human activity contributes to climate change and say the burning of fossil fuels such as coal and methane contribute to the problem.

Rankine noted that while no one knows exactly how climate change will impact the region, there are already observable changes in some countries. “We are seeing as well that the observed trends that we have in changes are also quite clear. In Bermuda, we have seen a two millimetre increase in sea levels. In Puerto Rico, it is 1.65 millimetres,” he said, adding, “That is quite significant when you talk about an incremental change that is taking place every year.”

He said adaptation to climate change is the best option for the region, and pointed out that there must be re-orientation about the way the region does business. Rankine said the Caribbean will also have to reposition, explaining, “That is how we integrate and mainstream climate change in all we do.” “At the end of the day though, climate has changed, climate will change, and it demands change and it’s something we’ll all have to live with,” Rankine stressed.
 

Extracted and modified from Caribbean 360

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