September 28, 2020

Climate change discussed


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adriancashmanFrom The Barbados Advocate

One of the biggest challenges facing the world at this time is how to cope with the variability of climate.

Dr. Adrian Cashman, Director of the Centre for Resources Management and Environment Studies (CERMES), made the point while speaking on the topic ‘Assessing Caribbean Policy Responses to Climate Change’ at a recently held regional workshop under the theme ‘Caribbean Partnerships for Economic Justice and Sustainability’. At that workshop which was hosted by the Institute for Gender & Development Studies: Nita Barrow Unit and Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation, he contended that even though changes in the climate are nothing new, concerted efforts still need to be made to stop the activities that contribute to it.

“Climate is always changing, if you look at the records, historical records and geological records the temperature of the planet has gone up and done… there is nothing different there, except that what we’re seeing now is changing at an unprecedented scale, a scale that we have never, ever seen before and the evidence that this is due to human activity, greenhouse gas emissions is, I would suggest to you and I think you would agree with me, unassailable,” he added.

He explained to the participants of the workshop that more variability would mean more extremes – more lower temperatures and higher temperatures. Cashman added that not only are we going to experience much more hot weather, but much more record hot weather. The CERMES director said that this is in fact already happening.

“But what are the policy implications of more hot days? How are we going to cope with them? What do they mean for different members of society? More hot days affect disproportionately the most vulnerable members of society, and tend to be the ones that are left out of the mainstream,” he lamented.

He made the point as he indicated in many meetings to discuss and formulate policy, those members of society, are not included. The CERMES Director is adamant that efforts have to be made to bridge the gaps.

Speaking specifically to the area of policy, he indicated that policy responses have been developed at the international, regional and national level and while some headway has been made, there is more to be done. Cashman reinforced the point as he said that since a 2008 meeting of Caribbean ministers to look at water quality and revise water policies in the region, nothing more has been done. He went on to say that at the national level the regional countries have probably done little better, with a number of them devising climate change policy frameworks, but he suggested that they have not gone far enough.

“When you look at what’s in them they talk about putting in place institutional mechanisms to mainstream climate change into various policies, what’s that mean? I don’t know. They are lovely documents, but what I’m suggesting is that they are talking about mainstreaming climate change into policies in other sectors and we talk about coordination, but when you go to the individual ministries, you see the same thing replicated,” he stated. (JRT)
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