St Kitts and Nevis (WINN): Critics continue to deny that climate change exists or that humans are causing it, even as experts warn that Caribbean nations will have to cope with higher temperatures, rising sea levels, droughts and increases in hurricane activity as a result of the phenomenon.
So, is climate change a figment of the imagination? Dr Ulric Trotz , the Deputy Executive Director of Caribbean Community Climate Change Center, believes it's real.
“One of the problems people have with the issue of climate change is that they say the history of the world is a changing climate, but never before have we seen these shifts taking place in such a short time. That is the issue at hand. My colleague here is dealing with bio-diversity and the changes are so fast that some species are actually disappearing simply because they cannot adapt to the new conditions. If we look at what’s happening up north in Alaska where for instance what they call the permafrost which is what keeps the ground frozen and hard, is melting at such a rate that they are having to relocate communities as they lose land to the sea.”
A guest on WINN FM's Voices program on Wednesday (April 19), the scientist argued that China, dubbed the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases since 2006, is taking the threat seriously.
“The Chinese are now totally convinced about the changing climate and they are taking steps to deal with adaptation and they are the leaders now in production of photovoltaic solar energy, wind energy, they are preparing for the future. Yes there are deniers, but we are actually feeling the consequences of living in a world where the climate is changing and we need to take stock of that and to build our resilience to this new regime that we are going to be experiencing.”
Dr Trotz is in the Federation for the eight- day "National Training Workshop on the Use of Climate Models for Decision Making" that got underway Wednesday (April 19) in Basseterre.
The event is being held in collaboration with the Caribbean Community Climate Change Center (CCCCC) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and seeks to impart training tools to assist with scientific data and analysis to inform decision-making.
Dr Kimberley Stephenson, a scientist at the University of the West Indies(UWI) Mona campus -based Climate Studies Group's, said a student workshop, on Thursday April 20 from 8:30 to midday, at the Charlestown Secondary School, aims to measure the youngsters understanding of climate changes and expose them to available data.
“What we are trying to do is gage how much these students understand about climate change so far because we have found that some students have some idea what it is and can differentiate it from weather patterns and they have heard about the Paris Agreement or something related to it and how it impacts the environment and people. So we want to gage their understanding of it and then we want to expose them to some amount of data, so the best way to show the climate deniers then in many cases what is actually happening is to look at the data itself and once you look at the numbers, the numbers are not going to lie to you , the numbers show that this is actually happening and you can quantify it. So we want the students to have an appreciation for what the numbers show, an appreciation for the large pattern you can see not if not in the Caribbean climate but its connection to elsewhere in the world. So we are going to walk them through what the climate has been like particularly in St Kitts in the past and how the climate models have projected that these things will change in the future. We also want to expose them to adaptation planning, so we’ll be walking them through an exercise in which they get to choose what they would spend money on. If they are given an allocation of funds would they spend it on beautifying the community or defending against climate change knowing that there has been a particular forecast. So that is the major goal of the workshop to expose them to what climate has been like and what it will be like in the future and get them started in the plan for future adaptation.”