Climate scientist, Professor Michael Taylor, says discussions and initiatives regarding climate change must focus on adaptation and mitigation solutions and involve urgent and coordinated planning to ensure a sustainable future.
He argued that the strategies must take into consideration the fact that climate change adaptation is unavoidable across all sectors of society and unprecedented mitigation mechanisms, including drastically reducing greenhouse gases, are integral to the process.
“We need deep emission cuts in all sectors, progress in renewables replicated in other sectors, a range of technologies, behavioural change and increased investment in low carbon options,” he pointed out.
“We need to deal with how we get energy, we need to deal with our forests, we need to deal with transportation, which is a major source of emission and we need to deal with waste,” he added.
Professor Taylor, who is Director of the Climate Studies Group, Mona (CSGM), University of the West Indies, was addressing a Strategic Programme for Climate Resilience (SPCR) stakeholder consultation workshop, held recently at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in St. Andrew.
The SPCR, which was approved in 2011, is geared towards mainstreaming climate change into development planning; provide information on novel approaches to overcome the challenges of climate change, including climate financing; and disseminate lessons learned from adaptation interventions.
The three-day workshop, from January 22 to 24, sought to review the programme and its relevance, examining the extent to which it is contributing to the national response to climate change; identify gaps and synergies; and develop ownership and empowerment to bring projects being undertaken to a successful completion.
Professor Taylor, in his presentation at the workshop, said that responding to climate change is no longer optional.
“It is a must and so we need careful consideration of climate choices and ensure that these actions are consistent with the sustainable development goals,” he noted.
He said that one critical area for consideration is the harnessing of more water sources in order to keep up with the increasing demand for energy.
“We need strong policies to deal with water access and allocation and if these policies are not handled carefully, then it can affect other things such as food production, food and water security, biodiversity…so we have to be careful about the synergies and trade offs in doing what we are doing,” he pointed out.
Professor Taylor hailed the SPCR as “a coordinated, planned approach that places climate change within the context of development planning, poverty reduction and the sustainable development goals.”
Implemented by the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) with financing from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and World Bank, the SPCR is designed to assist in climate-proofing Jamaica’s development with a focus on the priority sectors of tourism; agriculture and food security; health, water, and human settlement; and coastal resources.