Just over 40 Small Island Developing States (SIDS), including Jamaica, which add less than one per cent of the emission gases contributing to global warming, are the most vulnerable to its deleterious effects, including rising temperatures and sea levels and the destruction and degradation of coastlines, according to Acting Head of the Climate Branch of the Metrology Services, Clifford Mahlung.
Mr. Mahlung was making a presentation at a Think Tank at the JIS, situated at 58a Half Way Tree Road in Kingston on Thursday (March 10), at which he discussed a European Union / United Nation Environment Programme (EU/UNEP) sponsored project aimed at helping to alleviate the effects of global warming on Jamaica.
“Small island developing states across the globe contribute less than one per cent of the greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere annually, and the developed countries account for 46 per cent,” Mr. Mahlung, Jamaica’s lead negotiator on climate change internationally, explained. He produced the statistics from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007.
He said that the increases in global temperatures lead to a rising of the sea levels and increased sea temperatures, which have caused problems in the Caribbean and other island states.
“It has had a devastating impact on our coral reefs, which can only exist within a certain temperature bands,” he said.
The Climatologist said that the increased temperatures cause the coral, which produce the white sand beaches of the Caribbean, to die. He said that coral also provide protection against storm surges on small island states, which means that their destruction can have a devastating effect.
He explained that the problematic greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, sulfur dioxide and hydro fluorocarbons, among others. He said that global warming has led to a .5 degree change in temperature in the Caribbean.
“If we do not decrease the amount of greenhouse gases that we put into the atmosphere, we are going to have the climate changing,” he said.
CONTACT: WARREN WINT