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  • Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Robert Pickersgill, has underscored the need to intensify climate change adaptation and mitigation, in order to reduce its most devastating impacts on the society.
  • Minister Pickersgill said experts have predicted that climate change for Jamaica is imminent, with the island to experience climate departure as early as 2023.
  • Climate departure marks the point when the coldest years will be warmer than the hottest years previously on record in a given time frame.

Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Robert Pickersgill, has underscored the need to intensify climate change adaptation and mitigation, in order to reduce its most devastating impacts on the society.

“The science behind climate change is unquestionable. Given the number of records that have being broken every year for temperature, rainfall, drought, and tropical cyclones in many parts of the world, it is imperative that the necessary actions be taken and quickly,” he said.

The Minister was speaking at a workshop for the 3rd National Communication and Biennial Update Report to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), held on October 14 at the Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston.

Minister Pickersgill said experts have predicted that climate change for Jamaica is imminent, with the island to experience climate departure as early as 2023. Climate departure marks the point when the coldest years will be warmer than the hottest years previously on record in a given time frame.

“In fact, it is predicted that after 2023, the average temperature of the coolest year from then on, will be warmer than the average temperature of the hottest year between 1960 and 2005,” Minister Pickersgill said.

He noted that the immediate impacts have also resulted in a resurgence of vector-borne diseases and the introduction of new ones including, most recently, the Chikungunya Virus (CHIKV), which has affected thousands of Jamaicans.

The Minister said, however, that there have been several developments with regard to global adaptation and mitigation, and world leaders continue to meet to strategize measure to address the issue.

In the meantime, he said Jamaica is in the process of preparing the country’s Initial Biennial Update report and Third National Communication, which are to be submitted to UNFCCC in 2014 and 2017, respectively.

Some of the expected outcomes from submitting the report include: further strengthening of the technical and institutional capacities of Jamaican institutions to implement the Convention, as well as the provision of support for the integration of climate change considerations into national and sectoral development priorities.

It is also expected to continue the implementation of awareness activities on climate change for targeted audiences including students, teachers, teacher trainers, government officials, members of the private sector, non-governmental organisations,  civil society and the general public.

“The project is expected to build a national consensus to facilitate activities to mainstream climate change issues into relevant social, economic, scientific and environmental policies, programmes and strategies. It will also assess the vulnerability to climate change of additional communities that will be identified and prioritised for potential adaptation options in a series of case studies,” he said.

Minister Pickersgill informed that the country is required to comply with reporting requirements, as a non-Annex 1 Party to the UNFCC, to which it acceded in 1995.

The initial national communication was submitted in November 2000 and included a greenhouse gas inventory for the reference year 1994, and vulnerability and adaptation assessments for the agriculture, water, and coastal zone sectors.

The second national communication included greenhouse gas inventories for 2000 to 2005, which were prepared using the updated 2006 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) inventory guidelines. It also assessed climate change impacts for key sectors including health, human settlements, and tourism, and revisited agriculture, water, and coastal zones, for the years 2015, 2030 and 2050.