JIS News

The Human Development Report of 2007/08 has revealed that climate change will have devastating effects on the Caribbean that will, in the long run, lead to “low human development traps.” The report, done by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and entitled, ‘Fighting Climate Change: Human solidarity in a divided world’, which was launched on December 11 at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston, warns that the world should focus on the developmental impact of climate change that could lead to unprecedented reversals in poverty reduction, nutrition, health and education.
Resident Representative of the UNDP, Minh Pham said that the report has shown that the tourism industries of Jamaica and the Caribbean at large, would be severely affected as climate change would also lead to serious beach erosion and a disruption and possible extinction of marine life.
“Temperature rising will affect also marine life leading to coral reef bleaching, leading to extinction of marine animals and the combined consequence of that will affect the tourism sector, loss of employment and revenues, loss of livelihoods and employment within the fisheries sector as well,” he outlined.
“In fact, the report pointed out that an increase in 50 centimetres in sea level will wipe out roughly one third of the Caribbean beaches,” he added.
Mr. Pham noted that a rise in temperature would also lead to a rise in sea level, thereby creating more intensive and frequent hurricanes. “As temperature rises the sea level will rise as well, creating an increased energy of the ocean and the water mass which will lead to tremendous tropical cyclones, more intensive, more frequent hurricanes,” he explained.
He said that since water is a fundamental source of life and livelihood, water scarcity would impact food production, agriculture, nutrition and Jamaica’s export earnings from agricultural products, coffee, coffee beans and bananas. He is therefore urging Jamaicans to see climate change as a “real, manmade” issue and also as a matter of national and regional importance.
He pointed out that the health issues that we are currently experiencing with dengue and malaria result from the change in climate.
Highlighting the link between climate change and human development, Mr. Pham said that a rise in temperature would severely affect the climate of the island. “As temperature rises and we see increased evaporation, we will see more droughts, but also we will see severe flooding and we will see a higher concentration of natural disasters in developing countries because of the global pattern,” he reasoned.
Looking towards the future, Mr. Pham issued a word of caution, arguing that future generations would “judge us harshly, if we look at the evidence today and do nothing about it.”
“In essence, we could condemn future generations to severe poverty, to diminishing opportunities for education, health, employment, for a meaningful and productive life, and we are condemning future societies as well to an ecological disaster,” he said.