JIS News

Member of the University of the West Indies (UWI) Climate Change Group and Physics Lecturer in the Faculty of Pure and Applied Sciences, Dr. Michael Taylor, is appealing to the Private Sector, the Government and fellow academics to increase their support of climate-based research, so that Jamaica can respond appropriately, and cope effectively with the challenges of climate change.
Speaking at a recent Lunch and Learn Panel Discussion, hosted by the Maritime Authority of Jamaica, in association with the Shipping Association of Jamaica, Dr. Taylor highlighted that Jamaica is a climate sensitive society, highly vulnerable to climate variability and climate change and is already feeling the effects.
“By the 2070s to the year 2100, we have a range of 1 to 5 degrees that we’ll be hotter by in Jamaica and the Caribbean region. Over the past century, we have only warmed by less than one degree and we are feeling the effect. So think, if we warmed by two degrees by the 2050s and by a possible 5 degrees by the end of the century!” Dr. Taylor noted, as he jolted participants to the projected average temperatures that will obtain in the next 7 or so decades.
He said, however, that with “contextually relevant science research”, the country could cope with climate change, and will be able to pursue a sustainable development agenda incorporating the necessary mitigation and adaptation measures.
Reiterating the relevant and significant role of research in the process, Dr. Taylor said that Jamaica was not helpless, as with research adequate responses can be crafted.
“If we know we are going to be drier, let us not sit around and wait to become drier and then decide what we are going to do,” he advocated.
The UWI Climate Studies Unit runs physics-based climate models, using predictions or assumptions about how the world is expected to change over the next 100 years. These assumptions are plugged into climate models, after which simulations are done to depict how the climate will change, as we move to the end of the century.
“We must know what is happening to us, so that we can appropriately respond. Act now! Do not sit down and wait and think that this climate change thing is something way off in the future,” he admonished.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), approximately 90% of global merchandise is transported by sea. The increased integration of countries from the Far East and Southeast Asia into the world economy is said to be contributing immensely to the increase in international marine transport.
Additionally, an ongoing study, by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) on greenhouse gas emissions from ships, has estimated the total carbon dioxide emissions from international shipping to be 847 million tons in 2007, constituting 2.7 per cent of the global anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions.
Dr. Taylor also called on Jamaica’s maritime industry players to begin to identify the areas to which the sector is sensitive, and begin to strategize how best to mitigate the effects and adapt to global warming.
“Climate change is caused by these greenhouse gases, and we may not be large emitters but we still do, and so we can contribute our part to lowering the amount of greenhouse gases out there,” he stated.

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