Natural events and human activities contribute to an increase in average temperatures around the world. Increases in greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) is the main cause. Our planet and our region are warming. This leads to a change in climate.

  1. The Caribbean is a minute contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions, but will be among the most severely impacted.
  2. We are already experiencing its impacts. More frequent extreme weather events, such as the 2013 rain event in the Eastern Caribbean; the extreme droughts being experienced across the region, with severe consequences in places like Jamaica; the 2005 flooding in Guyana and Belize in 2010. And further climate change is inevitable in the coming decades.
  3. Inaction is VERY costly! An economic analysis focused on just three areas – increased hurricane damages, loss of tourism revenue and infrastructure damages – could cost the region US$10.7 billion by 2025. That is more than the combined GDP of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).
  4. These risks can be managed by taking ‘no regrets’ actions – development actions we must take in any event. So we must build our infrastructure to withstand more intense weather events, select crops that can withstand extreme conditions and climate-influenced opportunistic pests, and transform our planning frameworks to improve our resilience.
  5. Climate change is a fossil-energy related problem. Fossil fuel consumption is a major driver of climate change. It also costs the Region US$37 million of its foreign exchange earnings and further reduces the potential for economic growth. Employing renewable forms of energy will allow us to tackle two big problems: climate change and economic competitiveness.

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This is a special guest post courtesy of the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (5Cs), the regional focal point for climate change issues. Watch the Caribbean launch of the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)  this evening at a live stream this afternoon at 5pm.