James Painter (BBC) reports on how new studies and projections studies for global warming have raised fears of severe consequences for low-lying areas of the world, including in the Caribbean. Painter states that “the results from computer modelling used by the British Met Office and released this week at a conference in Oxford suggest that a potentially devastating rise of four degrees celsius in the global temperature could happen sooner than expected this century – within the lifetimes of many people alive today.” A “plausible worst case scenario” could happen as soon as 2060. If this were to happen, sea levels would rises by one meter. On a positive note, scientists say that the likelihood that sea level rises happen slowly over several decades makes it possible to prepare for them.
According to the World Bank, the Bahamas, Suriname, Guyana, Belize, and Jamaica are among the countries in the Americas region most vulnerable to a one-meter increase. In Guyana for example, about 90 per cent of the population lives on the coastal belt which is 1.4 meter below sea level. Experts say that for some Caribbean states, it is the combination of sea surges, an increase in the intensity of hurricanes due to warmer seas, and minor sea level rise that will cause the more immediate problems. The leaders of the world’s small island states are demanding that a new international climate change agreement guarantees their countries’ livelihood by ensuring that global warming be kept below 1.5 centigrade.
Many at the Oxford conference stressed that the future does not have to be a doomsday scenario, especially if countries are willing to make big cuts in greenhouse emissions as soon as possible in order to avoid “the worst consequences.”
For full article, see http://www.bbc.co.uk/caribbean/news/story/2009/10/091002_climate_change.shtml