Caribbean youth needed to shift climate change discussion

A report by Ria Chaitram for Trinidad and Tobago’s Newsday. Our thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention.

There has been a call from youth across Caribbean for more young people to play an active role in addressing climate change.

At the inaugural Caribbean Youth for Climate Action virtual conference on Saturday, climate change concerns under the theme Taking Action, Making A Difference were discussed.

The conference was held by the Caribbean Youth Environment Network (CYEN) with the support of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) of the United Kingdom.

The initiative was also geared towards the efforts of the Caribbean youth who would participate in the youth event, Youth4Climate – Driving Ambition and will take place in Milan, Italy from September 28-30.

A report presented by the CYEN Barbados research analysts Karla Nicholls and Jerod Thompson-Springer said small island developing states (SIDS) usually felt the brunt of the climate change and often little can be done to help them recuperate.

It said a survey conducted among youth showed that 84.5 per cent understood the importance of and need for movements towards mitigation, adaptation, funding and cooperation.

Nicholls said, “The Caribbean was ill suited to adapt and respond to the crisis because of a lack of resources and historical injustices which have left economies vulnerable to the shocks of natural disasters and ill-equipped to recover from extreme weather events.

“Many Caribbean islands also find themselves vulnerable to food and water security, where droughts and floods have been predicted to increase in frequency in the future.”

Thompson-Springer said it was time the Caribbean youth community stepped up and got more involved through education, discussions and actions.

“Young people need to become decision-makers as it relates to the management of climate change because the older generation will most likely not have to deal with the devastating effects of climate change.

The sixth International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Climate Change 2021 report stated that “human influence has warmed the climate at a rate that is unprecedented in at least the last 2000 years. Warming is driven by emissions from human activities, with greenhouse gas warming partly masked by aerosol cooling.”

It added that human-induced climate change was already affecting weather and climate in every region across the globe, as evidence by heatwaves, heavy precipitation, droughts, and tropical cyclones.

The 2015 Paris Agreement aims to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and limit global temperature increase to two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, while also trying to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) pre-Conference of the Parties (COP 26) summit All4Climate will take place in Italy from September 30-October 2 and COP 26 will be held in Glasgow from October 31-12 November, 2021.

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