Jamaica Observer http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/ JamaicaObserver.com, the most concise and in-depth website for news coverage on Jamaica and the Caribbean. Updated daily 7 days a week, 24 hours a day en-us copyright Jamaica Observer, 2011 Higher temperatures could mean economic decline &mdash; IPCC http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/environment/Higher-temperatures-could-mean-economic-decline---IPCC_82231 THE world economy stands to recede if global temperatures continue to rise. <br /> <br /> The Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) sounded the warning knell in Kingston on Wednesday at the launch of a three-day symposium intended to bring policymakers, academia, students and the media into the know about the workings of the body which assesses the science related to climate change. <br /> <br /> Speaking at the launch, IPCC chair Dr Hoesung Lee said the global impact could be a loss of 1.22 per cent with warming of just one degree Celsius.<br /> <br /> In Jamaica&rsquo;s case, severe weather events spawned by the warming have already caused economic losses.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We do know that any major shifts in weather severity and patterns could mean a significant loss of Gross Domestic Product for Jamaica, and indeed we are no strangers to this. As far back as 2006 Jamaica recorded a 7.3 per cent loss to GDP as a result of the impacts of climate change,&rdquo; Minister Without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation Daryl Vaz said Wednesday.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;An Inter-American Development Bank report on Jamaica&rsquo;s Catastrophe Risk Profile has also revealed that the country is at risk of average annual losses of US$105 million due to hurricanes, and other extreme weather events. We cannot sit by and allow climate change to derail our progress, and so we remain committed to the goals of the Paris Agreement,&rdquo; the minister added.<br /> <br /> He noted that experts are warning that the current rate of global warming is already causing impacts beyond the current adaptive capacity of many countries, particularly Small Island Developing States (SIDS) such as Jamaica, and added that even with the Paris Agreement&rsquo;s provision to limit global warming to an initial 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial figures, significant residual impacts and losses are predicted.<br /> <br /> Jamaica joined the Paris Agreement in April this year and is taking steps to have it ratified by the end of the financial year.<br /> <br /> Vaz, who delivered the keynote address at the symposium launch Wednesday, signalled the country&rsquo;s commitment to the goals of the Paris Agreement. As an example, he pointed to several sector strategies and action plans that are currently being prepared with a view to bolstering the national adaptation planning process. He noted, too, that the first biennial update report was recently submitted &mdash; a first among SIDS &mdash; providing an update on the country&rsquo;s greenhouse gas inventories.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;While we intend to do all we can to reduce our miniscule emissions footprint, we recognise that adaptation to climate change for us is a must,&rdquo; the minister said.<br /> <br /> Vaz also noted that the research coming out of SIDS to inform studies on the impacts of climate change are lacking.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We appreciate that there is need for a collaborative approach with researchers in other SIDS to address these gaps, and ensure that the reports that are generated truly capture the impacts being experienced and those that are likely to be experienced,&rdquo; the minister said.<br /> <br /> Meanwhile, IPCC chair Lee affirmed the importance of science in guiding national and global efforts to address climate change. He said that while there have been concerns about the future of the Paris Agreement as a result of political developments in some parts of the world, science will be the common ground upon which the agreement will be implemented.<br /> <br /> Lee also used the opportunity to urge countries to ramp up investment in infrastructure that is resilient to the changing climate, as opposed to high-carbon development which contributes to the decline.<br /> <br /> The symposium is being staged by the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation and the University of the West Indies at the university&rsquo;s regional headquarters at Mona and forms part of Climate Change Awareness Week. The proceedings will culminate with a two-day Climate Smart Expo at Emancipation Park this weekend. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13475889/244591_71197_repro_w300.jpg Local News Saturday, December 03, 2016 3:00 AM 53-pound alligator snapping turtle saved http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/environment/53-pound-alligator-snapping-turtle-saved_82214 TEXAS, USA (AP) &mdash; A 53-pound alligator snapping turtle is recovering at a Houston wildlife rehabilitation centre after fire-rescue crews saved it from a drainage pipe.<br /> <br /> The Houston Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) says the specimen, one of a threatened species known as alligator snapping turtles, was found wedged Tuesday in the pipe in a new residential development near Hockley, about 35 miles northwest of Houston.<br /> <br /> Fire-rescue crews used a spreader to open the pipe enough to remove the turtle, which had struggled to keep its head above water. Several drowned alligator snapping turtles flowed from the newly unblocked pipe.<br /> <br /> The SPCA said it also is rehabilitating one other alligator snapping turtle, which had an embedded fish hook and other serious wounds. Both will be returned to the wild after recovering. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13473365/244432_71038_repro_w300.jpg Local News Friday, December 02, 2016 3:00 AM Dairy cows to combat global warming? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/environment/Dairy-cows-to-combat-global-warming-_82083 GALT, California (AP) &mdash; California is taking its fight against global warming to the farm.<br /> <br /> The nation&rsquo;s leading agricultural state is now targeting greenhouse gases produced by dairy cows and other livestock.<br /> <br /> Despite strong opposition from farmers, Gov Jerry Brown signed legislation in September that for the first time regulates heat-trapping gases from livestock operations and landfills.<br /> <br /> Cattle and other farm animals are major sources of methane, a greenhouse gas many times more potent than carbon dioxide as a heat-trapping gas. Methane is released when they belch, pass gas and make manure.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;If we can reduce emissions of methane, we can really help to slow global warming,&rdquo; said Ryan McCarthy, a science adviser for the California Air Resources Board, which is drawing up rules to implement the new law.<br /> <br /> Livestock are responsible for 14.5 per cent of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions, with beef and dairy production accounting for the bulk of it, according to a 2013 United Nations report.<br /> <br /> Since the passage of its landmark global warming law in 2006, California has been reducing carbon emissions from cars, trucks, homes and factories, while boosting production of renewable energy.<br /> <br /> In the nation&rsquo;s largest milk-producing state, the new law aims to reduce methane emissions from dairies and livestock operations to 40 per cent below 2013 levels by 2030, McCarthy said. State officials are developing the regulations, which take effect in 2024.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We expect that this package ... and everything we&rsquo;re doing on climate, does show an effective model forward for others,&rdquo; McCarthy said.<br /> <br /> Dairy farmers say the new regulations will drive up costs when they&rsquo;re already struggling with five years of drought, low milk prices and rising labour costs. They&rsquo;re also concerned about a newly signed law that will boost overtime pay for farm workers.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It just makes it more challenging. We&rsquo;re continuing to lose dairies. Dairies are moving out of state to places where these costs don&rsquo;t exist,&rdquo; argued Paul Sousa, director of environmental services for Western United Dairymen.<br /> <br /> The dairy industry could be forced to move production to states and countries with fewer regulations, leading to higher emissions globally, Sousa said.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We think it&rsquo;s very foolish for the state of California to be taking this position,&rdquo; said Rob Vandenheuvel, general manager for the Milk Producers Council. &ldquo;A single state like California is not going to make a meaningful impact on the climate.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Regulators are looking for ways to reduce so-called enteric emissions &mdash; methane produced by bovine digestive systems. That could eventually require changes to what cattle eat.<br /> <br /> But the biggest target is dairy manure, which accounts for about a quarter of the state&rsquo;s methane emissions.<br /> <br /> State regulators want more farmers to reduce emissions with methane digesters, which capture methane from manure in large storage tanks and convert the gas into electricity.<br /> <br /> The state has set aside $50 million to help dairies set up digesters, but farmers say that&rsquo;s not nearly enough to equip the state&rsquo;s roughly 1,500 dairies.<br /> <br /> New Hope Dairy, which has 1,500 cows in Sacramento County, installed a $4-million methane digester in 2013, thanks to state grants and a partnership with California Biogas LLC, which operates the system to generate renewable power for the Sacramento Municipal Utility District.<br /> <br /> Co-owner Arlin Van Groningen, a third-generation farmer, says he couldn&rsquo;t afford one if he had to buy and run it himself.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The bottom line is it&rsquo;s going to negatively impact the economics of the California dairy industry,&rdquo; Van Groningen said of the new law. &ldquo;In the dairy business, the margins are so slim that something like this will force us out of state.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> State officials say they&rsquo;re committed to making sure the new regulations work for farmers and the environment.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;There&rsquo;s a real opportunity here to get very significant emissions reductions at fairly low cost, and actually in a way that can bring economic benefits to farmers,&rdquo; Ryan said. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13467659/244221_70662_repro_w300.jpg http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13467660/244217_70661_repro_w300.jpg Local Environment Wednesday, November 30, 2016 12:00 AM GOJ, UWI host Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change on Caribbean visit http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/environment/GOJ--UWI-host-Inter-Governmental-Panel-on-Climate-Change-on-Caribbean-visit_82071 The Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation and the University of the West Indies are this week playing hosts to the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) &ndash;the world body that assesses the science related to climate change &ndash; in a Caribbean outreach event that forms part of Climate Change AwarenessWeek.<br /> <br /> The outreach aims to raise awareness, especially among policymakers and the scientific community in the region, about the IPCC&rsquo;s role and activities. It will also demonstrate how climate change is affecting the region and highlight solutions to the challenges.<br /> <br /> The Caribbean Development Bank, the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre, the Inter-American Development Bank and Panos Caribbean are also partnering with the ministry and the UWI to host the event.<br /> <br /> The IPCC&rsquo;s planned outreach activities include:<br /> <br /> A two-day workshop for policymakers, practitioners, scientists, civil society representatives and media from across the Caribbean at the Regional Headquarters of the University of the West Indies (November 30 and December 1)<br /> <br /> A workshop for regional journalists at the University of the West Indies (November 29)<br /> <br /> A meeting with the Permanent Secretaries&rsquo; Board to provide information on the IPCC&rsquo;s most recent and upcoming assessment reports (November 29)<br /> <br /> A special meeting with high school students involved in the Youth Environmental Advocacy Programme (November 30)<br /> <br /> The activities at the Regional Headquarters will be streamed live at http://live.mona.uwi.edu/ and event details may be found at http://ipcc.ch/apps/outreach/eventinfo.php?q=369.<br /> <br /> While in Jamaica, the IPCC will provide information on its work to a Caribbean audience and will share the findings of its Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) and updates on the Sixth Assessment Report process. The IPCC&rsquo;s assessment reports are publications on the full scientific and technical assessment of climate change. These assessments of climate change draw on the work of hundreds of scientists from all over the world, and help policy makers at all levels of government make sound, evidence-based decisions.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We are honoured that the IPCC accepted the invitation of the Government to conduct this outreach to the region, here in Jamaica. The Government commends this fine example of a working partnership that has facilitated this gathering of minds from across the region to consider the scientific case for climate action to save the islands of our Caribbean home. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;We anticipate vibrant exchanges of information as we learn from the most recent Assessment Report of the IPCC and share our own experiences from the region,&rdquo; stated Chief Technical Director in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Colonel Oral Khan<br /> <br /> For his part, Principal of the UWI, Mona campus Professor Archibald McDonald, said: &ldquo;The meeting signals the importance of research, climate information and science-based interventions to development, planning and the livelihoods of the Caribbean. The UWI stands committed to any partnerships that will ultimately better the lives of all across the region. We welcome the IPCC and look forward to the new opportunities and synergies that will emerge over the course of the meeting.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> The IPCC outreach event comes on the heels of the recently concluded 22nd Conference of Parties (COP22) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Marrakech, Morocco.<br /> <br /> At COP22, Jamaica gave the assurance that it remains fully committed, along with its CARICOM brothers and sisters, to seek international agreement to halt, and even reverse the adverse effects of climate change. Jamaica&rsquo;s statement also reaffirmed the country&rsquo;s commitment to the ratification of the Paris Agreement and noted that it is working assiduously to build resilience through a rigorous national adaptation process. <br /> <br /> The Paris Agreement has entered into force, having already been ratified by 55 countries which, between them, are responsible for at least 55 per cent of global emissions. Several CARICOM states have ratified the Agreement and Jamaica should get there by the end of the financial year, according to the Climate Change Division.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12425827/climate-change-agenda_w300.jpg Local Environment Wednesday, November 30, 2016 12:00 AM Oil spill in Kingston Harbour http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/environment/Oil-spill-in-Kingston-Harbour_81689 THE National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) was yesterday investigating a report of an oil spill in the Kingston Harbour which occurred Thursday afternoon. <br /> <br /> The agency said a preliminary report indicated that the spill took place in the vicinity of Gordon Cay. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management is currently coordinating the clean-up and containment activities being undertaken by the Jamaica Defence Force Coast Guard,&rdquo; NEPA said in a release.<br /> <br /> It asked fishers and other marine interests to avoid Gordon Cay and surrounding areas until further advised. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12944595/202179_w300.jpg Local News Saturday, November 26, 2016 12:00 AM Caribbean countries get financial help to fight climate change http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/environment/Caribbean-countries-get-financial-help-to-fight-climate-change_81410 BELMOPAN, Belize (CMC) &mdash; The Belize-based Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC or 5Cs) has launched a multimillion-dollar climate change adaptation programme (CCAP) which it said will boost climate-resilient development and reduce climate change induced-risks to human and natural assets in 10 Caribbean countries. <br /> <br /> The four-year US$25.6-million CCAP project was launched in collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development for the Eastern and Southern Caribbean (USAID/ESC).<br /> <br /> The CCAP is part of a larger goal of creating a more secure and prosperous Caribbean Community through sustainable climate change adaptation measures.<br /> <br /> It will be implemented by the CCCCC in Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, and Suriname.<br /> <br /> USAID&rsquo;s Chief of Mission Christopher Cushing said that, &ldquo;This partnership seeks to reduce the risks to human and natural assets resulting from climate variability in the Eastern and Southern Caribbean.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We will work together with the 5Cs to create an integrated system to sustainably adapt to climate change in the ECS,&rdquo; he said, adding that the climate resilient development initiative contributes to a coherent regional effort to tackle climate change- induced challenges in the Caribbean.<br /> <br /> He said it builds upon both USAID&rsquo;s Eastern and Southern Caribbean Regional Development Cooperative Strategy, which is addressing development challenges in the Eastern and Southern Caribbean, and the CCCCC&rsquo;s Regional Framework for Achieving Development Resilient to a changing climate and its associated Implementation Plan that were unanimously endorsed by Caribbean Community heads.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Our helping communities and government manage their water sources or sometimes, the lack thereof is encouraging the private sector and others to adopt renewable energy approaches while working with governments so they can develop the right frameworks and policies to encourage the uptake of renewable,&rdquo; Cushing said.<br /> <br /> CCCCC Executive Director Dr Kenrick Leslie said that the programme underscores the value of partnership for capacity building and realising tangible outcomes.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Donor countries stand with us side by side because they recognised the need for an institution that would help lead the way to address the issues of climate change and sea level rise. While CCAP is a programme to help the Eastern and Southern Caribbean countries, it is helping the Centre to have the skills that will help us to propel the needs of our region in developing programmes to meet our obligations.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> There are three technical components of the CCAP that promotes the use of climate data and information for use in decision-making, as well as supporting innovative adaptation approaches which demonstrates proof of concept necessary to secure additional financing.<br /> <br /> The third component fosters climate financing to support scale up and replication of sustainable adaptation initiatives http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13455245/242803_69342_repro_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, November 24, 2016 12:00 AM JetBlue airs onboard video http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/environment/JetBlue-airs-onboard-video_81363 NEW YORK, USA &mdash; The US Fish and Wildlife Service and the US Wildlife Trafficking Alliance are educating travellers about how to &ldquo;buy informed&rdquo; and travel smart to the Caribbean. The agencies have partnered with JetBlue to air a short film on all flights informing customers of the role they play in protecting Caribbean wildlife and preserving the region&rsquo;s beauty. The video, featuring local Caribbean conservation heroes, will arm travellers with the right questions to ask when purchasing wildlife and plant-related products. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;An increased interest in Caribbean wildlife is fuelling trafficking of the area&rsquo;s plants, animals and other natural resources,&rdquo; the US Fish and Wildlife Service said in a statement<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It is contributing to the decline and potential extinction of animal species such as sea turtles, blue and gold macaws and coral reefs &mdash; natural treasures that draw travelers to the Caribbean. In many cases, visitors may unwittingly be contributing to the decline of the very things they want to experience,&rdquo; it continued.<br /> <br /> The Caribbean&rsquo;s island geography makes it a highly biodiverse region. It is home to approximately 6,500 plant, 150 bird, 470 reptile, 40 mammal, 170 amphibian and 65 fish species not found anywhere else in the world. The global wildlife trafficking crisis threatens many of these species which are used, often illegally, as pets, medicine, food, jewellery, clothing, souvenirs and household decorations. For example, sea turtles are used for food, jewellery and items such as combs; birds are taken from the wild and sold as pets or their feathers incorporated into souvenirs; unique reptiles are sold as exotic pets and used for clothing; and coral is taken for use in jewellery and d&Atilde;&copy;cor.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;More than one-third of our travel is to the Caribbean and Latin America. We are dedicated to protecting its beauty and health which, in turn, protects tourism and our business,&rdquo; said Sophia Mendelsohn, JetBlue&rsquo;s head of sustainability.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Like many travellers, I was not initially aware of the extent wildlife trafficking has threatened many species and the unique nature of the Caribbean that people fly to absorb.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> &ldquo;This film is a great step forward in efforts to educate the public on the role they can play in combating wildlife trafficking,&rdquo; said Service Director Dan Ashe. &ldquo;The potential to reach the 35 million people who fly with JetBlue each year is an unprecedented opportunity for us to communicate with the very people we hope will be empowered as guardians of the Caribbean&rsquo;s wildlife.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> On March 3, 2016 &mdash; World Wildlife Day &mdash; JetBlue and the service announced a five-year partnership to combat wildlife trafficking. Since then, they have worked to engage local Caribbean conservation heroes in this short film. These individuals illustrate the important work taking place in local communities to protect wildlife.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Protecting the world&rsquo;s most endangered species requires American consumers to make smart choices when travelling abroad,&rdquo; said David J Hayes, chair of the alliance. &ldquo;JetBlue&rsquo;s commitment to help educate consumers is a critical step forward to ending the demand that has fuelled this illegal trade. Its new film will make a big impact by showing consumers how to buy informed and helping to create a culture of responsible tourism.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> The video falls under JetBlue&rsquo;s platform for social impact and corporate responsibility &mdash; JetBlue For Good: Commitment to the Environment. &ldquo;JetBlue For Good focuses on the areas that are most important to its customers and crewmembers &mdash; community, youth/education and the environment. JetBlue depends on natural resources and a healthy environment to keep its business running smoothly. Natural resources are essential for the airline to fly and tourism relies on having beautiful, natural and preserved destinations for customers to visit,&rdquo; the airline said. <br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13409617/238947_w300.jpg Local Environment Wednesday, November 23, 2016 12:00 AM Jamaica intends to ratify the conditions of the Paris Agreement &mdash; Mahlung http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/environment/Jamaica-intends-to-ratify-the-conditions-of-the-Paris-Agreement---Mahlung_81361 Jamaica intends to ratify the conditions of the Paris Agreement by the end of this financial year, according to Clifford Mahlung, project administrator and Senior Climate Change negotiator in the Climate Change Division of the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation. <br /> <br /> That will make it the ninth Caribbean country to make the move since signing the Agreement in April this year.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;When we deposit the instruments at the United Nations in New York, it takes 30 days before we become a part; so I&rsquo;m anticipating that before the end of this financial year Jamaica will be a part of the Paris Agreement,&rdquo; Mahlung told reporters and editors at this week&rsquo;s staging of the Jamaica Observer&rsquo;s Monday Exchange.<br /> <br /> According to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) the Paris Agreement builds upon the Convention and &ndash; for the first time &ndash; brings all nations into a common cause to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects, with enhanced support to assist developing countries to do so.<br /> <br /> It seeks to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels with plans to cap it at 1.5 degrees Celsius. The Agreement also tackles the impact of climate change and bolsters countries&rsquo; ability to combat the effects, particularly small developing islands which are vulnerable to sea level rise and rising temperatures.<br /> <br /> On Monday, Mahlung &mdash; who was part of the Jamaican delegation to the just-concluded COP22 (the 22nd Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) in Marrakech, the Morrocan capital &ndash; explained that the ratification process varies from country to country.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Ours is taking a little more time than the others. Eight Caribbean countries have already ratified...but we had to get the approval and an examination for the treaty by the Attorney General Department. That took a little longer than we anticipated but that is now completed [and] we are now doing the consultation processes,&rdquo; he said<br /> <br /> Prior to COP 22, Mahlung revealed that consultations outlined what will need to be brought to cabinet.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We will go to cabinet. We will have to go to a number of other local consultations to make sure that everybody fully agrees with what it is that we are buying into, so that process should be before cabinet before the end of the year or early next year,&rdquo; Mahlung stated, expressing hope that the process will not be prolonged in cabinet.<br /> <br /> The technocrat also lauded the urgency with which governments worldwide have treated the agreement.<br /> <br /> Making reference to the number of countries that have ratified the agreement to date, Mahlung said: &ldquo;We never expected this to happen until five years&rsquo; time and for the Paris Agreement to enter into force in 2020 based on the experience of the Kyoto Protocol but we have done this less than 12 months, remarkably. It shows that countries are willing now to step up to the plate to do what they can to reduce emissions on one hand but they are also feeling the impacts on the other hand.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> The financial year will end on March 31, 2017. COP 22 began preparations for the entry into force of the Paris Agreement slated for 2020. As of November 4 &ndash; when the agreement went into effect &ndash; 193 UNFCCC members signed the treaty, 112 of which have since ratified.<br /> <br /> &mdash; Jediael Carter<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13450886/242382_68976_repro_w300.jpg Local Environment Wednesday, November 23, 2016 12:00 AM PM: Jamaica committed to UN Framework Convention on Climate Change http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/environment/PM--Jamaica-committed-to-UN-Framework-Convention-on-Climate-Change_80951 PRIME Minister Andrew Holness has affirmed the country&rsquo;s commitment to halt, and even reverse the adverse effects on climate change, showing Jamaica&rsquo;s firm support for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.<br /> <br /> Speaking at the 22nd Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 22) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, underway in Marrakech, Morroco, Prime Minister Holness said the entry into force of the Paris Agreement on November 4, 2016 and COP 22 are major milestones to developing a low carbon, climate resilient world. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;Jamaica is proud of the leadership role it has played to get us this far,&rdquo; said the prime minister, adding: &ldquo;I wish to assure this august body that Jamaica remains fully committed to ratification of the Paris Agreement. To this end, we are working assiduously on the requisite domestic procedures.&rdquo; <br /> <br /> According to Holness, climate change is a developmental issue of global proportion that, in many cases, requires solutions which are beyond the efforts of many developing countries. He said small developing states are challenged, including those which are classified as &lsquo;highly indebted, middle income countries&rsquo;, hence urgent action, increased support and creative solutions are needed. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;Jamaica continues to build resilience in our systems through a rigorous, national adaptation planning process, but our continued progress can only be realised through the strengthened global partnerships, which we expect to result from our meetings here this week,&rdquo; he stated. <br /> <br /> Noting that the Marrakech meeting was an opportunity to consolidate the progress made and accelerate action on climate change, Holness said the country looks forward to implementing measures to limit temperature increases to well below 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels; increasing levels of, and simplifying access to climate financing, with a strong focus on adaptation for developing countries; the use of innovative mechanisms such as debt for climate change swaps; and the full acceptance of the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage, associated with Climate Change Impacts.<br /> <br /> The prime minister and his delegation left the island on Sunday, November 13 to participate in the conference, which was scheduled to end yesterday.<br /> <br /> Holness will return to the island today. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13411631/239240_65964_repro_w300.jpg Local News Saturday, November 19, 2016 3:00 AM Scientists monitoring changes at Dominica&rsquo;s Boiling Lake http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/environment/Scientists-monitoring-changes-at-Dominica-s-Boiling-Lake_80909 ROSEAU, Dominica (CMC) &mdash; Visitors to the Boiling Lake, a volcano-hydrothermal feature located in the southern end of the island, have been urged to avoid visiting the area due to a change in water levels.<br /> <br /> The warning was issued by Office of Disaster Management and the Trinidad and Tobago-based Seismic Research Centre of the University of The West Indies (UWI), St Augustine campus.<br /> <br /> It&rsquo;s reported that water levels have been changing in recent days, a phenomenon that has occurred several times since 1876.<br /> <br /> The Boiling Lake is located in an area next to the Valley of Desolation &mdash; the lake levels have dropped significantly and been restored at least seven times in the recorded history &mdash; 1876, 1900, 1901, 1971, 1988 and 2004.<br /> <br /> Earlier this month, visitors to the Boiling Lake reported a significant decrease in water levels, a situation that was confirmed by UWI scientists.<br /> <br /> The scientists, however, noted that changes in water levels at the Boiling Lake are not necessarily related to increased volcanic activity in the area or to geothermal exploration.<br /> <br /> However, during these episodes, harmful gases, such as carbon dioxide, can be released and small steam explosions may also occur.<br /> <br /> The last such occurrence was December 2004 to April 2005.<br /> <br /> In the wake of this latest development, the disaster officials report that people are swimming in the lake as the water is now cold, however they have been warned to leave the area immediately as the water can return to its original boiling state with little or no warning.<br /> <br /> The general public has also been told to avoid the area until the activity has subsided and only officials involved in the monitoring of the Boiling Lake should venture in that area. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13443666/boiling-water-300x200.jpg Local News Saturday, November 19, 2016 3:00 AM Antigua calls for immediate intervention on climate change with Trump http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/environment/Antigua-calls-for-immediate-intervention-on-climate-change-with-Trump_80753 MARRAKECH, Morocco (CMC) &ndash; Prime Minister Gaston Browne of Antigua and Barbuda has called on all government and special groupings in the United Nations to commence discussions with the incoming US administration on climate change.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;If the United States wavers in its current leadership on climate change, or if it withdraws from its commitments, a chain reaction will be triggered that will leave the Agreement in tatters, and the world in peril,&rdquo; said Browne, in addressing the meeting of the 22nd Session of the Conference of Parties (COP22) here on Wednesday.<br /> <br /> A release from the Government said Browne was making reference to the uncertainty of US President-elect Donald Trump&rsquo;s position on climate change, which was one of the issues highlighted in the lead-up to the November 8 elections in the United States.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We (the Caribbean) know that global warming, sea-level rise, extreme drought and stronger cyclones, are daggers at the heart of our existence,&rdquo; Browne said.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;For us, &lsquo;1.5 to stay alive&rsquo; is not a frivolous slogan; it is a constant reminder that, if temperatures continue to rise, our countries will suffer insurmountable losses,&rdquo; he warned. &ldquo;In fact, many small island states will disappear beneath the sea. That is the stark reality facing small island states.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> &ldquo;While my Government offers congratulations to US President-elect Donald Trump and pledges our resolve to work co-operatively with his Administration, we are, however, aware that he remains unconvinced of climate change,&rdquo; Browne continued. &ldquo;Those of us from small states live with a different reality. We hope it is also a warning to the world&rsquo;s most developed nations that the tides of the world&rsquo;s climate will also be battering their most secure bastions.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> &ldquo;In this connection, I call on all governments to begin early conversations with appointees to Mr Trump&rsquo;s administration,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;It is a real danger that must be addressed with urgency.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Browne called on special groupings within the United Nations, such as AOSIS, to mount urgently a collaborative effort to lay out the dangers that confront the globe to the incoming new US administration.<br /> <br /> Browne also said that in order to fulfil the commitments of the universal Climate Change Agreement, the resources of the Global Environmental Fund and the Green Climate Fund must be replenished.<br /> <br /> He said that adaptation financing must be significantly increased to balance global priorities in line with the Agreement.<br /> <br /> The prime minister said average global temperatures have already increased one degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels, stating: &ldquo;We must collectively act now to protect our planet.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;If the global community does not act decisively to curb emissions, it is likely that every ecosystem across the planet will fundamentally change in our lifetimes,&rdquo; he cautioned. &ldquo;Therefore, the problem has all the urgency of now.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The bell may be tolling loudly for small islands that are innocent victims of the profligacy of others, but it is also tolling for all nations, Browne said. &ldquo;Let us recommit ourselves to immediate collective action, in saving our planet.&rdquo; http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13376230/236079_63131_repro_w300.jpg Local News Friday, November 18, 2016 12:00 AM Jamaica House to go solar http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/environment/Jamaica-House-to-go-solar_80641 MARRAKECH, Morocco &mdash; As representatives of the world&rsquo;s nations gather at the COP22 Climate Conference in Marrakech, Morocco, island states are standing out for their impressive commitments to fighting climate change. <br /> <br /> Yesterday, in keeping with its promise to transition to 30 per cent renewable energy for electricity generation by 2030, the Government of Jamaica announced its joining of the Solar Head of State coalition to install a solar photovoltaic (PV) system on the national executive office, Jamaica House.<br /> <br /> The system will generate 15kW of energy and is projected to save the Government millions of dollars in energy expenditure over its lifetime.<br /> <br /> Prime Minister of Jamaica Andrew Holness said, &ldquo;This project is symbolic of the renewable future we see for Jamaica and the Caribbean. Islands like Jamaica are becoming leaders for demonstrating the deployment of solar technology, and I aim to lead by example, by installing solar PV on the Office of the Prime Minister, Jamaica House.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Jamaica House is the Prime Minister&rsquo;s official office.<br /> <br /> In his 2016-2017 sectoral debate presentation in Parliament, Minister of Science, Energy and Technology Dr Andrew Wheatley said:<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Everything we do as a country must pass the litmus test and improve the Jamaican Gross Domestic Product. Therefore, the Government must create a competitive energy environment.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> In announcing this project, Wheatley declared, &ldquo;With this vision in mind, the time has come to begin the transition. What better way to start than with the solarisation of Jamaica House. This renewable energy revolution is not only essential but exciting and we want all of Jamaica to share in this vision and excitement.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Solar Head of State partners with solar technology companies, local installers, major climate NGOs and foundations to offer well-designed, professionally installed solar systems for the residences of heads of State or Government around the world in order to showcase and promote the use of the technology. The solar PV panels for the Jamaica House Solar Head of State project are donated by Trina Solar, whose founder Jifan Gao is a leading figure in China&rsquo;s booming solar industry. This project is being done in coordination with the Clinton Climate Initiative and Rocky Mountain Institute-Carbon War Room&rsquo;s Islands Energy Programme.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I&rsquo;m so pleased to see Jamaica setting such a great example!&rdquo; said Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group and non-profit Carbon War Room, which aims to accelerate the implementation of renewable energy in the Caribbean.<br /> <br /> Mohamed Nasheed, climate change activist and former president of the Maldives, said, &ldquo;Now, more than ever, the presidents and prime ministers of island countries, which are so threatened by climate change, must show global leadership by cutting carbon emissions and embracing clean energy. Jamaica is showing such leadership with its commitment to renewable energy and the solar installation on Jamaica House.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> The installation work will be undertaken by US firm Solar Island Energy, working with the National Energy Solutions Limited, an agency of the Ministry of Science, Energy, and Technology; and Envisage Energy, a Jamaican company focused on being part of the island&rsquo;s sustainable future. The project is supported by Elms Consulting, a London-based strategic consulting firm working to accelerate sustainable development on islands.<br /> <br /> Delegations from 195 countries are present in Marrakech to discuss the implementation of the recently adopted Paris Agreement, which has been ratified by more than 100 countries. Renewable energy, particularly solar, is a major force in reducing carbon emissions and the targets outlined in the agreement. Many projects identified at COP22 seem likely to be initiated because they make sense economically, in addition to having positive environmental impacts. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13204465/221440_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, November 17, 2016 12:00 AM New irrigation technology for farmers http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/environment/New-irrigation-technology-for-farmers_80116 BOLOGNA, Italy &mdash; With increased water scarcity and agriculture consuming 70 per cent of global freshwater resources, demand is surging for new agricultural solutions. Yara International ASA (Yara) and Pessl Instruments have devised one &mdash; a combination of their technologies which continuously measure changes in turgor pressure in the leaf and irrigate accordingly. <br /> <br /> Turgor pressure is the pressure caused by fluid pushing against the cell wall of plant cells. It boosts the plant&rsquo;s rigidness so that it stands straight and maintains normal cellular functions. It is the driving force for plant growth and fruit production, so proper water management is important. If a plant is not able to access enough water, it cannot maintain turgor pressure, causing it to wilt. <br /> <br /> Yara&rsquo;s water sensor measures the difference between magnetic pressure and turgor. The sensor is integrated into Pessl&rsquo;s existing hardware platform, with a kit consisting of 10 Yara water sensors to be installed on five different trees (within a range of 500 metres) and is optimal for irrigation plots up to 15 ha.<br /> <br /> The aim, the companies say, is to apply water and nutrients on demand to optimise the resources, thereby improving crop quality and quantity.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Pessl Instruments manufactures, develops and distributes real-time, Internet-linked, solar-powered measurement devices which is connected to the FieldClimate.com platform. The Yara Water-Sensor data together with the weather and soil data are sent wirelessly via Pessl Instruments proprietary radio network and their API to the MyYara platform,&rdquo; CEO and founder of Pessl Instrument, Gottfried Pessl explained. <br /> <br /> MyYara, he said, is the farmer&rsquo;s engagement portal for crop management which will allow real-time access to recommendations for irrigation and crop nutrition, in addition to historical information of evapotranspiration and weather forecast.<br /> <br /> The Pessl-Yara solution is currently available for olives and citrus, but research and trials for additional crops like grapevine, pome and stone fruits, nuts and coffee are ongoing and are expected to be launched &ldquo;in due course&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Collaborating with Pessl Instruments enables us to offer a solution that increases the profitability and productivity of farming through greater nutrient and water use efficiency,&rdquo; said Pal O Stormorken, Head of Application and Crop Management System at Yara.<br /> <br /> The move, he continued, is another step in strengthening Yara&rsquo;s precision farming offering, adding improved solutions to allow real-time monitoring of crop, soil and weather data to ensure optimal use of scarce resources like water, land and nutrients.<br /> <br /> Pessl Instruments, headquartered in Weiz, Austria, was founded in 1984 by current CEO Gottfried Pessl. It develops and distributes climate monitoring, agricultural risk, and irrigation management technology solutions for its farming customer base. PI&rsquo;s products include weather stations, soil moisture monitoring devices, irrigation automation controllers, electronic insect traps, remote crop monitoring systems, disease and pest warning software and localised weather forecasts. <br /> <br /> Yara, meanwhile, was founded in 1905 to solve emerging famine in Europe. It carries a range of products and farming solutions including fertilizers, crop nutrition programmes and technologies to increase yields, improve product quality and reduce the environmental impact of agricultural practices.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13436019/240261__w300.jpg Local Environment Wednesday, November 16, 2016 12:00 AM Ban hails &lsquo;new dawn of cooperation on climate change&rsquo;, urges action on Paris accord http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/environment/Ban-hails--new-dawn-of-cooperation-on-climate-change---urges-action-on-Paris-accord_80545 MARRAKECH, Morocco &ndash; Ten days after the entry into force of the Paris Agreement on climate change, world leaders yesterday showed strong support for the implementation of the agreement at the opening of the high-level segment of the 22nd Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).<br /> <br /> The conference, referred to as COP22, runs until Friday.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Countries have strongly supported the Agreement because they realise their own national interest is best secured by pursuing the common good. Now we have to translate words into effective policies and actions,&rdquo; UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon said as he opened the segment.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;This is critical to protect our planet, safeguard the most vulnerable and drive shared prosperity. Low-emission development and climate resilience will advance all the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),&rdquo; he added.<br /> <br /> Adopted by 196 States Parties to the UNFCCC last December, the Paris Agreement, so-named after the French capital where it was approved by the previous Conference &mdash; COP 21 &mdash; aims to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping the global temperature rise this century well below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5 degrees Celsius.<br /> <br /> In early October, the accord cleared the final threshold of 55 countries representing 55 per cent of global emissions required for it to come into effect within one month. Its entry into force was extremely swift, particularly for an agreement that required a large number of ratifications and the two specific thresholds. <br /> <br /> The Agreement entered into force in time for COP 22, which has been under way since November 7. Before the meeting wraps up, parties hope to define the rules of implementation of the Paris Agreement and establish a viable plan to provide financial support to developing countries to support climate action.<br /> <br /> Ban said that the UN will help countries implement the Agreement and he called on developed countries &ldquo;to honour their commitment to mobilise climate finance &ndash; $100 billion by 2020 &mdash; to help developing countries to mitigate and adapt to climate vulnerability&rdquo;. <br /> <br /> The UN chief also said that after a decade of making sure climate change was at the top of the international agenda, he would leave delegations with some key lessons:<br /> <br /> &bull; Multilateral solutions work; acting together, countries achieve more than they ever could alone;<br /> <br /> &bull; Heads of States and Government must take the lead;<br /> <br /> &bull; Whole societies must get engaged;<br /> <br /> &bull; The UN must continue to champion science;<br /> <br /> &bull; Solutions must be funded and expanded; and<br /> <br /> &bull; The UN must continue advancing the moral cause for action.<br /> <br /> In his remarks, President of the UN General Assembly Peter Thomson encouraged all parties to the Paris Agreement to implement and enhance ambition of their nationally determined contributions (NDCs) &ldquo;without delay&rdquo;. He added that urgent action on climate change &ldquo;must be seen as a moral, environmental, scientific, and developmental imperative, guided by ambition, action and equity&rdquo;. The executive eecretary of UNFCCC, Patricia Espinosa, stressed in her remarks the need to &ldquo;accelerate climate action&rdquo; and &ldquo;to make climate action a cornerstone of the transformation to truly sustainable development&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;This profound transformation will not be easy and will involve difficult decisions. Leadership is needed now more than ever. And the contribution to this transformation by business, subnational governments, indigenous people, youth, women and many others cannot be overlooked,&rdquo; she added.<br /> <br /> Ahead of the official opening of the high-level segment of the conference, Ban told a press conference that &ldquo;every country is aware that climate change is a reality&rdquo; and &ldquo;no country, however resourceful or powerful, is immune to the impacts of climate change&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13436020/241111_67706_repro_w300.jpg Local Environment Wednesday, November 16, 2016 12:00 AM Contract approved for Rio Cobre Basin study http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/environment/Contract-approved-for-Rio-Cobre-Basin-study_80061 CABINET has approved the award of a contract valued at US$427,000 to consulting engineering firm Stanley Consultants Inc for the Rio Cobre Basin Water Resources Study.<br /> <br /> The study forms part of the Kingston Metropolitan Area (KMA) Water Supply Improvement programme and will be overseen by the National Water Commission (NWC).<br /> <br /> Addressing a post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House on Wednesday, Minister of Education, Youth and Information Senator Ruel Reid noted that the study will aid in determining the soundness of the existing restriction on the use of the aquifers within the Rio Cobre Basin. These restrictions had negatively affected farming in the area.<br /> <br /> The minister said Cabinet has requested that the study examine the merits of rainwater harvesting, including mandatory rainwater harvesting.<br /> <br /> The KMA Water Supply Improvement programme, being done with support from the Inter-American Development Bank, has the objective to improve the quality of services provided to the KMA and selected urban areas, and to increase the efficiency and sustainability of the NWC.<br /> <br /> &mdash; JIS http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13224684/223103_w300.jpg Local News Friday, November 11, 2016 1:00 AM COP22 kicks off in Moroccan capital http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/environment/COP22-kicks-off-in-Moroccan-capital_79869 MARRAKECH, Morocco &mdash; The UN Climate Change Conference in Marrakech kicked off on Monday, just three days after the Paris Climate Change Agreement entered into force, and a day ahead of the US election and the uncertainty over its impact on the landmark deal.<br /> <br /> At the opening, Morocco&rsquo;s foreign minister and newly elected COP22 President Salaheddine Mezouar underscored his country&rsquo;s willingness to host the conference as a demonstration of Africa&rsquo;s commitment as a whole to contribute to global efforts to tackle climate change. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;It emphasises Africa&rsquo;s desire to take its destiny in hand, to reduce its vulnerability and strengthen its resilience,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> President Mezouar pointed to the groundswell of momentum building around the world. At the same time, he acknowledged the fact that the Paris Agreement does not yet put the world on track towards the goal of a maximum global average temperature of 1.5 to 2 degrees, as agreed by the international community in Paris last year.<br /> <br /> Addressing government delegates he said: &ldquo;I would like to invite you over the coming 11 days to be more ambitious than ever in your commitments. All over the world, public opinion must perceive change. It has to be a change at all levels, from local projects through to those that cross international borders and it must create genuine win-win partnerships.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Together with S&Atilde;&copy;gol&Atilde;&uml;ne Royal, French environment minister and president of last year&rsquo;s Paris UN Climate Change Conference, Mezouar handed out solar lanterns to all delegates in the room as a symbol of the transformation to clean technology which is essential to achieve the Paris Agreement goals. The delegates then held up the lights in a show of solidarity.<br /> <br /> In her opening address, Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, said that whilst early entry into force of the Paris Agreement is a clear cause for celebration, it is also a timely reminder of the high expectations that are now placed on governments:<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Achieving the aims and ambitions of the Paris Agreement is not a given. We have embarked on an effort to change the course of two centuries of carbon-intense development. The peaking of global emissions is urgent, as is attaining far more climate-resilient societies.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Espinosa underlined five key areas in which work needs to be taken forward. Notably:<br /> <br /> &bull; Finance to allow developing countries to green their economies and build resilience. It has to reach the level and have the predictability needed to catalyse low-emission and climate-resilient development.<br /> <br /> &bull; Nationally determined contributions &mdash; national climate action plans &mdash; which now need to be integrated into national policies and investment plans.<br /> <br /> &bull; Support for adaptation, which needs to be given higher priority, and progress on the loss and damage mechanism to safeguard development gains in the most vulnerable communities.<br /> <br /> &bull; Capacity-building needs of developing countries in a manner that is both tailored and specific to their needs.<br /> <br /> &bull; Fully engaging non-party stakeholders, from the North and from the South, as they are central to the global action agenda for transformational change.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Our work here in Marrakech must reflect our new reality. No politician or citizen, no business manager or investor, can doubt that the transformation to a low-emission, resilient society and economy is the singular determination of the community of nations,&rdquo; she said.<br /> <br /> Under its rules, the Paris Agreement, entered into force on November 4, 30 days after at least 55 parties to the convention &mdash; accounting in total for at least an estimated 55 per cent of the total global greenhouse gas emissions &mdash; had deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession with the depositary in New York. <br /> <br /> Of the 197 parties to the convention, 103 had ratified the Paris Agreement as of yesterday. <br /> <br /> Espinosa and Mezouar praised the extremely rapid international response while stressing the urgency of the continued signal from governments that they are firmly committed to achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement. This is critical as time is short to put the world on track to meet these objectives.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Humanity will look back on November 4, 2016 as the day that countries of the world shut the door on inevitable climate disaster and set off with determination towards a sustainable future,&rdquo; they said in a joint statement issued on November 4.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;This is a moment to celebrate. It is also a moment to look ahead with sober assessment and renewed will over the task ahead. In a short time &mdash; and certainly in the next 15 years &mdash; we need to see unprecedented reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and unequalled efforts to build societies that can resist rising climate impacts.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The timetable is pressing because, globally, greenhouse gas emissions, which drive climate change and its impacts, are not yet falling &mdash; a fact which the Marrakech meeting must have at the front of its concerns and collective resolve.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> COP22 runs until November 18.<br /> <br /> &mdash; UNFCC<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13418550/239896_66383_repro_w300.jpg http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13418553/239887_66382_repro_w300.jpg Local Environment Wednesday, November 09, 2016 12:00 AM Jamaica, Canada partner on energy research http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/environment/Jamaica--Canada-partner-on-energy-research_78383 Local NGO emPOWERed Caribbean Communities has partnered with a British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) to establish an energy research unit the parties say will find real-world solutions to everyday problems people face.<br /> <br /> In addititon to research, the unit &mdash; Caribbean Energy Solutions Research Institute (CESRI) &mdash; is expected to provide technical assistance to the energy sector in the island and the Caribbean while sharing best practices and bench-marking with other research- focused organisations.<br /> <br /> At the signing of the agreement at the High Commission of Canada in Jamaica recently, the partnership was hailed as &ldquo;incredibly important&rdquo; for both parties.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Canada&rsquo;s tremendous renewable energy sources and experience in the sector make it an ideal partner for countries like Jamaica, which are actively pursuing a renewable energy strategy,&rdquo; remarked senior trade commissioner at the High Commission Julie Forrest. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;Jamaica has made significant strides in the implementation of its renewable energy deployment. The alliance between BCIT and emPOWERed Caribbean Communities to create C7ESRI will provide a collaborative vehicle for technical cooperation and research to support energy sector planning,&rdquo; she continued.<br /> <br /> The agreement will last for three years in the first instance, emPOWERed Caribbean head Dr Gary Jackson explained.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The unit will provide services of a quantitative and qualitative nature to the public and private sectors to guide and inform policy, regulatory and business decision-making in, but not limited to generation expansion, system planning, integrated resource planning, demand forecasting and transportation,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;In order to effectively plan and efficiently implement, significant research, laboratory and analysis effort will need to be expended to better understand the energy situation and how it will evolve in a changing environment.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Dr Jackson said the project is expected to expand beyond three years and beyond energy.<br /> <br /> BCIT&rsquo;s Dr Kim Dotto, who signed the agreement with Jackson, said his institution stands to learn a lot from Jamaica, because although 95 per cent of its electricity is generated from renewable sources, the &ldquo;land mass is so vast that there are entire communities that are 100 per cent tied to fossil fuel sources&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;BCIT works alot with real-world experiential learning... [and] this project gives us an opportunity to expand that,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> The MoU signing was also witnessed by permanent secretary in the energy ministry Hillary Alexander, who hailed the country&rsquo;s use of renewable energy, even while acknowledging that &ldquo;we can do more&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We have the largest solar farm in the English-speaking Caribbean and we have the largest combined wind farm in the English-speaking Caribbean,&rdquo; she said. By the end of next year we will meet the 15 per cent of renewables as per the energy policy.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13418522/239968_66451_repro_w300.jpg Local Environment Wednesday, November 09, 2016 12:00 AM Famous pool cue maker sentenced in attempted http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/environment/Famous-pool-cue-maker-sentenced-in-attempted_79947 LOS ANGELES (AP) &mdash; A famous custom pool cue maker has been sentenced to two years of probation for his role in trying to help export- protected African elephant ivory to Taiwan.<br /> <br /> Seventy-five-year-old Cesar &ldquo;Ernie&rdquo; Gutierrez was also ordered to immediately pay a $10,000 criminal fine on Monday.<br /> <br /> Gutierrez pleaded guilty on August 29 to aiding and abetting the attempted smuggling of African elephant ivory.<br /> <br /> Prosecutors say Gutierrez manufactured and sold two people 41 sections of custom pool cues with inlays of the protected ivory for US$75,000 to US$85,000. Both individuals were later arrested at Los Angeles International Airport.<br /> <br /> Gutierrez makes ornate cues with materials that include gold, jewels and exotic woods. His customers through the years have included stars like Frank Sinatra.<br /> <br /> A telephone message left for Gutierrez on Monday was not immediately returned.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13418524/239960_66442_repro_w300.jpg Local Environment Wednesday, November 09, 2016 12:00 AM Solving climate change by mimicking nature http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/environment/Solving-climate-change-by-mimicking-nature_78639 BY KIMONE THOMPSON Associate Editor – Features thompsonk@jamaicaobserver.com IF you follow the discussions on climate change, you&rsquo;ll notice that they typically urge vulnerable countries to adapt to and mi<br /> <br /> tigate the deleterious effects of the global warming phenomenon.<br /> <br /> But the Commonwealth group of countries &mdash; which stands to bear the brunt of the effects given the number of small island developing states in its membership &mdash; is trying to steer attention away from merely coping and towards reversal.<br /> <br /> To that end, Commonwealth Secretary General Patricia Scotland hosted leading biologists, ecologists, oceanographers and other authorities on sustainability and regenerative development from around the world at a two-day brainstorming workshop called &lsquo;Regenerative Development to Reverse Climate Change&rsquo; at the secretariat headquarters in London on the weekend. <br /> <br /> A major focus of the proceedings? Biomimicry. <br /> <br /> The concept is as old as time itself, yet as an area of specialised science, particularly one being used to address climate change, it is an emerging area which takes cues from nature in the innovation of sustainable designs.<br /> <br /> The discussions were expected to explore whether scientists can develop a carbon reduction programme which can roll back the effects of climate change while catalysing economic development; examine the practical application of concepts such as biomimicry &mdash; in which buildings are engineered to have the carbon-reducing capabilities of trees; discuss the implementation of the circular economies &mdash; which involves the conversion of food waste to renewable gases; examine the potential for a long-term programme that will provide countries with proven, practical and tailored initiatives they can use to cut carbon emissions; discuss how resources can be mobilised to fund innovations to address climate change; and consider the potential for a climate change reversal lab in June 2017, so Commonwealth countries can receive tailored and funded climate action toolkits linked to the secretariat&rsquo;s Climate Finance Access Hub.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It&rsquo;s not just a talk shop, it&rsquo;s a doing shop,&rdquo; Scotland told the Jamaica Observer by phone hours before the start of the event which attracted scientists from around the world, including biomimicry champion Dr Janine Benyus. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;We are getting all the best people together so they can do something. It&rsquo;s like we say in the Caribbean, &lsquo;you have to do something before something do you,&rdquo; added Scotland who is a Dominica native.<br /> <br /> According to Baroness Scotland, Tropical Storm Erika, which lashed her homeland last year leaving damage amounting to between 90 and 95 per cent of GDP, and Hurricane Matthew which whipped an already fragile Haiti early last month, are the latest examples of an increasingly urgent need to arrest the effects of climate change.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;These incidents present a real existential threat to each of us in the Caribbean, in the Pacific, and some of the other vulnerable States. It&rsquo;s not surprising therefore, that we would be at the vanguard of wanting to address this,&rdquo; she said.<br /> <br /> In tandem with that, the SG pointed to environmental action the secretariat has taken over the years with a view to addressing some of the impacts of climate change on member countries. Among them, the Langkawi Declaration on the Environment (1989), the United Nations Programme of Action on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States (1994), Port of Spain Climate Change Consensus (2009), and in Malta the Commonwealth came up with a solution which was eventually adopted by the rest of world in Paris (2015).<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Since the Commonwealth has 31 of the 39 small states in the UN, [we asked ourselves] what can we do to keep on campaigning and pushing the boundaries so that we can address this threat. So we said, &lsquo;Let&rsquo;s look at nature. How does nature respond to some of these impacts? What can we learn? Can we create a more cyclical economy? Can we make it regenerative? Can we make it viable to have sustainable projects?&rdquo; said Scotland.<br /> <br /> The baroness made reference to a power plant in Iceland that generates electricity from volcanic hot springs and where buildings are engineered to have the carbon-reducing capabilities of trees and that mimic trees by pulling carbon from the atmosphere and sinking it underground. She hopes to see large-scale replication of those and other innovations as part of the way forward.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;What I&rsquo;d love is to map the needs and come up with the best, most creative, most fast-working solutions so we can share that with our countries and say these are [some strtegies to] put in place to change and reduce the impact of climate change in a way that will regenerate and restore the environment. It&rsquo;s a big ambition but I think it&rsquo;s doable,&rdquo; she told the Observer.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We want to [get rid of] climate change as quickly as we can by developing a regenerative development model through which to promote the advancement of what is largely viable and complements, respects and restores the natural environment and I want to get it there quickly,&rdquo; Scotland reiterated.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The Commonwealth Charter gives us a mandate to support and promote sustainable development which respects and protects the environment. I have tasked this group of leading biologists, ecologists, oceanographers and authorities on sustainability and regenerative development, to help me deliver this,&rdquo; the secretary general told workshop participants.<br /> <br /> The brainstorming lab, as Scotland styles it, took place ahead of COP22 will convene in Marrakesh, Morocco November 7-18. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13401407/238364_65081_repro_w300.jpg http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13401406/238365_65083_repro_w300.jpg http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13401409/238367_65082_repro_w300.jpg Local Environment Wednesday, November 02, 2016 12:00 AM AG gives nod to Paris Agreement http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/environment/AG-gives-nod-to-Paris-Agreement_78418 The Attorney General&rsquo;s Department has given the go-ahead for Jamaica to ratify the Paris Agreement which it signed in April this year.<br /> <br /> The nod comes just ahead of the 22nd Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP22) to be held in Marrakesh November 7-18, and was revealed at a stakeholder consultation hosted by Government&rsquo;s Climate Change Division at the Courtyard Marriott last Thursday.<br /> <br /> The consultation, the division said, was to familiarise, discuss and finalise Jamaica&rsquo;s positions on climate change, including the early entry into force of the Paris Agreement, and Jamaica&rsquo;s path towards its ratification.<br /> <br /> The Paris Agreement, which was adopted in Paris, France at the UN climate conference in December 2015, is expected to enter into force on Friday, November 4 &mdash; 30 days after at least 55 parties accounting for at least 55 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions had ratified. <br /> <br /> As of last Thursday, there were 86 parties to the agreement, representing 62 per cent of global emissions.<br /> <br /> The agreement&rsquo;s central aim is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well under 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius. <br /> <br /> Jamaica&rsquo;s delegation to COP will be an 18-member team drawn from the public and private sectors.<br /> <br /> Local Environment Wednesday, November 02, 2016 12:00 AM Vermont urges water conservation http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/environment/Vermont-urges-water-conservation-_78409 MONTPELIER, Vermont (AP) &mdash; State officials are urging Vermonters to conserve water when possible as dry and drought conditions continue throughout the state.<br /> <br /> The governor&rsquo;s office says abnormally dry conditions this spring and summer have reduced water levels and may impact drinking water supplies through the fall and into the winter, despite the recent rain and snow.<br /> <br /> Vermont has set up a task force to coordinate information and response to emerging drought issues.<br /> <br /> The task force will be collecting data on water supply shortages. Residents are encouraged to report their low or dry drinking water wells to the state online. Residents are also encouraged to reduce water consumption by repairing leaking faucets, pipes and toilets; running dishwashers and laundry machines only when full; and avoiding washing cars.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13383372/236670_63583_repro_w300.jpg Local Environment Wednesday, October 26, 2016 12:00 AM Urbanisation, climate change challenges to development &ndash; Chang http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/environment/Urbanisation--climate-change-challenges-to-development---Chang_76416 The potential negative impacts of urbanisation and climate change are creating challenges to development, minister with responsibility for housing, Horace Chang has said.<br /> <br /> He warned that &ldquo;crucial infrastructure related to our energy, water supply systems, roads and buildings that house people and centres of production, are all vulnerable to natural disasters which scientists are predicting will become more frequent and catastrophic due to the efforts of climate change&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> Speaking at the opening of the Jamaica Institution of Engineers (JIE) Engineers&rsquo; Week Conference at the Knutsford Court Hotel on September 19, 2016, Minister Chang said &ldquo;there is a clear and present danger to our prosperity if we do not take steps toward creating a robust economy&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> Critical to the building of resilient communities, he said, is the quality of skills we employ. Declaring that engineers have an important role to play, Minister Chang said that a new model for economic growth is required, which includes the building of disaster risk management into infrastructure projects, and sustainable engineering which improves the quality of life while preserving the quality and availability of our natural resources.<br /> <br /> He pointed to global activity in which &ldquo;the engineering discipline is engaged in sustainable design, employing numerous initiatives to include pollution prevention, design for the environment and for recycling&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> Minister Chang said that in practicing engineering there are many examples of unsustainable practices which include water pollution from silt wash down, as well as wash down from concrete mixers; dust pollution with persons in and around construction zones; noise pollution from blasting and moving of equipment; and exhaust from machinery.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> But, he noted, as an industry there is a wealth of opportunity &ldquo;to employ green engineering practices which encompasses waste reduction, materials management, pollution prevention and product enhancement&rdquo;. These practices, he predicted, will result in a reduction, if not an elimination of the unsustainable practices.<br /> <br /> In his address at the opening of Engineers&rsquo; Week, JIE President Gary Walters said that as Jamaica takes aim to steady and ultimately grow its economy, engineers will have an important role to play. He noted that Jamaica has achieved the Caribbean region&rsquo;s highest ranking on the ease of doing business and has jumped 7 places to 64 among 189 economies worldwide, according to the latest World Bank Doing Business 2016 report. But, he predicted this will be short-lived if our infrastructure is not maintained or upgraded where necessary.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It is for this reason that the prosperity of the country may hinge on the proposed new national building code being passed into law&rdquo;, he said.<br /> <br /> Walters pointed out that currently, The Kingston and St. Andrew Building Act (1883) and Parish Councils Building Act (1908) provide the rules governing buildings in Jamaica, which means that the legal building code in Jamaica is 108 years old &mdash; crafted one year after the earthquake that destroyed Kingston in 1907. <br /> <br /> Noting that on the 27th of September 2011, the first draft of legislation to pass the new building code into law was tabled in Parliament, Mr Walters said &ldquo;The JIE wants to restate the importance of having this code enacted into law and remains prepared to participate in the process of driving it through legislation into law. The JIE echoes the comments of the ODPEM in saying that the building code is essential to ensuring that Jamaica&rsquo;s infrastructure remains and is developed to resist the devastating effects of an earthquake. How can we expect to prosper if codes contained in the existing legislation are far too out of date to be applied in modern building construction?&rdquo;<br /> <br /> At the JIE Engineers&rsquo; Week three-day conference, a number of technical presentations were made under the theme &lsquo;Engineering a Pathway to Resilience & Prosperity&rsquo;. Each day of the conference had a particular focus, beginning with energy on day one, regional infrastructure development on day two, and concluding with design and manufacturing. <br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13383371/236669_63584_repro_w300.jpg Local Environment Wednesday, October 26, 2016 12:00 AM Jade Mountain gets gold for being green http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/environment/Jade-Mountain-gets-gold-for-being-green_77654 WASHINGTON DC, USA &mdash; The US Green Building Council (USGBC) has announced that St Lucia&rsquo;s Jade Mountain resort has become the first hotel in the Caribbean to receive the coveted LEED GOLD certification status.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Achieving LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold, as Jade Mountain has done, demonstrates an exceptional level of leadership in the industry. I congratulate both the owners (Nick and Karolin Troubetzkoy) and the project team for this significant achievement,&rdquo; said Rick Fedrizzi, CEO and founding chairman of the USGBC.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;LEED certification is a tremendous tool for the hospitality industry, not only as a path to achieving operating efficiencies for property owners, but also as a way to let guests know that their accommodations have been designed to provide the most comfort and the least impact on the planet,&rdquo; added Fedrizzi.<br /> <br /> Nick Troubetzkoy, who designed and built the multiple award-winning resort which overlooks the Piton Mountains rising from the Caribbean Sea in front of Jade Mountain, said: &ldquo;The beauty of St Lucia&rsquo;s landscapes, the warmth and character of its people, and the unlimited potential to create something very special here captured my imagination. &ldquo;<br /> <br /> Troubetzkoy described Jade Mountain, artfully sculpted into the mountainside, as &ldquo;a response to almost every hotel I&rsquo;ve ever visited ... where I found myself disappointed by what I encountered&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> So he set about redesigning the basic concept of a holiday-related hotel experience. &ldquo;I wanted to create individualised spatial environments that would enable guests to forget the fact they&rsquo;re in a hotel room &mdash; and in essence to forget every preconception and to experience the psychology of a dynamic and monumental space on an intuitive and primal emotional level.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Eliminating the fourth wall in all rooms, or sanctuaries as they are known on property, gave Jade Mountain another clear distinction.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We aimed to give our guests the feeling of entering a private space fully integrated into the island&rsquo;s ecology, where they could simply relax, breathe in the air, while basking in the surroundings and enjoying a wonderful sense of calm and peace &mdash; versus being boxed into a traditional hotel room breathing recirculated, machine-processed air,&rdquo; Troubetzkoy said.<br /> <br /> His devotion to sustainable design means the resort has its own rainwater-fed water purification plant system and recycles treated sewage water, which irrigates a nursery which, in turn, propagates thousands of tropical plants for landscaping.<br /> <br /> The design, which merges the free flow of air and the free flow of water through the infinity pools and waterfalls of the sanctuaries, according to Troubetzkoy, is a direct reflection of the natural attributes of the land of St Lucia itself: &ldquo;When you combine water with air and the earth itself in this way, you unlock a profound potential for an almost magical level of enjoyment and celebration &mdash; a magic that may very well be the ultimate achievement of Jade Mountain and St Lucia.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> The Green Building Council adjudicators felt Troubetzkoy had succeeded and noted: &ldquo;This is a very impressive accomplishment for such a unique project, and we congratulate you and your team on implementing some pioneering, non-traditional approaches to the LEED prerequisites and credits.&rdquo; <br /> <br /> The US Green Building Council monitors the way buildings are designed, constructed and operated through LEED, a leading third-party verification system for sustainable structures around the world.<br /> <br /> &mdash; Bevan Springer<br /> <br />   http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13363675/235224_62289_repro_w300.jpg http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13363671/235236_62290_repro_w300.jpg Local Environmental Wednesday, October 19, 2016 2:00 AM PHOTOS: Celebrating birds http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/environment/PHOTOS--Celebrating-birds_77615 Photo 1 - Students of Port Royal Primary proudly display bird scavenger hunt cards they completed with the assistance of officers of the National Environment and Planning Agency in observance of International Migratory Bird Day, October 9.<br /> <br /> Photo 2 - This proud student of Port Royal Primary will soon be using her creative skills to bring birds to life, having received a Migratory Birds of the West Indies colouring book from the NEPA team during the recent activities for International Migratory Bird Day. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13363670/235220_62295_repro_w300.jpg http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13363673/235222_62294_repro_w300.jpg Local Environment Wednesday, October 19, 2016 2:00 AM We recycle 80 per cent &mdash; J Wray & Nephew http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/environment/We-recycle-80-per-cent---J-Wray---Nephew_77626 Local rum producer J Wray & Nephew hasn&rsquo;t always enjoyed a favourable reputation in the public sphere with regard to its environmental practices, but if recent developments are anything to go by, it&rsquo;s something the company is eager to shake.<br /> <br /> Since being acquired by Italian aperitif maker Gruppo Campari in 2012, J Wray has broadened its green footprint by either implementing or expanding on existing initiatives which it says are industry-leading. It recycles its production waste, treats wastewater before expelling it, and employs energy-saving strategies on its properties.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Eighty per cent of our solid waste is recycled,&rdquo; Jorge Gonzalez told the Jamaica Observer on a recent walk-through of the facility at 234 Spanish Town Road. <br /> <br /> That includes glass bottles, cardboard and plastic packaging, as well as domestic and trade effluent. Even wooden pallettes are repaired and reused. The only exception are bottle caps and labels.<br /> <br /> Gonzalez is the production supply chain director, which means he oversees the entire process from procuring the base raw material from the canefield, the manufacturing, through to product delivery. He knows first-hand how much waste is generated in the process. <br /> <br /> He said the company processes approximately 30 tons of cardboard, 58 tons of glass, and two tons of plastic wrapping per month.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;This reduces the solid waste we send to landfills and as a bonus we receive a monthly rebate on all recyclable waste,&rdquo; he said in reference to the cardboard and glass bottle merchants from which J Wray buys.<br /> <br /> In a previous interview with the Observer, Gonzalez said green inittiatives at the workplace are good for both the company&rsquo;s bottomline as well as its brand security.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It shows that you can be trusted as a corporate citizen if you not only comply with the laws but are, in a way, protecting your brand,&rdquo; he said then. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;It also fosters pride among employees and pride at the place you work is an important thing for us. Reducing the carbon footprint for us is the right thing to do and also it&rsquo;s a commercial message so it helps to build the bottomline,&rdquo; he explained.<br /> <br /> The wastewater treatment plant, which was built at a cost of US$7 million, has a designed capacity of 3,000 cubic metres per day and handles effluent generated at the north, south and east complexes on Spanish Town Road.<br /> <br /> The south complex at 234 Spanish Town Road has been ISO 14001:2004 since 2012. It is now seeking to upgrade to ISO 14001:2015. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13363601/235257_62297_repro_w300.jpg http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13363599/235258_62298_repro_w300.jpg http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13363602/235256_62296_repro_w300.jpg Local Environment Wednesday, October 19, 2016 12:00 AM