Higher temperatures could mean economic decline — IPCCSaturday, December 03, 2016
THE world economy stands to recede if global temperatures continue to rise.
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.
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.
In Jamaica’s case, severe weather events spawned by the warming have already caused economic losses.
"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," Minister Without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation Daryl Vaz said Wednesday.
"An Inter-American Development Bank report on Jamaica’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," the minister added.
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’s provision to limit global warming to an initial 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial figures, significant residual impacts and losses are predicted.
Jamaica joined the Paris Agreement in April this year and is taking steps to have it ratified by the end of the financial year.
Vaz, who delivered the keynote address at the symposium launch Wednesday, signalled the country’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 — a first among SIDS — providing an update on the country’s greenhouse gas inventories.
"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," the minister said.
Vaz also noted that the research coming out of SIDS to inform studies on the impacts of climate change are lacking.
"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," the minister said.
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.
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.
The symposium is being staged by the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation and the University of the West Indies at the university’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.
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