Earth is in the throes of multiple environmental crises, with climate change and the loss of biodiversity the most pressing.
The urgency to confront the two challenges has been marked by policies that tackle the issues separately.
Now, a report by a team of scientists has warned that success on either front is hinged on a combined approach to the dual crises.
Commonwealth countries, including those in the Caribbean, continue to push for more ambition, following reports that a few very influential parties have stymied efforts to respond to the climate emergency.
“Special reports come to address issues that need deeper understanding and deeper research,” Dr James Kairo, one of the lead authors of the ‘Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate
,’ a special report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), told IPS.
The Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley tells IPS her patience is running thin, as she challenges the world to tackle the climate crisis.
Warnings of strong winds, high waves and reduced visibility along the East African coastline are increasingly common.
But local fisher folk like Ali Sombo from Kwale County, situated along Kenya's Indian Ocean Coastline, don't always heed the warnings by the Kenya Meteorological Department (KMD) to stay clear of the open sea during rough waters.
Expectations are high, perhaps too high, as the 14th Conference of the Parties (CoP 14) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), now into the third day of its two-week session, is being held outside the smog-filled Indian capital of New Delhi.
The villagers living on the foothills of Mount Kenya have a belief: If they burn the forest, the rains will come.
Kenya’s getting hotter. Much hotter than the 1.5˚C increase that has been deemed acceptable by global leaders, and it is too hot for livestock, wildlife and plants to survive. Thousands of households, dependent on farming and livestock, are at risk too.
In recent years Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries have experienced escalated climate change impacts from hurricanes, tropical storms and other weather-related events thanks to global warming of 1.0 ° Celsius (C) above pre-industrial levels. And it has had adverse effects on particularly vulnerable countries and communities.
From expansive evergreen forests to lush tropical forests, the Earth’s forests are disappearing on a massive scale. While deforestation poses a significant problem to the environment and climate, trees also offer a solution.
An African delegation is in the Polish city of Katowice to join 30,000 delegates and thousands others from almost 200 countries attending the 4th edition of what has come to be known as annual climate change negotiation conferences organised under the auspices of the United Nations.
Although their contribution to global warming is negligible, Caribbean nations are bearing the brunt of its impact. Climate phenomena are so devastating that countries are beginning to prepare not so much to adapt to the new reality, but to get their economies back on their feet periodically.
The release of a groundbreaking report has left the international community reeling over very real, intensified impacts of climate change which will hit home sooner rather than later. So what now?
“This season, the month of May was particularly hot and dry,” says Leo De Jong, a commercial farmer in Zeewolde, in Flevopolder, the Netherlands. Flevopolder is in the province of Flevoland, the largest site of land reclamation in the world. Here a hectare of land costs up to 100,000 Euros. “At the moment, we are spending between 20,000 and 25,000 Euros per week on irrigation.”
In one of Belize’s forest reserves in the Maya Golden Landscape, a group of farmers is working with non-governmental organisations to mitigate and build resilience to climate change with a unique agroforestry project.
Caribbean scientists say fishermen are already seeing the effects of climate change, so for a dozen or so years they’ve been designing systems and strategies to reduce the impacts on the industry.
Caribbean Community (Caricom) states are in the process of formulating an energy efficiency building code for the region that would help reduce CO2 emissions, but implementation of the code may depend heavily on moral suasion for its success.
There were surprised gasps when University of the West Indies (UWI) Professor John Agard told journalists at an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) meeting in late November 2016 that mosquitoes were not only living longer, but were “breeding in septic tanks underground”.
A few dozen metres from the Caribbean beach of Puerto Vargas, where you can barely see the white foam of the waves breaking offshore, is the coral reef that is the central figure of the ocean front of the Cahuita National Park in Costa Rica.
On Nov. 30 last year, a new high-performance ‘Super Computer’ was installed at the University of the West Indies (UWI) during climate change week. Dubbed SPARKS - short for the Scientific Platform for Applied Research and Knowledge Sharing - the computer is already churning out the ‘big data’ Caribbean small island states (SIDS) need to accurately forecast and mitigate the effects of climate change on the region.