Stronger Hurricanes Could Be In The Forecast
Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
February 24, 2011 (SKNIS)
The March 08 and 09 conference on climate change and ethical principles slated for St. Kitts and Nevis already has the attention of Regional experts, but officials stress that the Caribbean’s populace should also take note of this important forum.
Head of the local Steering and Implementation Committee for the event co-sponsored by the local Government and UNESCO, Dr. Leighton Naraine, told SKNIS that a large part of the adaptation strategy discussions will focus on the economic aspects of the phenomenon.
“Climate change affects everyone,” he said. “All economic activities; the entire citizenry; the policy makers; national security all aspects of our society are affected, and therefore, everyone needs to be concerned about this type of conference.”
The effects of climate change are evident throughout the region. The intensity of hurricanes is one such example mentioned by experts. According to weather.com, between the period 1966 to 2009, there were an average 11 named storms of which six became hurricanes with two being major hurricanes i.e. Category 3 or above. The 2010 season produced 19 name storms with 12 hurricanes of which five were major.
Dr. Naraine also referenced the drought conditions experienced by several Caribbean countries last year – of which Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica, in particular, were hard hit – along with the ongoing concerns of soil and coastal erosion and said these natural hazards pose a threat to local societies.
“We’re looking at extremes of weather effects or weather phenomena in which droughts become more extreme, floods become more extreme, and we also have changes in sea level that can potentially inundate coastlines and low lying areas,” he stated. “That is happening already, and we expect it to intensify.”
With the continued degradation of the environment, Dr. Naraine explained that economic activity will be increasingly challenging and the negative impact will spread to all sectors due to cross linkages.
The acting Vice Principal of the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College (CFBC) voiced his opinion that young people, in particular, need to be aware of the implications of climate change and the strategies to adapt to the growing danger. Dr. Naraine opined that he fully supports having climate change adaptation included in the curriculum of schools, as it is the youth population that will be the beneficiaries of what takes place today. The earlier, the better, he stressed.
“There are also other climate change programmes that we have that are community-based,” said Dr. Naraine. “Of course with students being involved in these kinds of affairs, it will eventually spread to the wider community, because they (CFBC students) actually come from all over the country and all the primary schools and secondary schools have good coverage.”
He added that similar programmes are done in collaboration with the St. Christopher National Trust and is pleased with the attendance record.