Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 14th 2016 Contents JANUARY 14 • 2016 www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
CLIMATE | BG19
Funding to address the finan-
cial flows needed for adap-
tation and mitigation of cli-
mate change remains an issue
of concern for the Caribbean.
The region s leaders say developed coun-
tries should continue to take the lead in
mobilising climate finance from a wide vari-
ety of sources to prevent disaster to these
vulnerable island states.
Additionally, the Secretary General of the
Caribbean Community and Common Mar-
ket, (Caricom), Ambassador Irwin LaRocque,
said there ought to be transparency in terms
of the commitments countries make.
"And I would hope that the commitments
that the developed countries have made to
provide financing are commitments that
they will honour," LaRocque told IPS. "And
I dare add that such commitments to provide
financing should not be tied up in all the
bureaucratic maneuverings to access these
"We also feel very, very strongly that the
vulnerability that our countries exhibit
should be a major criteria for accessing those
resources and not per capita income,"
The climate change agreement signed in
Paris in December recognised the importance
of averting, minimising and addressing loss
and damage associated with the adverse
effects of climate change, including extreme
With climate change already affecting the
region, St Lucia s Prime Minister Dr Kenny
Anthony is concerned that there is still a
gap between what the politicians are saying
on the issue and what the region s people
"There are a lot of people in the Caribbean
who have not understood the danger that
these islands face. It is true that they have
experienced adverse weather systems but
they have not translated that experience
into understanding that there is a change
in the weather systems, the weather patterns
because of climatic factors, so we have to
translate that to out ordinary people," Antho-
"There is one hopeful sign though, and
that is to say the way the young people and
the artists of the Caribbean have come
together to help us to consolidate our posi-
tion and to shape our views. Never before
have I seen such a great partnership between
civil society and the governments. This is
an issue that has united us.
Ambassador Albert Ramdin, the adviser
to the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Suriname
said better communication is needed to
address the gap spoken of by Prime Minister
"We need to communicate better with
the people, with our population the impact
of climate change. It cannot be that it is an
issue that is distant from their lives," he told
"It has to be conveyed that it is about
their life and their future. So communication
at the national level is critically important."
Detailed climate modelling projections
for the Caribbean predict an increase in
average atmospheric temperature; reduced
average annual rainfall; increased sea surface
temperatures; and the potential for an
increase in the intensity of tropical storms.
Climate change is a serious threat to all
Caribbean nations even though they have
a low contribution to global greenhouse gas
(GHG) emissions Due to their size and loca-
tion, the Caribbean islands are especially
susceptible to the impacts of climate change.
As developing economies, according to the
Inter-American Development Bank (IDB),
they are relying on various sectors that are
vulnerable to the climate, like tourism, agri-
culture and fishing. Caribbean nations would
be detrimentally affected by a continued
rise in sea levels, changes in rainfall and
temperatures, and increasing weather
changes and natural disasters highlighted
by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
The cost of inaction to the Caribbean
could be very high, says the IDB. It says
projections indicate that losses could total
US$22 billion annually by 2050. That figure
is approximately 10 per cent of the current
Caribbean economy. Climate change
resources, it says, could help the region
reduce fossil fuel dependence and exposure
to price variability and mitigate climate
The erosion of wealth among the world s middle
class due to climate change is a threat to economic
and social stability which could spur its 1 billion
members to push for action on global warming, Swiss
bank UBS Group AG said.
In a study of middle-class consumption in 215
cities around the world, UBS analysts found spending
priorities were noticeably different in cities most at
risk from climate change such as Los Angeles, Tokyo
In those top-risk cities, the middle class spent
between 0.6 and 0.8 percent more on housing com-
pared to the national average, and less on luxuries,
entertainment and durable goods.
The report said middle-class households are already
changing their lifestyles in the cities most exposed
to hotter temperatures, rising sea levels and extreme
weather such as storms and floods.
"More fear, less fun is how we might sum it up,"
said the study https://www.ubs.com/microsites/cli-
In places with high risks of climate-related shocks,
people spend more on the upkeep of their properties.
And homes may decrease in value if certain places
become less appealing to live, eating into wealth, the
Efforts to adapt to changing climate conditions---
which remain modest and sporadic among the middle
class---can also bring new costs.
In cities that suffer extreme heat, the middle-class
is increasingly laying out for air conditioning, the
But some types of adaptation can create "a negative
feedback loop", it warned. For instance, higher demand
for air conditioning requires more electricity, which
can lead to grid failure and increased planet-warming
In addition, inadequate infrastructure and healthcare
systems increase the need to rely on emergency gov-
ernment support when disasters strike. "In our assess-
ment this is likely, even in the richest of countries,"
the report said.
The largest cities are home to nearly a quarter of
the global population and generate around half of
global GDP, the report said.
Most of the global middle class lives in Southeast
Asia, the region that has experienced the fastest urban
population growth in recent years, it noted.
But 91 per cent of weather-related losses in Asia
are uninsured, it added, compared with 32 per cent
in the United States, which had the highest level of
insurance penetration in the study sample.
The report also said climate-driven population
shifts into urban areas have the potential to create
and exacerbate conflict, as in Syria.
In the course of five years of drought starting in
2006, Syria lost 85 per cent of its livestock and saw
crop production plummet, child malnutrition worsen
and the subsequent migration of 1.5 million residents
from rural to urban areas.
"These conditions led to protests, which ultimately
escalated into civil war," Zurich-based UBS said in
However, the political and social clout of middle-
class populations means their vulnerability to climate
change risks should translate into pressure on gov-
ernments to tackle global warming, the report noted.
"The middle class has two important qualities that
make them critically important to the conversation
about climate change: substantial assets and political
influence," said Paul Donovan, global economist and
managing director at UBS Investment Bank. "If the
effects of climate change significantly hurt the middle
class, the inevitable reaction should in turn elicit a
strong response from policy makers." Reuters
Regional leaders: Cash
for climate change please
means more fear,
less fun for global
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