Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 3rd 2016 Contents 4 UWI TODAY -- SUNDAY 3RD JULY, 2016
consequences of climate change such as extreme weather
events, damage to the ecosystem, an increase in water-borne
diseases, and impacts on industries such as agriculture,
forestry, energy and tourism.
Professor Greene is quick to point out that steps are
being taken to prevent this from coming to pass, most
notably the Paris Agreement under the UN Framework
Convention on Climate Change which was adopted in
December 2015 by 192 countries.
"The Paris Agreement is a landmark because it
strategically allows countries to develop their policies with
the benchmark of holding the increase in global temperature
below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and
asking them to try for 1.5 degrees," he says.
He also points out that the Caribbean has advocated
such a position long before the Paris Agreement:
"It is important to note that against great resistance from
the developed world, the Caribbean Community launched
and led a campaign ahead of the 15th UN Conference of
parties in Copenhagen, 2009, under the banner '1.5 to Stay
Alive'. It was a bold campaign spearheaded by the Caribbean
Community Climate Change Centre (5Cs)."
Professor Greene said regional organisations such as
the Belize-based 5Cs and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency
Management Agency (CDEMA) in Barbados and UWI
researchers such as Professor Anthony Chen, Dr. Leonard
Nurse and Professor John Agard have made an important
contribution to the climate change issue through policy,
research and advocacy.
"I believe that over the years we have come to
understand how we must frame our options and we have
come to understand the costs of inaction," he said. " at's
very important because politicians like to know what it will
cost in GDP. I believe that we have been able to show this."
For the post Paris Agreement world, Professor Greene
emphasizes the importance of framing climate change as
an issue for all Caribbean people, one that must be dealt
"We have to be sure we treat climate change not as
something for academics and policymakers to deal with but
something that must engage the people themselves," he said.
" ey must demand their rights for reduced emissions. We
will embed that culture in the schools and parents, priests,
teachers and so on will be part of that action. We need this
to happen from the ground. is has to be a collaborative,
shared responsibility. at has to be the next step."
More than a hundred sta members from the St. Augustine Campus who were
to have retired during the period from January 2015 to December 2016, were
treated to an appreciation ceremony on June 17 at the Teaching and Learning
Complex. A er the recognition function, where tokens were presented, guests
It was an emotional moment for the University Director of Marketing and
Communications, Dr. Dawn-Marie De Four-Gill, as she wished Mrs Marion
Khan a happy retirement. Marion had been the senior secretary for years at
M&C, and is one of the many faces that will be sorely missed at the Campus.
We wish to join the sentiments of gratitude and appreciation to our colleagues
and to wish them a hearty period of retirement.
When it comes to climate change, the Caribbean is in a
precarious position. Our proximity and dependence on the
sea makes us particularly vulnerable to rising temperatures.
Yet as a region we are not major contributors to climate
change and hold no sway over those that have the most
detrimental impact on the environment. On the surface
it seems a position of powerlessness in a scenario where
power is crucial. But despite our constraints, the Caribbean
has in fact shown leadership in its response to the threat of
a warming world.
"We must recognise that over the years some of the
institutions have been doing solid policy research, scienti c
research and advocacy," says Professor Emeritus Edward
Professor Greene, the United Nations Secretary-
General's Special Envoy for HIV in the Caribbean, was in
Trinidad to lecture on "Climate Change: e Future of the
Caribbean" as part of the UWI Distinguished Lecture Series.
Speaking at the Teaching and Learning Complex at St.
Augustine, he looked at the threat climate change posed to
the region, and the work that has been done and that needs
to be done to mitigate its e ects and adapt to the emerging
"We have a fragile window of opportunity," Professor
Greene says, speaking to UWI Today at the University Inn
a few hours before his presentation. "If we don't act within
ten years -- according to scenarios done by the Stockholm
Institute for Climate Change and supported by others -- the
cost for handling climate change would spiral by about 55%
It's a warning but not delivered in a dire tone. e
professor is in fact quite upbeat, pleasant and gentlemanly
in that old school West Indian way. He is optimistic and
focuses on what has gone right in the Caribbean's response
to climate change and o ering a blueprint for the future.
He does not deny, however, the severity of the threat.
Scientists estimate that the planet has heated up by 1.7
degrees Fahrenheit since 1880. The heat accumulating
because of human emissions is roughly the equivalent
of 400,000 times the atomic bomb that was dropped on
Hiroshima -- every day.
If these emissions continue unchecked they could make
temperatures rise past 8 degrees Fahrenheit, which would
cause a catastrophic rise in sea levels. Low-lying countries
such as Guyana, Belize and Suriname and many coastal
areas of islands could be devastated. is is apart from other Professor Emeritus Edward Greene speaking at his lecture on
"Climate Change: e Future of the Caribbean." PHOTO: ANEEL KARIM
Strength in Numbers
Prof Greene advocates for island power in the ght against climate change
BY JOEL HENRY
TO OUR COLLEAGUES!
PHOTO: ANEEL KARIM
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