News
July 20, 2010
Climate Change is real

Climate change is a real phenomenon and if the world continues on the path on which it is going the situation is going to get bad.{{more}}

Dr. Chris Busch, Director of Policy at the Centre for Resource Solutions, issued this warning during an exclusive interview with SEARCHLIGHT.

“There are some people who are not digging into the science, but it is settled, global warming has been proven in the lab,” Busch explained.

He said stabilising carbon dioxide emissions is crucial because once this is emitted it continues to warm the planet for as long as a century.

According to the 2007 Fourth Assessment Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), global surface temperature increased by 0.18 ° Celsius during the 20th century. Other reports have suggested that the temperature increase worldwide was caused by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases, which results from human activity.

Busch said therefore the answer is perhaps very simple in that if the activities of the larger, more industrialised nations continue as they currently are, the future of humanity looks bleak.

He explained that even though the Caribbean’s emission of greenhouse gases accounts for a small fraction of the total, there are dire consequences for the region.

Busch said higher temperatures translate into a number of problems for the Caribbean including the threat of flooding of low lying and coastal areas, increased intensity of hurricanes and storms, prolonged droughts, potential threats to public health and the depletion of coral reefs , known as ‘bleaching’. He noted that diminished fish supplies is another likely effect.

“Global warming is something that affects all aspects of our society,” Busch told SEARCHLIGHT, adding that everyone has a part to play in combating the effects of the problem.

“We shouldn’t throw up our hands and say that we can’t do anything,” he contended, noting that if anything else the exorbitant rates that Vincentians pay for energy and the effects of the recent drought should act as catalysts in changing attitudes.

He was clear on the point that the United States was still a long way from being a model nation in combating the issue of global warming and climate change.

Busch was, however, confident that education has the potential of changing lifestyles.

Proper education on energy efficiency and disaster preparedness were just two examples of how knowledge has the potential of assisting persons in adapting to change.

Busch highlighted the role of government in changing attitudes.

He suggested that the government invest in renewable sources of energy as opposed to the use of fossil fuels, offering tax incentives to business houses that implement initiatives in cleaning the environment and changing the building code to incorporate designs for energy efficient building designs, as some measures that could be introduced.

He noted that there was a similar role for the business community in the process.

“They too should be opened to change and recognize that they are only going to prosper if the people of St Vincent prosper,” Busch explained.

These included creating avenues where the public can benefit from activities which promote environmental awareness.

He spoke of an initiative taken in his native California where persons can obtain financial assistance towards the purchase of solar panels. He stated that there is a possibility of such programmes in the Caribbean.

Nevertheless, while the future may look bleak and some developed nations are reluctant to do anything about their carbon emissions, Busch remains upbeat.

The environmental economist believes that things will get better, but it is a matter of all of humanity redoubling their efforts.

“It’s a challenge, but there is still reason to be hopeful,” he said. (DD)