Small Islands, Big Impact: Climate Change in the Caribbean Strategies for getting the message out 4 December 2008 Based on a presentation prepared by CANARI for the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, UK for the UK Overseas Territories Presentation outline • The CANARI climate change programme and its partners • What are the key messages? • How will we be affected? • How can we respond to the changes? • How can we disseminate the messages? CANARI Climate change programme • Climate change and biodiversity in the insular Caribbean project (MacArthur Foundation) • Series of guidebooks, leaflets and videos on Climate change in the UK Overseas Territories (Joint Nature Conservation Committee, UK) • Capacity building of civil society (Commonwealth Foundation): – Workshop engaging civil society organisations, the media and performance artists/drama-in-education practitioners – Development of a ‘Climate change communications toolkit’ for community-based organisations • Design of a public education and outreach project to address key elements of the Caribbean Regional Climate Change Adaptation Public Education and Outreach (PEO) Strategy Key messages: Climate change is a pressing issue Photo courtesy: NASA & USGS • There have been natural and cyclical variations in the Earth’s climate in the past, but the current rate of change is faster than anything the planet has experienced before. Key messages: Climate change will have profound effects on our lives • For the Caribbean region in the 21st century, there is a fairly high level of certainty that: • Air and sea temperatures will increase; • Rainfall will change, with some regions becoming drier and others wetter; • Sea level rise will accelerate and be between 0.2 to 0.5m; • Hurricanes are likely to become more powerful. Key message: Caribbean islands have much to lose • The economies of Caribbean islands depend on a narrow range of goods or services • They have high communication and transportation costs and are vulnerable to natural hazards • Certain Caribbean ecosystems that are important to human well-being are identified as “most vulnerable” Inherent vulnerabilities + climate change = increased risk Climate change impacts in the Caribbean 1. Livelihoods - Tourism • Impacts on marine and coastal environments will affect seaside tourism in Caribbean islands • New carbon taxes and charges will increase air travel costs • Greater awareness of the impacts of air travel may affect tourists’ willingness to come to the Caribbean • Milder temperatures elsewhere may create attractive alternative destinations Climate change impacts in the Caribbean 2. Food Security • Increased sea temperature and salt water intrusion into rivers may substantially affect fisheries in Caribbean islands. • Agriculture will be affected by changing growing seasons, drought and water shortages, and increased storm intensity • Northern ‘buy local’ campaigns are altering patterns of supply and demand. Climate change impacts in the Caribbean 3. Infrastructure • Sea level rise and storms will directly affect critical infrastructure in the coastal zone such as ports, airports, houses and businesses. • Disruption from flooding and infrastructural damage also affects communications and economic and social sectors (e.g. tourism, agriculture, health care delivery) Climate change impacts in the Caribbean 4. Economic and financial impacts • Direct costs from damage to infrastructure, human settlements, crops etc. • Indirect costs from lost earnings from tourism, fisheries or loss of ecosystem services. • Hurricanes can be particularly costly: the damage from Ivan in Grenada was estimated at 200% of GDP (EC$2.4 billion). Climate Change Impacts in the Caribbean 5. Coastal and marine resources Climate Change Impacts in the Caribbean 5. Coastal and marine resources Sea level rise will mean: • coastal flooding • saltwater contamination of groundwater • coastal erosion compounded by intensifying hurricanes • potential loss of wetlands and mangroves - “coastal squeeze” Climate Change Impacts in the Caribbean 5. Coastal and marine resources (cont.) High temperatures are causing mass coral mortality from bleaching events and diseases outbreaks. This can be reduced by better management and protected areas. Other Climate Change Impacts in the Caribbean 6. Water Resources • Changes in rainfall will affect water supplies in many countries • Ground water supplies face possible threats from contamination by salt water 7. Health • Increased risk of vector-borne diseases, such as dengue Local management and climate change adaptation Management of natural resources and biodiversity at the regional, national and community level can reduce the impacts of climate change. • • • • • • Reforestation and forest conservation Watershed management Treatment of waste water Control of mosquito habitats Coastal buffer zones Protected area management Local management and climate change adaptation Rupert McKenna Clem McPherson Speyside Marine Area Community-Based Management Project Key message: Adaptation is a ‘no regrets’ strategy with immediate benefits Adaptation is an opportunity to improve: • natural resource management and physical planning • ability to deal with the natural hazards as well as the growing human-induced stresses on the environment. • Adaptive responses can be: – – – – Technological (e.g. improving coastal defences) Managerial (e.g. introducing crop rotation) Policy-based (e.g. strengthening planning regulations) Behavioural (e.g. preparing one’s home for a hurricane) Meeting Multiple Objectives though Adaptation Disaster Management Triple Dividend Climate Adaptation Biodiversity & Sustainable Development Key message: Good climate policy should adapt and mitigate. • Although Caribbean islands make a small contribution to global emissions of greenhouse gases, they can play their part in mitigation by: – enhancing energy efficiency – diversifying their energy sources – increasing reliance on non fossil fuel sources of energy – promoting climate friendly technologies – advocating collectively for the mitigation measures needed in the major industrialised countries Collectively small efforts can make a big difference • You can make a difference by: – Reducing personal vulnerability to natural hazards – Reducing energy use in transportation and in the home – Practicing good environmental habits e.g. recycling, conservation – Improving business practices e.g. clean energy, waste reduction/recycling – Advocating for implementation of national adaptation plans and sustainable development policies – Advocating for a stronger Caribbean voice in international negotiations – Informing others about climate change and what they can do Creating the ripple effect: building on Caribbean talent and culture for public education and outreach I DON’T WANNA WASH AWAY I don’t wanna wash away I don’t wanna lose another day You can’t make me float away Lose my land and all my say Seas are rising, try to reach the moon Beaches splicing, dicing, disappearing Political goons acted just like fools My land is gone so soon Temperature is rising, competing with the sun I itch, I burn, I thirst…. Using key change agents and “champions” as channels of information • media; • • • • • • youth; NGOs and CBOs; Artists and theatre-in-education professionals; sportspersons; UNFCC National Focal Points; communities that are particularly vulnerable to climate change; • extension officers (e.g. agriculture, fisheries); • school teachers Core public education and awareness strategies • Building the cadre of “champions” via facilitated dialogue with scientists • Developing a community of Artistes Weathering Climate Change – Region-wide concerts by conscious performance artists – Developing drama-in-education materials • • • • • • National climate change workshops Providing relevant information to the media Building partnerships between NGOs and the media Conducting local research, (e.g. Sandwatch) Collecting traditional knowledge (e.g. Panos) Video, television, YouTube etc.