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Apr 26, 2017

The Push to Promote Climate Change

A climate change awareness campaign was launched today following a ‘Knowledge, Attitude and Practices’ study across Belize, which indicated that more needs to be done to sensitize the public about the effects of climate change, as well the practices. The programme is in line with the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, to keep global warming below two degrees Celsius and to drive efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to one point five degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. News Five’s Andrea Polanco attended today’s launch.

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

2016 was one of the warmest years on record for the Caribbean region.  Among the growing climate and weather related anomalies,  the region also experienced the highest hurricane activity between 2005-2008; as well as the highest rise is sea surface temperatures and widespread severe drought from 2009-2011. These are just a few of the consequences of the climate change – and have cost the Caribbean millions in losses and damage; and even lives. Todaythe region remains vulnerable. So, a new campaign “Feel the Change” is being implemented across eight Caribbean nations, including Belize.

 

Ann Gordon

Ann Gordon, National Coordinator, National Climate Change Office

“Studies have shown that for the wider Caribbean coral reefs provide between three point one and four point six billion U.S. dollars per year in goods and services. Given the importance of the region’s natural resources, the protection and management of these resources from climate change and human impacts is a pressing issue. Rising sea levels; rising sea surface temperatures; increasing drought and flooding events; changing rainfall patterns; increase in frequency and intensity of hurricanes therefore pose a serious threat to lives and livelihoods; especially to the most vulnerable and poorest among us.”

 

The campaign seeks to highlight how the climate is changing and encourages communities to address climate change. This was necessary because a KAP study carried out in Belize showed that there was limited knowledge of climate change among communities.

 

Ann Gordon

“As we seek to promote greater awareness by sharing knowledge, we hope to engender concrete actions from and in communities across this country through environmental protection. We also hope to have a society that is well informed and proactive about climate change. Each one of us as individuals and families can take action and be a part of the change. Communities were encouraged to be appreciative of the fact that personal actions such as conserving our forest and mangroves; conserving electricity to minimize fossil fuel usage; reducing waste by using reusable products instead of disposable ones are all a part of the things that we can participate in.”

 

The conversation of climate change has almost always included resiliency and today specialist Keith Nichols explains why we cannot achieve it, but must still work towards it.

 

Keith Nichols

Dr. Keith Nichols, Project Development Specialist, CCCCC

“One of the things we always speak about is building resilience, but we will always know that we would never achieve resilience. That goal post is always shifting as we deal with the impacts of climate change and climate variability. That goal post is always in the distance and no matter what we do today we will always be adjusting to changing conditions. We will never achieve resilience but we need to work towards it.”

 

As a part of the awareness, the Japan-Caribbean Climate Change Partnership is hosting a two-day training with journalists from the eight participating Caribbean countries. Journalists were tasked with making climate change an engaging conversation in the news and media.

 

Karen Bernard

Karen Bernard, Deputy Resident Representative, U.N.D.P.

“One of the very important links as you all would know is making that Science intelligible and relevant for our fellow citizens’ for everyone. So, that is the important work that you are doing in this workshop. And I think that is a very critical task for enabling all of us to really deal with climate change.”

 

Dr. Keith Nichols

“Where is the discussion following those kind of events on the impact of climate change; climate variability on our lives? And what we need to do to prevent those kinds of recurrences? We blame climate change for everything and that is a problem. We exacerbate the impacts of climate change to climate variability.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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