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Jul 8, 2019

Impact Workshop on IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate

A regional meeting of experts on climate change is taking place in Belize City. Over a hundred scientists from all over the world have gathered the relevant scientific data which shows that like the rest of the world, the Caribbean is being affected. There is erosion, sea level and coral beaching that in turn can affect the fishing industry which is vital for the survival of Caribbean economies.   News Five’s Hipolito Novelo has a report on the meeting which precedes a UN conference.


Hipolito Novelo reporting

Produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change the ‘Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate’, is being circulated to world governments in the final stage of preparation before the IPCC considers the report for approval in September. The report assesses the latest scientific literature addressing climate change. It is currently embargoed as countries like Belize review the data. Larger bodies such as the Caribbean Community will also meet to discuss the data. That meeting was held today and was facilitated by Carlos Fuller, International Liaison Officer for the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre. This year the group is discussing two reports.


Carlos Fuller

Carlos Fuller, International Liaison Officer, CCCCC

“One on land and another one on oceans.  We have brought all the CARICOM members states together to look at the government process on how you will be reviewing this special report. The report itself is still embargoed. We are now getting into it to see what it says. It is addressing the issue of the Caribbean co we can provide comments to the authors.”


This process has involved more than one hundred scientists from over thirty countries who have been assessing the latest scientific knowledge about the physical science basis and impacts of climate change. Fuller says that over the years, climate change has greatly impacted the Caribbean.


Carlos Fuller

“The concerns of the Caribbean need to be in there. We are seeing significant sea level rise now at a rate of five millimetre per year. We are seeing more erosion. We are seeing our coastal aquifers being salinised as salt water intrusion goes into aquifers. We are seeing much more bleaching of our coral reefs and indeed if temperature rise above one point five degrees Celsius towards two degrees Celsius, coral bleaching will actually will become the dominant issue and our reef will not be able to survive. That could be the death of our fishing industry totally in the Caribbean as the fish will have to migrate to cooler waters. We are seeing a lot of acidification of our oceans. Our seas are getting too acidic and so we will find that our conchs, lobsters and our shrimps; the shells get weaker and weaker. All aspects of it are under threat now.”


Small states such as Belize are already being negatively affected the most by climate change.


Carlos Fuller

“We are the custodians of the second largest barrier reef in the world, a UNSECO Heritage site. Our industry, economy depends on our tourism industry. If we have a coral reef which that is dead, if it does not have any fish. Indeed why tourist would come to Belize so this is ocean report is of vital importance to us.  If we were to have major erosions and if we lose our fishing as a means of a major aspect of our protein, it means that people are going to move further inland. It means that we will have more land to put in to agriculture and we are already seeing the migration from other countries into our area so indeed pressures will also build up for us yes we have flexibility but even that is going to be stretched.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Hipolito Novelo.

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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