CLIMATE CHANGE-BONAIRE: Uniting Against Future Adversity

Posted in the Bonaire Forum

Dr Prosfert

Kralendijk, Bonaire, Saint Eustatius and Saba

#1 Jul 15, 2007
Bonaire 6 april - Adapting to climate change in the island nations of the Caribbean, a region particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels, requires strengthening collective responses based on exchange and cooperation.
One example of joint action is the agreement signed Tuesday by Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Haiti, to create what is known as the Caribbean Biological Corridor, aimed at protecting the environment and human development.
The main challenge is to adapt to forthcoming changes, but the difficulty for science is identifying what adaptations will be necessary. "One country on its own cannot face this challenge," said Daniel van der Wilt, in support of climate change cooperation programmes.
In addition to Cuba, PRECIS participants include Jamaica, Barbados, Belize and the Caribbean Climate Change Centre (CCCC). "We are all trying to bring other countries to join in," said the expert, in whose view adaptation to climate change is urgently needed to ensure survival.
CCCC experts have also forecast that Cuba, the Cayman Islands and Central America will experience sharp seasonal contrasts, with hot, dry periods alternating with torrential rains.
According to estimates, by the middle of this century the water resources of many small islands in the Caribbean and the Pacific Ocean will have dwindled to the point that they will be insufficient to satisfy demand in the dry season.
One of the most fearsome consequences of climate change is a rise in sea level. "For our small island states, it is a very serious problem," the Dominican Republic's vice-minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Zoila González de Gutiérrez, told IPS.
With respect to the agreement signed this Tuesday by Santo Domingo, Port-au-Prince and Havana, creating the Caribbean Biological Corridor, González de Gutiérrez pointed out that her country and Haiti share the same island, which means they are "managing the same natural resources, mountains and rivers."
"Whatever happens in one country has an impact on the other," she said. The Dominican Republic and Haiti share the island of Hispaniola, or Quisqueya, its pre-Columbian name, which was the first European colony in the Americas.
The tripartite agreement aims to help Haiti to improve and preserve its environment, at the same time as poverty is being fought in the country, said Ricardo Sánchez, Latin American and Caribbean regional director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
Sánchez described the Biological Corridor as a defined geographical space which links landscapes, ecosystems and natural or modified habitats, all of which create the conditions for maintaining biological diversity, essential ecological processes, and the benefits they generate.
The Dominican Republic has a programme for adaptation to climate change which, according to González de Gutiérrez, has so far been able to assess management of water resources and the drought in the border area, and measure temperature increases and a potential rise in sea level of up to 20 centimetres in some cases.
"We have bilateral cooperation with Cuba, and in many cases we rely on the support of Cuban scientists. They have been very helpful to our researchers, who have learned to use the models and make predictions," she said.
Expert reports have warned that higher temperatures in the Caribbean region will cause more droughts, forest fires, and storms which in turn will cause more damage to the beaches and to endangered species.
The region must also prepare to deal with certain diseases, such as dengue fever and malaria, in countries where they have so far been unknown. Another danger factor is salinisation in areas under irrigation.
John Waterhouse

Kralendijk, Bonaire, Saint Eustatius and Saba

#2 Jul 15, 2007
Coral Reef in Danger!
Reef Care Curacao was founded out of concern for the (Curacao) Coral Reef. Internationally, coral reef scientists are sounding the alarm about the precarious situation of coral reefs worldwide. Besides existing and continuously increasing stress on coral reefs due to overpopulation, coastal development and industrial activities, now the coral reefs have to contend with worldwide slowly rising temperatures: the so called global warming or greenhouse effect. Biologist predict that coral reefs that have already been impacted, diminishing their resilience, will disappear completely over the next 20 to 30 years.

Jason Something

Atlanta, GA

#3 Jul 19, 2007
Yeah, what those guys said.

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