Call for climate change focus
University of the West Indies scientist Dr John Charlery has suggested that the issue of climate change must be kept on the front burner.
Charlery is currently running the climate change modelling laboratory at the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus, and is engaged in research that involves simulating the climate for the next 100 years under different sociological, economical and physical scenarios.
Speaking yesterday as a panellist in a discussion on Climate Change And The Environment organised by the UWI Cave Hill Faculty of Law, Charlery said for too long climate change had been regarded as “something out there.”
“Climate change is not just temperature going up or sea levels rising, it goes way beyond that,” he said, explaining that if greenhouse gases within the atmosphere continued to grow, then the heat being trapped would translate into higher temperatures.
He noted internationally there were people with a vested interest in dispelling claims associated with the theory of climate change but he said: “We need to understand that things are changing and the changing which is taking place right now may involve certain things that we may not like very much.”
Charlery maintained the atmospheric envelope had been changing and while he believed some people were likely to dismiss the idea, he argued that failing to pay attention to the whole atmospheric system and to plan for the impact of greenhouse gases would be folly.
“Our focus here at the University is we want to get good science for the Caribbean, for Barbados by extension, and we want to be able to get that good science to produce information that can be fed into policies, proper mitigation and adaptation practices,” Charlery said.
Other panellists were Dr Adrian Cashman, senior UWI Cave Hill lecturer in water resource management; attorney-at-law Alana Lancaster, a teacher of environmental science in the Faculty of Law and Dr Isabelle Gouirand, lecturer in applied sciences.
In his presentation Cashman sought to show the relevance in the application of the science and research to human health, pointing out there were implications for areas beyond the laboratory, while Lancaster raised some issues related to likely legal ramifications.
The discussion was moderated by Leslie Walcott of the Faculty of Law. (GC)