Professor Michael Taylor, Director of the Climate Studies Group
There is an ominous warning about the possible economic fallout for Jamaica due to changes in the climate, as outlined in the latest United Nations report on the issue.
Professor Michael Taylor, Director of the Climate Studies Group and Dean in the Faculty of Science and Technology at the UWI Mona, has shared worrying information on the implications for oil exploration and energy use.
In its 700 page report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that the world has only 12 years to make massive changes to limit global warming to moderate levels, or there would be catastrophic consequences.
This requires radical changes in transportation, energy use, and building infrastructure, in addition to reducing current coal consumption by one-third.
But with oil exploration being an emerging activity for Jamaica, and with fossil fuel also holding potential economic benefits, there could be a fallout if conditions are not improved globally.
Professor Taylor, who shared his outlook Monday while speaking on RJR's Beyond The Headlines, is recommending that special planning be done to avoid economic losses.
"As we now plan for the future, we must plan for the future bearing in mind this goal of one and a half degrees by the end of this century; and so our oil exploration, what we premise energy on, has to be something that we think about seriously," he urged.
The report also highlights the potential harm for agriculture and related industries, in addition to the risk of more intense natural disasters.
"It lays out some of the significant threats at one and a half degrees and worse at two degree... These are the sea level rise threats, the more intense hurricanes...the challenges for water, the challenges for livelihoods that are linked to agriculture and to the coasts, the challenges for natural resources, coral reefs..."
Professor Taylor indicated that small countries such as Jamaica remain extremely vulnerable in this regard, so the issue of rising temperatures is troubling.