Climate change was brought into focus as part of this year’s budget presentation.
As many of us know, Governor General, Her Excellency Dame Pearlette Louisy presented the annual throne speech to the House of Parliament and the citizens of Saint Lucia on Tuesday April 25. As one of the concerns of ‘Building a New Saint Lucia’, climate change made the list of topics covered.
Over the past few years climate change has remained one of the world’s dominant challenges. Climate change, also known as global warming, is a long-term change in the earth’s climate, particularly a change due to an increase in the average atmospheric temperature.
The primary cause of climate change is human: the increased burning of fossil fuels and resulting greenhouse gas emissions. This has caused the Earth’s temperature to rise and the atmosphere has trapped heat radiating from the earth to space; certain gases in the atmosphere prevent heat from escaping.
The impacts of global warming are: droughts, wildfires, floods, heatwaves, forceful hurricanes and typhoons, reduced water supplies, cut-downs on agricultural yields, health concerns and insect outbreaks. Maybe you’ve picked up on the signs of global warming or perhaps haven’t noticed them as yet.
With all of that said, it was certainly noteworthy that the island’s Governor General made a point of highlighting the very serious issue of climate change. It is also worth noting that here in the Caribbean, the process of manufacturing electricity by power companies employs an extensive amount of fossil fuels causing them to be an immense contributor to climate change throughout the region.
Though the Caribbean islands aren’t considered to be the leading cause of greenhouse gases compared to industrialised countries that play a major role in producing greenhouse gases, developing islands tend to feel the burden of the global warming impacts, especially those that stem from the rise in sea levels. For that reason, it is critical for the developing Caribbean islands to monitor as well as understand these changes in climate that the islands are especially vulnerable to,
with well-researched challenges in adapting to these changes.
According to research, Saint Lucia’s concerns for climate change impacts are: coastal resources, agriculture, fisheries, forestry, terrestrial resources, human settlements, and resources for fresh water, health and tourism.
A summary of what the Governor General said during her speech under the topic of climate change and how the government will work towards ‘Building a New Saint Lucia’: “Government will work toward meeting the targets outlined in Saint Lucia’s Nationally Determined Contribution under the 2015 Paris agreement. These targets include significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions through a transition to renewable energy and increased energy efficiency.”
As part of this year’s throne speech, the Governor General also gave the assurance that particular emphasis would be placed on securing climate financing from various sources.