Climate Change Report Card for the Caribbean Released

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Updated: May 16, 2017

A 16-page report card on Climate Change in the Caribbean was released recently with a view at how each nation is working at minimizing the effects of Climate Change and what remains to be done.  Belize formed a part of that report which noted that ‘recent coral bleaching events, associated with elevated temperatures, have been recorded in 1995, 1998, 2005, 2010, 2015 and 2016. The 2005 mass bleaching event coincided with the highest sea surface temperatures ever recorded and led to widespread coral mortality across the region’.  It also noted that the ‘low-lying coastal areas of Belize and offshore cayes and atolls are very vulnerable to the projected acceleration in sea-level rise. Wave overtopping and wash over can be expected to become more frequent, which will degrade fresh groundwater resources’.  When it comes to mangroves which play a key defence role against hurricanes, the report notes that much of it is being removed.  The document notes that over the last quarter-century, mangrove forests have declined by a quarter across the Caribbean, mostly due to the destruction caused by building and development along the coastal zone. However, the removal or weakening of these natural sea defences by changing land-use is making our coastline more susceptible to climate change impacts.  The report looked at several other areas including fisheries, tourism, infrastructure, corals and ocean acidification with multiple recommendations for each country.