By Damian Wilson
"Well as an island country the TCI and other nations are incredibly vulnerable."
Those were the words of Kathleen Wood, director of the Department of Maritime and Environmental Affairs (DEMA), responding in a telephone interview to being asked about the impact of global warming on the TCI.
Wood went on to say that we in the TCI have little ability to actual alter the course of climate change ourselves and that the best thing we could do was to start making efforts to adapt to climate change now.
DEMA was contacted for a response to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), 'Summary for Policymakers' assessment report, which was approved and published last week by member governments of the IPCC in Stockholm, Sweden. The IPCC, established in 1988, is the world leading international body for the assessment of climate change.
The IPCC report states that it is 95% certain that human activities, such as the burning of fossil fuels, are the dominant cause of global warming. The report further states that the current levelling off in global average temperatures seen over the last decade or so will not last and that global average temperatures will continue to climb again, creating more extreme weather but with much hotter periods than periods of cool weather. Scientists also expect that sea temperatures will rise faster than those on land and that sea levels will rise by about 82cm by the end of this century.
Wood went on to say that sea level rise is inevitable and that our long term planning should be based on that reality.
"Anything that's build on coastal or low lying area will be subject to inundation. We already see that now when we have seasonal storms and hurricanes, we have issues with flooding and so forth," she said. "...TCI certainly needs to keep that in mind, that any areas that are low lying, or in coastal areas, are going to be vulnerable."
When asked about plans that the TCI may have to combat climate change or invest in this area, Wood said that, because the TCI is so small in population size and in terms of carbon emissions, we cannot ourselves stop climate change but we can prepare for and adapt to it and we must work together to make our voices heard on the global stage.
Attempts were made to contact the Department for Disaster Management and Emergencies (DDME) about the TCI's plans for climate change adaption and its work with regional partners to make the TCI's presence felt on this matter but officials at the DDME could not be reached due to the public holiday. However, the TCI has been working with regional partners for many years to voice its concerns, not only about climate change, but also on many other issues that impact us as a nation.
The issue of global warming has been a hotly debated and contentious issue for decades now, with many scientists refuting claims that global warming is mainly manmade. This recent report by the IPCC is no different in that respect, as many climate change scientist have already come out against the IPCC's findings and some science journalist also calling climate change assessment "junk science". Many global politicians and energy industry representatives over the years have said that the idea of manmade global warming is simply not true.
Wood said, "...this issue should not be an economic or political issue, but a scientific issue that needs to be solved and we all need to work together to find a solution to it."