T&T’s Civil Society Boosts Capacity to Communicate Climate Change


Photo credit: BHP Biliton Trinidad and Tobago Photo credit: BHP Biliton Trinidad and Tobago

As the Caribbean is in the midst of yet another period of drought, we are reminded of the harsh reality that urgent action is needed to address climate change.  Civil society organisations (CSOs) are poised to play a key role in enhancing our understanding about what is climate change, how it will affect us and what we can do.  On March 16-17, representatives from five CSOs in Trinidad and Tobago participated in a two-day workshop designed to enhance their capacity for effective communication about climate change.

The five CSOs at the workshop were the Caribbean Youth Environment Network Trinidad and Tobago Chapter (CYENTT), the Environmental Research Institute Charlotteville (ERIC), Environment Tobago (ET), the Fondes Amandes Community Reforestation Project (FACRP), and the Turtle Village Trust (TVT).  These organisations are already conducting important education and awareness programmes, for example targeting schools and youth.  They also…

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Climate Change is making small islands more arid. What does this mean for food and water security?


Climate Change is Drying up Small Islands, Study Finds Photo Credit: Getty Images

A new study predicts that 73% of islands will become substantially more arid by mid century, up from an estimate of 50 percent.

From the Caribbean to Easter Island to Hawaii, a majority of islands are facing a risk of drying up due to climate change. New research estimates that the small islands in the Caribbean, Pacific and Atlantic will become substantially more arid by mid century.

Previous analysis suggested that almost half of all small islands will become drier with the rising temperatures and increased water evaporation, but the latest research predicts that the ratio is much higher than initially estimated. Almost 73% of islands are at risk of drying out, meaning local residents are likely to face increased freshwater scarcity, less agricultural production, vegetation and wildlife and threats to infrastructure that maintains the unique ecosystems of those islands.

“Islands are already dealing with sea…

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Stunning Snapshot of Caribbean Coral Reefs from Space


See pic: Beautiful snapshot of Caribbean coral reefs from space

Tim Kopra, NASA astronaut, yet again mesmerized his followers with his latest tweet of a beautiful image of Caribbean coral reefs from space.

Coral reefs are the main victims of sudden climate change. They are vanishing at an alarming rate due to ocean acidification and global warming.

Being a guardian of the marine ecosystem, they provide protective shelter for different species of fish and regulate the balance of carbon dioxide in the ocean.

But the future is not looking bright for this diverse underwater ecosystem. Many environmentalists fear that these beautiful coral reefs could vanish in under a generation.

The picture shared by Tim Kopra should therefore not only offer great aesthetic pleasure, but also compel us to save the coral cover as a matter of urgency.


Credit: Zee News - edited by CC for accuracy.

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European Commission and World Bank Sign Agreement on Catastrophe Risk Insurance for Caribbean and Central American countries


European Union contributes €14 million to Multi-Donor Trust Fund to facilitate access by Central American countries and the DR to insurance facility.

The European Commission and the World Bank signed today a Euro 14 million agreement to be executed by the Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) to facilitate access to low cost, high quality catastrophe risk insurance for the governments of Central American countries and the Dominican Republic.

This contribution will support these countries become formal members of CCRIF SPC, formerly the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility, a multi-country program that allows its current 17 members to pool risk and access disaster insurance coverage at low cost, and better manage and finance disaster risk.

Today’s agreement was signed by Neven Mimica, European Union Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, and Jorge Familiar, World Bank Vice President for Latin America and the Caribbean. Milo Pearson, Chairman of CCRIF SPC.

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Hillary the Hardheaded Hawk

Bracing Views

hillary henry Birds of a feather …

W.J. Astore

In a lengthy article (April 21st) at the “liberal” New York Times, “How Hillary Clinton Became a Hawk,” Hillary is variously described as “aggressive,” “tough,” a “military wonk” who’s “more muscular” than President Obama when it comes to advocating for the use of force.  Noted for her “pugnacity” and “hardheadedness,” Hillary is praised for her close relationships with U.S. generals, to include David Petraeus and Stanley McChrystal.  Indeed, the article highlights the fact that Hillary is sometimes more aggressive in advocating for military force than the generals she confers with.  Nevertheless, or rather because of this, the generals apparently like Hillary.  They really like her!

What are we to make of this puff piece that praises Hillary the Hawk?  Obviously, with Hillary’s victory in New York and her forthcoming, now nearly inevitable nomination as the Democratic candidate for president, Hillary…

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Landmark Paris Agreement on Climate Change Signed Today


Credit: The 5Cs Credit: The 5Cs

About 170 countries gathered at the United Nations for a ceremonial signing of the landmark Paris agreement on Friday, in a powerful display of global efforts to fight climate change.

A dozen countries – mainly the small island states at risk of being drowned by rising seas – said they would take the additional step on Friday of ratifying or granting legal approval to the agreement.

The renewed commitments, and the personal appearance at the UN by about 60 heads of state, delivered a sense of momentum to efforts to bring the agreement into force far earlier than had originally been hoped.

The agreement reached in Paris by 196 countries still needs formal approval from 55 countries representing 55% of global greenhouse gas emissions to come into force. In some cases, that means a vote in parliament.

The US, China and India – the three biggest climate…

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Paris climate deal signing ceremony: what it means and why it matters?


The world took a collective sigh of relief in the last days of 2015, when countries came together to adopt the historic Paris agreement on climate change.

The international treaty was a much-needed victory for multilateralism, and surprised many with its more-ambitious-than-expected agreement to pursue efforts to limit global warming to 1.5°C.

The next step in bringing the agreement into effect happens in New York on Friday 22 April, with leaders and dignitaries from more than 150 countries attending a high-level ceremony at the United Nations to officially sign it.

The New York event will be an important barometer of political momentum leading into the implementation phase – one that requires domestic climate policies to be drawn up, as well as further international negotiations.

It comes a week after scientists took a significant step to assist with the process. On April 13 in Nairobi, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate…

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Speech: New Commonwealth Secretary-General Applauds Caribbean Leadership on Climate Change


“Coming together in unity has been one of the strengths of the Caribbean region” – Patricia Scotland QC

Caribbean countries have shown great leadership in “mobilising the world” to act on the threat posed by climate change, the Secretary-General Designate of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Right Honourable Patricia Scotland QC, has said.

Addressing the opening ceremony of the 15th Conference of Presidents and Governors-General of the Caribbean region – hosted by Antigua and Barbuda this week – Patricia Scotland QC warned that climate change remains a “real danger” for the region.

“For the Pacific, for the Caribbean, for the small independent developing states in these regions, it’s a matter of life and death,” she said, noting that in her home country of Dominica, Tropical Storm Erika wiped away a year’s economic growth “in just six hours.”

The Secretary-General Designate praised Caribbean leaders for the part they played in achieving…

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