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Posted December 8, 2023

By Kevon Wilson

3.5 Minutes Read


Rising Tides, Rising Concerns: Are Global Climate Strategies Overlooking the Caribbean's Cry for Help?

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a United Nations body, internationally recognized as the most authoritative voice on climate science. Comprising hundreds of scientists from around the world, the IPCC rigorously assesses the most recent scientific, technical, and socio-economic information produced worldwide relevant to understanding climate change. It’s not an overstatement to say that when the IPCC speaks, the world listens.

In 2018, the IPCC released a landmark report titled “Global Warming of 1.5 ºC.” This report was a clarion call to the global community, highlighting the urgent need to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. It laid out the dire consequences of exceeding this threshold and presented potential pathways for achieving this goal, emphasizing the need for rapid and unprecedented changes across all aspects of society.

However, as ground-breaking as this report was, it sparked a conversation on whether its findings and recommendations fully consider the unique challenges faced by certain vulnerable regions, particularly small island developing states like those in the Caribbean. In this post, we’ll explore this aspect, shedding light on the potential oversight and its implications for these critical, yet often overlooked, parts of our world.

Report Summary

Here is Leve Global’s summary of and comments on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s report entitled, ”Global Warming of 1.5 ºC” which covers several critical aspects of climate change and global warming.

This report provides a comprehensive overview of the challenges, pathways, and necessary actions to limit global warming to 1.5°C, emphasizing the urgency and scale of the required changes.

Here’s a summary of the key points:

                        Human-Induced Warming: As of 2017, human-induced warming reached approximately 1°C above pre-industrial levels, increasing at a rate of about 0.2°C per decade. This warming is more pronounced over land than over the ocean.                     

                        Emission Pathways and 1.5°C Target: The report defines 1.5°C emission pathways as those providing a one-in-two to two-in-three chance of either remaining below or returning to 1.5°C by around 2100 after an overshoot. These pathways involve limiting cumulative emissions of long-lived greenhouse gases and substantial reductions in other climate forcers.

                        Projected Impacts at 1.5°C Warming: Global warming of 1.5°C is associated with substantial regional variations and impacts, depending on the emission pathway to 1.5°C. Different impacts result from pathways that remain below 1.5°C versus those that return to 1.5°C after an overshoot.

                        Ethical Considerations and Equity: The report emphasizes the importance of ethical considerations and equity, recognizing that the impacts of warming up to and beyond 1.5°C disproportionately affect the poor and vulnerable.

                        Climate Adaptation and Mitigation: Adaptation to climate change is crucial at all levels, and ambitious mitigation actions are indispensable to limit warming to 1.5°C. However, ill-designed responses could pose challenges, especially for countries with poverty and those requiring significant energy system transformations.

                        Feasibility of Limiting Warming to 1.5°C: The feasibility of limiting warming to 1.5°C depends on various factors, including economic growth, technology developments, lifestyles, global cooperation, and governance.

                        Emissions and Carbon Budget: To limit warming to 1.5°C, global net anthropogenic CO2 emissions need to decline by about 45% from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching net zero around 2050. The remaining carbon budget is estimated at about 420 GtCO2 for a two-thirds chance of limiting warming to 1.5°C.

                        Role of Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR): All analyzed pathways to limit warming to 1.5°C involve some form of CDR. The scale and type of CDR deployment vary, with implications for sustainable development objectives.

                        Energy and Land Transitions: Limiting warming to 1.5°C involves a significant shift in primary energy sources, with an increase in renewables and a decrease in coal usage. Electrification of energy end use and a rapid decline in the carbon intensity of electricity are also key components of 1.5°C pathways.

Food For Thought              

While the IPCC’s report on ‘Global Warming of 1.5 ºC’ is a comprehensive and urgent call to action, it arguably falls short in addressing the unique and disproportionate challenges faced by small island developing states (SIDS), such as those in the Caribbean. The report’s emphasis on global averages and broad mitigation strategies overlooks the nuanced and immediate threats these islands face, such as rising sea levels, increased hurricane intensity, and economic vulnerability due to their reliance on climate-sensitive sectors like tourism and agriculture.

Moreover, the report’s advocacy for rapid, large-scale changes in global energy and economic systems, while necessary, seems somewhat disconnected from the realities of SIDS, which often lack the resources, technology, and infrastructure to implement such changes. This oversight not only marginalizes their plight but also underrepresents the urgency of tailored support and investment needed for these regions to adapt and survive.

In essence, the report, while groundbreaking in many respects, could be seen as echoing a larger pattern in global climate discourse: a tendency to sideline the specific needs and voices of small island nations, which are among the most vulnerable to climate change impacts yet contribute minimally to global emissions. This raises questions about the equity and inclusivity of global climate policies and actions, potentially leaving Caribbean states and other SIDS at a significant disadvantage in the face of a rapidly changing climate.

What are your thoughts? 

Click here to read the full report.

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About the Author:

Kevon Wilson
Senior Analyst
Leve Global

Kevon U. Wilson

Kevon Wilson, is a premier researcher and strategist. He has more than 16 years’ experience in research and digital marketing.

He is co-author of many of Leve Global’s research publications such as Big Data – Delivering the Big Picture to Drive Competitiveness, Everything You Need to Know About Internet Marketing, and The Top Ten Emerging Markets.

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