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  • The growth of algae on the Caribbean coast is related to a rise in sea temperatures.

    The growth of algae on the Caribbean coast is related to a rise in sea temperatures. | Photo: Thomson Reuters Foundation

Published 17 October 2018

A recent U.N. report on climate change said limiting global warming to 1°C, would avoid some of the most devastating consequences of the phenomenon.

Caribbean nations plan to test the acidity of the sea surrounding them to learn whether it’s acidity is linked to greenhouse gas absorption. 

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According to Mike Haughton, the Executive Director of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism, “we will have things going by next year,” at the Caribbean Agriculture Ministers meeting.

Several countries are concerned about this phenomenon because their economies depend on fishery and tourism. Testing will be carried out with the support of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The fears of Caribbean countries are real and urgent according to Haughton.

“In more recent times scientists have realized that the absorption of carbon dioxide in the ocean is actually causing serious, serious problems in the ocean itself. Basically, the seawater is becoming more and more acidic and that is not good for the living marine organisms. ... The fact is that for many of our countries, our fisheries are based on the health of the coral reefs," said Haughton.

A recent United Nations report on climate change said limiting global warming to 1°C, as opposed to 2°C, would avoid some of the most devastating consequences of the phenomenon.

Actions would need to be taken urgently, however: "The next few years are probably the most important in our history,” according to Debra Roberts, co-chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC). 

“I urge all civilized nations to take responsibility for it by dramatically increasing our efforts to cut the emissions responsible for the crisis,” according to Amjad Abdulla, a lead climate negotiator for small island states.

Latin America as a whole could face dire consequences due to global warming. A recent report by the University of East Anglia, United Kingdom, indicates that keeping warming to 1.5°C would avoid 3.3 million dengue cases per year in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The Caribbean nations’ project comes after United States President, Donald Trump’s assertion that “climate will change back again.” The change in posture marks a new official stance of the White House on the issue.

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