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Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP
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Last April, Belize hosted a workshop for scientists from the region that are studying the effects of climate change on small island states. The purpose of that workshop was for scientists to share their findings on how the effects of the Global phenomenon, were impacting small economies like Belize.

In 1992, Belize became a signatory to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. And, as a party to that convention, the country must report on the steps being taken to implement the necessary controls on greenhouse gas emissions. Having submitted its first two required reports, the country is in the process of completing its Third National Communication, to be submitted to the UNFCC.

To achieve this, a workshop was hosted at the Belize Biltmore Plaza Hotel in Belize City where experts from the Climate Change Office and other interested stakeholders met to review and consider the project. 7 News spoke with veteran Meteorologist, Carlos Fuller from the Caribbean Climate Change office.

Carlos Fuller - Caribbean Community Climate Change Center
"The first obligation of Belize on the United Nations Framework Convention on climate change is to meet the sustainable development goals of the country - that and to overcome poverty. That is our main obligation under the convention and it is written there. However in doing that we say we do not want to follow the unsustainable path that the develop countries have followed in the use of its fossil fuels in the way it has used its lands, in the way it has cleared its land. So we saying yes we want to aspire to your ultimate goals, but we'll do it in a much better way."

Jim Mcfadzean
"It's generally accept that the major industrialized nations are the culprits the main culprits of the phenomenon - this global phenomenon called climate change. So where are we - as small countries - how do we contribue to this whole global phenomenon?"

Carlos Fuller
"Well, Jim, as you said, it's quite right. Belize contributes less than 1 thousandth of a percent to the global emissions of greenhouse gases. In fact, a communication usually shows that Belize is absorbing more greenhouse gases than it is actually emitting. So, we are one of the good guys in the convention. Unfortunately, we are one of those countries that are suffering the most from climate change. Being a low -lying state, we have faced problems of erosion and sea-level rise. Global warming is warming the seas which are affecting our coral reefs. It has caused pine bark infestation that decimated our pine ridge. It is producing outbreaks of dengue in the country. So in fact, we are facing the worst part of climate change, and we are not doing anything to contribute to it. So, in fact, the international community has a moral obligation to assist Belize to overcome climate change."

The United Nation's Framework Convention on Climate Change entered into force on March 21st, 1994.

Channel 7

Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP
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Belize is vulnerable and heavily affected by Climate Change

Climate change is a global issue that unfortunately affects developing nations more than the developed continents. Just one degree in temperature has serious economic implications for many nations including Belize. That is why stakeholders along with the Climate Change Center and the Ministry of Natural Resources gathered for the Belize Third National Communication to the UNFCCC Project Workshop. According to the International Regional Liaison Office for the Climate Change Center, Belize has already experienced the negative impact of a shift in global temperature. Carlos Fuller says that the devastation of the pine forest along with coral bleaching of the reef are all caused by temperature increases.

Carlos Fuller, Int'l Regional Liaison Officer, Climate Change Center

Carlos Fuller

"In the case of Belize, it is recognized as one of the countries most vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change. Globally, temperatures around the world have risen by zero point seven degrees Celsius since the advent of industrial evolution and sea level has risen. However, studies of Belize itself-using our own weather data-have temperatures in only the past forty years have risen by one degree. So our level of warming is exceeding the global average. So we are in a worse state than most countries. Some impacts that we have already experienced for example are coral bleaching episodes. Since 1995 we have gone through four major coral bleaching episodes and in fact we have not even recovered from the first one. So, over sixty percent of our reefs are in bad, bad shape because of global warming. We experienced the bark beetle infestation that decimated seventy-five percent of the pine forest-again directly attributed to climate change. We have had many more severe flooding episodes than we ever had before; more intense rainfall in a short period of time-washing out the area of Dangriga, washing out bridges. Again directly attributed to climate change. We are having more dengue outbreaks again attributed to climate change. So many of the adverse impacts are already occurring and we have only started the whole process and that is only with a one degree rise of temperature in Belize. It is expected that at the best we will see quite likely a two degree rise in temperature in the next few years. So if the small changes are already affecting us, imagine what the big effects are going to be. And that is the best case scenario. The way things are going it is quite likely that it is going to be rising by six or seven degrees Celsius. In fact that means disaster for the country of Belize. Studies that we have done have shown that if that occurs, Belize is going to lose every one of its beaches by the end of century. It shows that with a two degree rise of temperature, our production of rice, beans and corn are going to fall by twenty percent. Sugar cane and citrus are going to be falling by ten percent of productivity. Again so the economic, the health, the water, everything in Belize is going to be adversely affected and the worse thing is that we are not contributing to climate change. Belize's emissions account to less than one hundredth of a percent of the global emissions. In fact our forests are absorbing more carbon dioxide that we emit. So we are one of the good guys, but we are facing one of the worse consequences of climate change."

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