The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a United Nations-sponsored network, foresees that global temperatures will rise as much as 11.5 degrees Fahrenheit by the year 2100.
This seemingly simple fact hides the actual disruption to the human race that this kind of temperature rise will engender.
Without delving into the problems of the greater world, here in the Virgin Islands the results will be catastrophic. Rising sea levels due to melting glaciers around the world will turn Anegada into an underwater reef, Road Town will cease to exist, and all the communities and dwellings along the seashore will be inundated. Added to this will be the effect of huge hurricanes spawned by the warmer seas, which will blow and wash away whatever was left along the coastline.
We will be impacted from outside by an increasing world population trying to exist in harsher and harsher climates whilst competing for the world’s depleting resources.
This all sounds like the doomsday scenario, the Armageddon — which it could turn out to be unless all the nations of the world agree to reduce their carbon emissions.
That’s all the nations of the world, including the VI!
What can we do? As a government, we can convert to renewable energy. This is a no-brainer, a win/win situation. We help the planet whilst saving ourselves money and our dependence upon an oil culture. This needs to be started now.
As individuals, we can help also. For instance we can paint our roofs white to reflect the sun. This is also a win/win situation: We reflect sunlight back into space, whilst cooling our buildings. We can move to solar hot water heating — another win/win situation because we would get all the hot water we need for free!
Global warming, or climate change, has already started. This decade, we have already had three of the hottest years on record. And, if the IPCC is correct, we can expect more than a one-degree change per decade. It is imperative that we recognise this problem, and its solutions, and act now.
There is an election coming up soon, and I wonder which party will seize the initiative to help save the VI in the years in which our children and grandchildren will live.