Squaring Up For The Climate Challenge

Roger Pulwarty, a Trinidad-born climate scientist, livened up proceedings with an easy style that mixed humour with information on the impact of climate change on the Caribbean.

Pulwarty identified global climate change as one of  the most serious threats to sustainable development facing the Caribbean region with the potential to  increase the economic, environmental  and social vulnerability of CARICOM countries. He called for greater investment in comprehensive and effective measures in response to a changing climate, adding that Caribbean countries need to act in concert to build resilience to global climate change at the regional level while enlisting the support of the international community in developing meaningful responses to ensure food, energy, water and environmental  security.

He contended that critical elements of an effective response would include:

1. mainstreaming climate change into the sustainable development agenda and work programmes of public and private institutions in all Caribbean Community countries at all levels;

2. promoting systems and actions to reduce the vulnerability of Caribbean Community countries to global climate change wherever possible through integrated coastal and watershed management and the development of niche agricultural markets. for local products

3. implementing adaptation measures to address key vulnerabilities in the region, including enhancing the reliability of water supply systems, improving coastal and marine infrastructure and protected areas, and adapting tourism infrastructure and activities to climate change;

4. promoting measures to derive benefit from the prudent management of forests, wetlands, and the natural environment in general, and to protect that natural environment; and

5. promoting actions and arrangements to develop and use efficient technologies , including those aimed at energy-use efficiency by increasingly use of renewable energy sources and water efficient technology and sharing and marketing such technologies through the broader Latin America and Caribbean region.


Roger Pulwarty is the Climate and Societal Interactions Division Chief and the Director of the multi-agency National Integrated Drought Information System at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Washington DC and Boulder Colorado, USA. His own research and publications focus on climate, vulnerability assessment, and risk management in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean.

Is a lead author on several national and international climate impacts assessments reports including the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Working Group II, the Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters, and the US Global Change Research Program. He is a Convening Lead Author in the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction Global Assessment of Disasters (2011) and the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report Working Group II (2014).  The IPCC was the recipient of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.

He has acted in advisory capacities on climate impacts assessment and risk management to several U.S. and international interests including the Western US Governors, the Department of the Interior, NASA, CARICOM, the governments of Fiji, Portugal, Venezuela, Chile, the Organization of American States, the UNDP, UNEP, WMO, and the InterAmerican Development and World Banks.  He is Professor-adjunct at the University of Colorado and at the University of the West Indies (Cave Hill) where he teaches within Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies. Roger has served on committees of the US National Academy of Sciences, provides testimonies before the US Congress, on climate, adaptation and natural resources, and has been featured in several media communications, including the New York Times Magazine article “The Future is Drying Up”. He is a co-recipient of the 2008 NOAA Administrator’s award for outstanding achievements in integrating climate research into decision-making, and the 2010 Gold Medal, the highest award given by the US Department of Commerce.

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