Environmental Official Predicts Rising Sea Levels Will Harm Caribbean Region

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DesdraST GEORGE’S, Grenada — Director of the Environmental and Occupational Health Track of the Public Health Department of St George’s University is predicting a bleak future for the Caribbean amid concerns that the rate of sea level could rise beyond the anticipated 3-millimeters mark.

Hugh Sealy, who is also chairman of the board of the Clean Development Mechanism, said sea level rise for the Caribbean is inevitable regardless of what decisions are taken now.

“No matter what we do about the future of the CO2 (Carbon dioxide) we put in the atmosphere; even if we pull all the CO2 out of the atmosphere now, we still face a one meter sea level rise in the Caribbean,” he said.

He said if this rate continues as being projected, the islands of the region will see major losses along their coastlines by the year 2050.

“Don’t forget the rate of sea level rise is increasing. We were two decades ago at one and a half millimetres per year; we’re now at three millimetres per year. In two decades time we could be at six millimetres.”

Sealy, who is attending the first ever Caribbean Symposium for Innovators in Coastal Tourism, said the sea level rise is not taking place in isolation and that changes to the weather pattern were also having an immediate and devastating effect on the economy.

“You’re going to have stronger hurricanes which are going to mean that storm surge is going to be worse; you’re going to have salt water intrusions into your ground water aquifers so your fresh water supply is going to be impacted,” he said.

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