Climate Change in Paradise - German-Caribbean scientific cooperation

Potsdam, 28 November 2006 - The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) signed an Agreement of Cooperation with the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) on November 27. The scientific exchange enables the states of the Caribbean to better assess the adverse effects of climate change on their region and to improve their adaptation measures.

Most people associate long distance travels to beautiful white beaches when hearing about the Caribbean. Reality looks somewhat different. A rising sea level and more intense hurricanes pose a growing threat to local people and impede on tourism and agriculture, the Caribbean islands’ major sources of income.

“Climate change is already an everyday experience for our countries”, says meteorologist and director of the CCCCC Dr. Kenrick Leslie. “Most of our politicians have understood that climate change is a serious problem.” A crucial task of the Caribbean would be to ensure a socially and economically sustainable development for the region, he emphasizes. “Preserving the beauty and integrity of our tourist destinations plays a key role in that process”.

The CCCCC is a research and consulting agency of the Caribbean Community member states (CARICOM), trying to elaborate the concrete meaning of climate change for the region. The Potsdam-Institute and the CCCCC will join their forces now in order to implement common research activities. One goal will be the development of innovative tools to manage the risks climate change poses to the tourism industry. For this purpose, the PIK will provide their Caribbean partners with its experiences in the application of regional climate models.

The contract of cooperation has been signed by Dr. Kenrick Leslie and PIK Director Prof. Hans Joachim Schellnhuber. Schellnhuber regards the Centre’s mission as highly necessary and is impressed by its achievements so far. As urgent as a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions may be, especially in industrialized countries, to avoid uncontrollable climate change - “some of the negative impacts of global warming will be unavoidable in the Caribbean”, he says. “Due to PIK’s scientific support, the Caribbean states will be able to improve their planning capacity for adaptation measures in order to manage the unavoidable as good as possible.”

Handshakes Karibik
After joint signature: Kenrick Leslie from the CCCCC (left) and H. J. Schellnhuber from the PIK (right).
Foto: Hannah Förster, PIK

For further information please contact:

Fritz Reusswig, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)
phone:+49 (0)331 288 2576