More talk in the absence of action on environment

| 01/12/2009

(CNS): As the Cayman Islands continues to wait on any kind of legislation to protect its environment, the third National Climate Change Workshop & presentation of a draft Climate Change Issues Paper will take place in Cayman on Thursday at the Marriott Beach Resort. According to government, the two-day workshop’s main aim is to discuss a national climate change adaptation strategy and action plan for the Cayman Islands as well as a public education and outreach programme.

This discussion, however, will take place against the absence of any environmental legislation to protect the islands’ fragile and vulnerable environment. The National Conservation Bill, which was drawn up under the last administration, was never brought to the Legislative Assembly, reportedly as a result of internal opposition to its content in the last Cabinet. Charles Clifford, the former minister for the environment, has consistently stated that the failure to enact the bill is a major regret.

During the election campaign the UDP promised action on the environment and said they would introduce legislation, though it is clear that they will not pass the bill as currently proposed and there has been no indication from the current environment minister what his intentions are regarding legislation.

In an interview earlier this year, Director of the Department of Environment Gina Ebanks Petrie told CNS that time was literally running out Cayman’s environment. “Without a comprehensive legal platform from which to address the growing range of environmental issues, there is nothing we can do to address these concerns,” Ebanks-Petrie lamented at the time. Since then nothing has changed, despite the fact that protecting the environment and its bio-diversity is directly linked to issues of climate change.

The DoE director said that, while there has been considerable talk in recent times about sustainable development and there are aspirational rights within the new constitution regarding environmental protection, without legislation these goals cannot be achieved.

“Sustainable development means giving equal weight to environmental issues as well as the social and economic issues that are considered before developments are undertaken,” Ebanks-Petrie added. “If we are not going to close off this opportunity to make a commitment to sustainability, we need this law. We really are close to the edge and time is running out to defer the management of our environment,” she said.

Premier McKeeva Bush, Minister of the Environment Mark Scotland and members from the Enhancing Capacity for Adaptation to Climate Change (ECACC) project for the Caribbean UK Overseas Territories will be opening this week’s workshop at 8:30 on Thursday morning.  The workshop comes just before the international climate change summit in Copenhagen on 7 December. And despite more climate change sceptic mania in the last few days, news on Tuesday morning from scientists working in Antarctica warned the continent is going to start warming up in the next few decades leading to sea level rises of over 1 mete.

The experts said that, while the hole in the Earth’s ozone layer had protected the icy content from the worst effects of global warming until now, scientists warn that as the hole closes up in the next few decades, temperatures on the continent could rise by around 3C on average, with melting ice contributing to a global sea-level increases of up to 1.4m. The western Antarctic Peninsula has seen rapid ice loss as the world has warmed, but other parts of the continent have paradoxically been cooling, with a 10% increase in ice in the seas around the region in recent decades. While sceptics have used the Antarctic cooling as evidence against global warming, the British Antarctic Survey said scientists are now "very confident" that the anomaly had caused by the ozone hole above Antarctica. "We knew that, when we took away this blanket of ozone, we would have more ultra-violet radiation. But we didn’t realise the extent to which it would change the atmospheric circulation of the Antarctic," they stated.

Sea level rises is one of the major threats to island nations such as the Cayman Islands, where an increase of the proportions predicted could see most of the country submerged beneath the ocean in a matter of decades.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Only fools believe in Global Warming.


    Here’s jon Stewart reading someof the blatant frauds from the very global warming scientits themselves admiting firginging and ommitting data.

    You know if he comments on it, its got to be very obvious now.



  2. Anonymous says:

    The bill will only be passed (if ever) once all the dock and port projects are completed. These projects would never fly if there was a conservation bill in place to protect what will be destroyed by the port. Too much money at stake! 

  3. Peter Milburn says:


            Seriously though we need to enact our Conservation Law.Its vital that we do so and stop pussyfooting around the issue.We owe it to our next generation and the ones after that.

            In the meantime maybe our politicians(some of them)should shedsome excess poundage as that will certainly help keep our shores above water for a tad longer.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Global warming IS a hoax, a lie, junk science specifically designed to implement a global tax on wealthy nations.


  5. sceptical says:

    if we are to believe the experts statement that sea level will rise by 1.4 meters in a "few decades" – let’s say 20 years and given the size of our dump over the last 20 years – it might just be the only safe place to be in 20 years and might just be the solution. 

    Also if sea level rises- more mangroves will grow and the environment will get a boost. There is no way we can build a wall around Cayman- the long term solution is simply to look at Venice and use their design to start planning for global warming and sea level rise by finding some reasonable middle ground between the tree huggers and the developers. that actually makes sense. Looks like we should be protecting only all land above 5 feet high and develop and plan for everything else.



  6. what a mess says:

    Cayman has done nothing to protect the environment when it could afford to. With financial affairs the way they are for now and the forseeable future Cayman will again do nothing…except host a few conferences to "talk" about it. Of course the real focus in such afforts is about the money brought in (short term gain) by the conference participants. But to develop and institute a plan (seen as long term pain) if history of political will during the past few decades is any indication…then it is very unlikely that cayman will do much. As a previous poster said "just look at Mount Trashmore"!


  7. Same old says:

    Same old same old.  A little less talk and a lot more action would be a pleasant change.  I have no idea why there is all this dithering over climate change.  I know.  Many are saying it’s some sort of "conspiracy" and everything sorts itself out eventually, as it has done for thousands of years.  But the real question if we are to believe this theory in the face of melting glaciers in the alps and elsewhere (some of the photos are quite dramatic), ice cap deterioration, and loss of habitat for one of nature’s most magnificent creatures the Polar bear is…..are we getting in the way of this process and are we helping, or hindering the planet’s ability to heal itself?  While one more meeting of talking heads takes place and toothless suggestions will be made only to be forwarded to the "next meeting" we really should seriously ask ourselves if we want to leave our fate and our planet’s fate in their incapable hands.  How have they done so far?  Name a topic.  Wars?  Poverty?  Malnourishment?  Disease?  Understand their jobs are to dither. They are masters at dithering.  Their tasks are, as they see it, to make compromise after compromise until nothing remains, and no action is taken and only the impression is given of action.  That isn’t good enough.  Not when our fate and the fate our planet may be at stake  A generation or less from now they may be meeting in hip-waders and still "discussing" the possibility of rising sea levels.  As they slosh to their waiting limos will agree to "meet" again.  At a later date.  This upcoming meeting in Copenhagen is also the later date they had spoken of earlier.  Get it?  Nero would have loved it.

  8. Paradise lost says:

    Wow, more drivel about how global warming is a hoax.  One only has to look at who funds this report to understand where the report is coming from.  I suppose Mr. Anonymous also rebuffs statements by local scientists showing that an overwhelming percentage of Cayman reefs have been damaged by warming oceans over the past decade.  One only needs to don a mask and snorkel to see the results.  But, that too, must be a lie.

    Keep "whistlin’ by the graveyard" my friend.




    • Buice Milloy says:

      Global warming is not a hoax. Man Made global warming is! We are currently in an interglacial period that started at the end of the Pleistocene about 12,000 years ago. Sea levels have fluctuated greatly over time,( in the Cretaceous they are estimated to be 300m higher) as has Carbon Dioxide, (which actually lags Temperature change). If temperature is increasing there is nothing that we can do about it, there are forces far greater than us at work. Al Gore’s hockey stick graph is fraudulent, and has been removed from the IPCC!

      • Heinz 57 says:

        Finally somebody with common sense. Nature will take it’s course wether we like it or not. Should we clean this place up? Of course but that would be merely for our own convenience and comfort. The planet itself does not care too much, the planet is fine, the people are not. When the planet feels we have done too much damage, it will shake us off like a bad case of fleas and will think nothing of it.

        The planet does not judge, punish or reward, it just is and we have the supreme arrogance that we think we can change that……………..

    • Anonymous says:

      Coral bleaching is directly linked to unchecked man-made pollution and is our responsibility to reverse if we can.  Though convenient, we should not point helplessly to global warming or other bogus theses, since we as Caymanians have allowed this to happen. 

      We all have a pretty good idea of what is still going down our drains into the watertable, and what is being burned and leached out at our dump.  Anyone with some high school chemistry should be able to explain this to the adults in charge. 

      We need to increase local awareness and penalties for offenders.  We cannot afford to dawdle.  Pass the laws and give them teeth.

  9. Green Hornet says:

    Actually, it was McKeeva’s first government which introduced the Conservation  Bill back in 2001. So we are looking at almost 10 years of ineptitude. I do not believe there is a politician on this island that has the guts to tell his real estate buddies that they cannot do something. They would have passed the legislation if there was.

    I guess we should all learn to live underwater, ‘cos we’re going to need to know how to do that. Fortunately, the deniers, who are mostly financed directly or indirectly by the oil industry, will have already drowned in their own disbelief.

  10. Anonymous says:

    If the government doesn’t start instigating plans to build 1000 year sea defences now, this island is doomed. Nothing will stop sea level rise. It is inevitable and the latest forecasts predict that some people alive today will be around when levels rise so much that islands like ours and low lying, coastal cities are submerged.

    Cities like New York and London will, at enormous cost, prevent the most damaging impacts but what will Cayman do?

    I have no answer other than to build a 3m wall around 90% of the coastline. Without it Grand Cayman will mostly disappear and you won’t be able to blame it on the ex-pats either. 

  11. Anonymous says:

    if you ever want see what CI Gov has done about the environment just look at mount trashmore…. how long have they been talking about that?

  12. Anonymous says:

    "Sea level rises is one of the major threats to island nations such as the Cayman Islands where an increase of the proportions predicted could see most of the country submerged beneath the ocean in a matter of decades."


    If that alone does not say the urgency for Cayman to take a stance…then these Islands are going down (or the ocean coming up)…