MLA calls for climate change policy

| 29/01/2020 | 46 Comments
Cayman News Service, Rising seas, climate change

(CNS): With a draft climate change policy gathering dust in the environment ministry for almost a decade, the opposition representative for Newlands, Alva Suckoo, has filed a private member’s motion for the upcoming session of the Legislative Assembly calling on government to form a commission to create an up to date climate policy and oversee its implementation.

He is also asking the government to increase public awareness of the impending challenge and to put climate change on the school curriculum.

Suckoo told CNS that he has made the decision to bring this motion now as “it is time we got into this fight” because the current draft policy has been gathering dust since 2011.

“In that time world leaders have moved from denial to acceptance and now crisis,” the deputy opposition leader warned. “I believe that our regional and international influence places us in the perfect position to take a leadership role. We can organise, influence and drive efforts, especially in jurisdictions where the resources and technical ability are not at a level to tackle the problem.”

Suckoo said that while small islands may contribute relatively less to global warming, they will, like the Cayman Islands, be the first to feel its effects.

“The government has made commitments to do its part, so I am hoping that this motion will hopefully kick-start that effort,” he said, though he has not yet indicated whether he expects government to support the motion.

“There is no central authority tasked with taking on our climate change concerns and I believe we are now at the point where further delays only add to the long term risk and costs associated with climate change. 

“The Bill of Rights makes it very clear that the government needs to take on board these concerns, and I am sure that we will soon see another judicial review if the neglect continues,” he said, noting the legal challenge currently in the courts regarding the National Trust’s concerns over government’s failure to honour its constitutional obligation to protect the environment with the damaging plans for the cruise project.

In recent years all administrations in the Cayman Islands have had a checkered record on environmental protection. While many ministers and leaders have made claims about their support for protecting the environment, they have often undermined what they said with the policies they enact in other areas. While Wayne Panton, the former environment minister, was the first true champion of the environment, he had to battled his own party and Cabinet colleagues to get the National Conservation Law through.

Most other ministers have done nothing to speak of to contain the runaway coastal development and have failed to sanction developers who disregard the existing environmental protections. The current administration has attacked the conservation law, failed to adopt the climate change policy and, despite talking about addressing the islands’ plastic problem, it has failed to do anything.

It has done nothing notable to implement its own alleged policy supporting the waste management pyramid, such as promoting the reduction and reuse of waste. It has also fallen woefully short on encouraging any significant recycling, leaving it up to people in the community to make the effort to try.

But the biggest piece of evidence that government sees environmental protection and conservation policies as an inconvenience rather than an area it is truly committed to address is its proposed port project.

The government is planning to directly destroying a significant acreage of ancient, unique, pristine coral reef and the species that live on it and the same amount again indirectly by its proposed cruise berthing facility. Over the last few years government’s support for this act of environmental destruction has been increasingly difficult to justify.

However, a climate change policy would require government to go much further than the current conservation law, which the premier has already labeled as “ridiculous”. A climate change policy would impact even wider elements of the economy and government than the NCL.

From planning law coastal set backs, which will need to change dramatically to accommodate predictions regarding sea-level rise, to policies impacting energy and water consumption, an effective climate change policy would herald in significant changes.

It would also require the management of the Cayman Islands’ economic dependence on continuous consumption, impacting the bottom line for the Treasury as well as businesses.

See the PPM in the CNS Library

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Category: Climate Change, Policy, Politics, Science & Nature

Comments (46)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Because Cayman is a about following and enforcing laws right?

  2. Aubrey Stillwell says:

    The only good news is that the public has access up to the high water line and that could be in the lobby of some of the resorts!

  3. Anon says:

    If the fish need a habitat after the reefs are gone, Cayman can always drill for oil:

  4. Anonymous says:

    Fix the dump !!!

  5. Anonymous says:

    This from those responsible for the dump? Only idiots would listen to you talk about anything.

  6. Anonymous says:

    What I find strange is that, despite the warnings about rising sea levels, buyers and investors are still pouring money into Grand Cayman for long-term waterfront developments. What’s the usable life of somewhere like Lacovia? 50 years, 60 years? Certainly well beyond 2050. Is this just a case of, ‘Making hay while the sun shines’?

  7. Anonymous says:

    Good job Mr. Suckoo. This is decades late, of course, but somebody has to get things moving forward. Please push for progress with cars and trucks too. Too much air pollution.


  8. Anonymous says:

    When you’re clueless about things that actually needs to be done, you come up with shit like this.

    • Anonymous says:

      climate change potentially impacts islands more than anywhere else. Food production gets threatened, you lose your naturally occurring foods, both plant and animal (ie fish in the sea). Then you have to pay substantially more to import as food as climate change drives prices up elsewhere. But that point is moot when considering that if global temperatures continue to rise at the rate that they are currently, most of the Cayman Islands (which is largely flat) will be under water in less than 50 years. So maybe its not a big deal to you, but considering I still plan to be alive in 50 years its a big deal to me. This MLA isnt coming up with crap. He’s addressing a very real issue… unless you take your cues form people like Donald Trump who prefer to just lie and ignore the problem.

      • Anonymous says:

        We need to realize it’s not the 1970s anymore. Growing feed for humanity’s appetite for unnecessary livestock has consumed most of the arable land on the planet, diverted and poisoned watersheds, which then empty into seas that can no longer absorb and offset what it’s dealt. UN has shown that meat production is responsible for more warming gas emissions than all the petroleum products consumed combined. Add unrestrained over-fishing, and the doubling of the global population in the next 20 years, and it’s easy to predict the food supply problems ahead. Last week, plant-based Impossible Foods had to end their supplier contract negotiations with McDonalds because both sides concluded there wasn’t sufficient arable land to supply them with non-meat protein. It’s already fully-allocated for cattle feed! Everyone that calls themselves an environmentalist can immediately self-limit or eliminate their meat consumption altogether. We each need to come to terms with that reality. It’s also the healthiest diet for humans, and may actually ward off genes which switch on certain cancers and other diseases. #gamechangers

      • Anonymous says:

        11:00 am, Please have respect for the greatest President in the history of the world. A genius and an absolutely amazing con man.

    • Anonymous says:

      So true, he should take some advise from Al Gore

      • Anonymous says:

        Al Gore is not a good role model – he may have his facts right but underneath he’s conflicted and not someone I’d trust in this debate.

        • Anonymous says:

          Nonsense. Al Gore was the first major political official talking about climate change. He was ahead of his time and it does not matter whether one is a Republican or Democrat.

      • Anonymous says:

        I don’t understand your point. Al Gore is one of the people that have been telling us about the future impact of climate change for almost 20 years.

        • Anonymous says:

          2:26 But he’s also been promoting his own ‘green’ investments and flying round in his corporate jet – that in my book is conflicted.

    • Anonymous says:

      At 10:24am, what “actually needs to be done” then since you’re saying Mr. Suckoo is clueless… please enlighten me.

    • Anonymous says:

      He just has to be a little less clueless then his voters then he can come up with anything and he’s good to go.

  9. PYHBYLAKYAG says:

    So it takes an earthquake for at least one person in the LA to start talking about climate change again. ‘Tis a noble cause Mr. Suckoo however in this climate of greed and extravagant development we’re in it’s going to take another quake to bring other people to their knees and wake up.
    There’s most likely only another decade on the clock before severe impacts kick in so hopefully you’ll be able to make a little headway.

    Kudos for bring this up, now crack on with it!

    • Anonymous says:

      Let’s be clear that earthquakes are natural seismic phenomena. They are unrelated to human-derived climate change, which is happening now, not 10 years from now. Cayman should focus on things that are controllable locally – myriad waste management issues, pollution (including vehicle emissions stds), environmental and fishing laws/enforcement. Keep in mind this regime has over a Bln in unfunded and I acknowledged pensions and healthcare liabilities plus half a billion in carried forward balance sheet debt. Due to ongoing mismanagement, there’s no surplus for a rising sea level contingency plan or reserve fund…which may mean, sadly, enjoy while you can and tell your kids not to plan to make Cayman their permanent home if they can avoid it.

      • PHYBYLAKYAG says:

        Earthquakes, a natural seismic phenomenon? Really, I could have sworn yesterday’s quake was due to a certain MLA falling out of his bed.

        Ever heard of space climate or space weather, it’s still nature and we puny humans are powerless to stop it.? That said we can make small changes with big effect here (planet earth) if there is political will and consensus. Not much chance of that happening here or any country before we’re ankle deep in it I’m afraid, but we can hope.

        Best local short term plan is to buy a plot on the Brac bluff!

      • BeaumontZodecloun says:

        Exactly right, and well said. Conservation? YES! Clean up the ground water/vadose zone/water lens? YES! Mitigate Trashmore? YES! Recycle! YES! Mitigate plastics? You BET!

        These are all measurable things we can all affect; things that we caused. We can move on from there toward more renewable energies, electric cars and boats and we’re long overdue for bike lanes everywhere!! Those are the things that will make a significant and green difference for the Cayman Islands.

        There is little more precious than our natural resources, and once lost, will stay lost. We must never let that happen. Development — not just coastal development — seems out of control. We are full to the brim with people and cars. We seem to have no understanding of sustainability, and continue to worship the dollar.

    • Anonymous says:

      The motion was filed before the Earthquake.

    • Anonymous says:

      I believe MLA Suckoo would have had to gotten his motion on the Agenda way ahead of the earthquake. Seems like he is spot on though!!

  10. Anonymous says:

    The current policy for a variety of real problems is to insert both index fingers into ears, ignore constituents, hoping they go away, and/or that political patronage don’t start echoing these sentiments. Many governments have just paid to spin a more preferable opinion.

  11. Anonymous says:

    As the timely article on climate change…

    By the way folks, the sign showing the 2050 sea level, is called SCIENCE, by the 97% of SCIENTISTS

    • Anonymous says:

      Good old Y2K all over again…. follow the money then you will see where the scare tactics come from

      CNS: OK The five corrupt pillars of climate change denial

      • Anonymous says:

        It’s called the 4 corners of deceit.

        Leftist Goverments – Intentions over results
        Leftist Acedemia – Indoctrinating not educating
        Leftist pseudoscience – Global Warming rebranded as climate change
        Leftist media – Leftwing narratives and agendas, over facts and truth

        What is the purpose of the deceit?

        Convince the world that there is no God or evil, by destroying: Faith, objective morals, birth, the soul, sexuality, gender, fatherhood, motherhood, the family unit, relationships, real science, education, culture, food, farming, energy, and just about anything good on this earth, and replace those things with the self-appointed goodness of the leftist’s ideals, worldviews and their agendas. (Does this sound familiar?)

        Show me a leftist, and I will show you something or someone they in the process of destroying to push their agenda.

        And when ever you see something that just blows your mind, like a grown 50 year old man, identifying as a 9 year old school girl, or when you see an 11 year old boy cheered as he is stripping on Good Morning America as a transgender, you will find that everything makes PERFECT SENSE, ONCE you view that debauchery considering the above FACTS.

  12. Anonymous says:

    We might be a small island, but aside from the dump, most of our worst air pollution comes from cruise ships and mark trucks. Easy solution for the first? Vote No.

    • Anonymous says:

      Our road problem is that our provincial Traffic Regulations don’t define what “noxious” actually means. There are neither emissions standards, nor testing equipment for vehicles under full throttle, which is why/how thousands of failing RH Japanese vehicles can find their second life in the Caribbean, Africa, and Central Asia…not just here. There are also still DVDL-accredited garages/inspectors passing/licensing what should be failing vehicles.

      • Anonymous says:

        I am deafened by marl trucks thundering by my house, using Jack brakes and honking their train horns from 5am and all day long in BT. But some of those trucks seem to be pumping trails of thick black smoke, and the amount of dust and dirt that gets on and in the house is beyond belief. I would like to see them severely dealt with first.

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