Climate change a major threat to Bahamas, say Greenpeace activists

Greenpeace activists, currently docked in Nassau on one of the environmental group’s ships, say climate change is a major threat to the Bahamas.

According to Joel Stewart, a 22-year veteran of the organisation and captain of Greenpeace’s “Arctic Sunrise” icebreaker ship, climate change is very serious issue for a maritime state like the Bahamas.

The Arctic Sunrise, docked in the harbour for maintenance and crew changes, allowed The Tribune aboard to discuss Greenpeace’s environmental campaigns and the possible impact of global warming on the Bahamas.

Climate change, which is attributed to global warming, is an increase in the average temperature of Earth’s near-surface air and oceans caused by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide (CO2), which scientists and activists say results from human activity such as the burning of fossil fuels.

Specific effects of climate change that could impact the Bahamas include: rising sea levels; increase in the intensity and frequency of hurricanes; coral bleaching; and acidification of the atmosphere and in turn, the ocean.

According to Captain Stewart, plankton absorb CO2 from the atmosphere and release oxygen into the water making it more acidic. The acidic water dissolves the shells of carbonic animals such as crabs, oysters and more important to the Bahamas, corals and reefs.

Celeste Nixon, The Tribune, 8 January 2011. Full article.

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