Earth today | Committed | New
CLIFFORD MAHLUNG, meteorologist and committed civil servant, retired from public service after more than 40 years – including three decades in the arena of global climate change, where he was considered a gladiator, fighting to secure a safer climate for Jamaica and other small islands. developing states.
Now recovering from a recent stroke following his participation in the last international climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland, last November, Mahlung reflects on his career in public service, which began in 1980 , and has no regrets.
He, in fact, noted his satisfaction at having done his part for Jamaica and particularly in the area of climate change, which is considered the most significant threat to humanity – even with the current realities of the pandemic. of COVID-19 and a range of environmental challenges, including plastic pollution.
“I’m happy with where I was. I did my best,” said the man who has been at the forefront of regional and global efforts to ensure vulnerable countries receive the support necessary to survive climate impacts, including extreme hurricanes, such as those that have affected the Caribbean in recent years.
From technology transfer to capacity building and financing for adaptation, mitigation, loss and damage, Mahlung has lobbied for all, including for more than 20 international climate conferences in different parts of the world as one of Jamaica’s top climate negotiators. .
Today he says, “If I could work, I would still work.
Despite this, Mahlung, 67, speaking with the gleaner from his home in Spanish Town, feels he has left things in good hands, with Omar Alcock and Le-Anne Roper managing the mitigation and adaptation portfolios respectively within the Climate Change Division (CCD) at which he was last employed.
“It’s good to have young people. We still have a Caribbean group that you can learn from and share things with him,” he remarked, recalling the modus operandi during the cut and thrust of negotiations globally.
CCD’s first female leader, UnaMay Gordon, praised Mahlung, attributing to him, among other things, his work on Jamaica’s first, second, third and fourth national communications on climate change, for which he was project manager. .
National Communications enable countries, including Jamaica, to meet their reporting obligations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement. It also offers them the opportunity to communicate to the world about their range of response actions.
Mahlung also served as an executive member of the Clean Development Mechanism Board, which was responsible for overseeing the approval of projects designed to meet greenhouse gas emissions targets under the Kyoto Protocol. 1997.
In addition to rising global temperatures and extreme weather events, the impacts of climate change also include rising sea levels, increasing sea surface temperatures, and growing prevalence of diseases such as the dengue.