Press Release

Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour
Climate Change
Release Date:
Friday, 21 September 2018 - 3:20pm

Local Climate Change Officer and Author of The Irma Diaries, Ms. Angela Burnett is in Europe using her book as a platform to make presentations on climate change.

Ms. Burnett has made presentations at the European Commission External Cooperation Infopoint and the Embassies of the Eastern Caribbean States and Missions to the European Union in Brussels, Belgium.

Ms. Burnett has also participated in a debate hosted jointly by Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe and Université Saint-Louis; and a luncheon presentation and reading hosted by the National Centre for Development Cooperation in Belgium.

Ms. Burnett also represented the case of small islands at a press conference in Brussels organised by CAN Europe to draw attention to the need to increase the EU 2030 greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets in line with keeping global average temperature rise to a maximum of 1.5°C.

She was joined by Professor of climate and environmental sciences at Université Catholique de Louvain, Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, Former Vice-Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC); Plaintiff of the People’s Climate Case, Armando Carvalho; and Director of Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe, Wendel Trio.

She also addressed UK-based students from the Territory at a reception hosted by the BVI London Office and will conclude her tour with a presentation hosted by the University of London in partnership with the British Library.

Ms. Burnett said, “Climate change creates the real risk of Caribbean climate refugees – persons forced to leave the region by extreme events like Hurricane Irma as well as slower onset changes such as sea level rise.”

She added that stronger hurricanes are fueled by warmer ocean temperatures associated with climate change and revealed that as a result of such warming, the probability of an Irma-type hurricane near BVI has increased from 1 in 800 in 1990 to 1 in 180 in 2017 and is expected to increase further to 1 in 60 by the end of this Century.

As a part of her book tour, Ms. Burnett took audiences into the personal human experience of Hurricane Irma through a number of readings. She spoke about the importance of individual/personal actions in addressing climate change and the necessity of personal connections to the issue to drive that action.

Ms. Burnett highlighted that studies show storytelling which translates climate change risk into “relatable and concrete personal experiences” is a powerful way to enhance public engagement on climate change and is the thrust behind The Irma Diaries.

She will continue to use the compelling stories of survival from Hurricane Irma to bridge personal, action-inspiring connections to climate change and increase awareness and action.

More information on The Irma Diaries tour schedule can be found at:

Photos attached:

Photo 1 - Angela Burnett with attendees of the European Union Commission event. To her right is Mr. Georgios Pantoulis, Deputy Head of Unit, Sustainable Energy, Climate Change, Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development. Left of Ms. Burnett is Edouard Ereño Blanchet, Disaster Risk Management Specialist of the World Bank. Third from left is Mr. Jozias Blok, Policy Officer - Disaster Risk Reduction, European Commission.

Photo 2 - Ms. Burnett with representatives of the Embassies of the Eastern Caribbean States and Missions to the European Union at their reception. From left to right: Juliet Sutherland, Second Secretary; Angela Burnett, Author, The Irma Diaries and BVI Climate Change Officer; Mrs. Sharlene Shillingford-Mcklmon, Chargé d'Affaires; and Azziza Trotter.


Andra Phillip

Department of Information and Public Relations