Sunday, January 21, 2018

Facing the challenge


LAUNCHING: ECLAC director Diane Quarless, from left, coordinator of sustainable development unit, ECLAC sub-regional headquarters for the Caribbean, Charmaine Comes; Aus Aid first secretary Hannah Bleby, ECLAC research officer Nayasha Skerrette and ECLAC coordinator Dillon Alleyne. –––Photo: VERDEL BISHOP

Mark Fraser

The economic and social impact of climate change on agriculture, coastal and marine resources, energy, health, tourism and water sectors was examined yesterday through a series of six regional reports on climate change, which was implemented by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).

The findings were launched at the ECLAC sub-regional headquarters for the Caribbean, Chancery Lane, Port of Spain.

Among the important findings of these reports is the prediction that the estimated cost of climate change by 2050 are US$4.2 billion for agriculture, US$798.7 billion for coastal and marine resources, US$739 billion for energy, US$1.9 billion for health and US$8 million for tourism. ECLAC also unveiled an Integrated Climate Impact Assessment Model for the Caribbean.

ECLAC director Diane Quarless described the reports as an econometric model specifically and uniquely designed to measure climate impact in the Caribbean. She noted that this most recent research confirms that climate change will produce considerable negative impact on all sectors examined. “The tourism sector, which is the mainstay of many Caribbean service-oriented economies, is projected to face reduced visitor arrivals in the years to come. Water scarcity will be exacerbated, and coastal areas will face increased incidents of inundation from sea level rise. Crop yields will in general decline, and the costs associated with vector disease control and treatment will increase.

“These reports further identify a number of economically feasible adaptation strategies which Caribbean Governments might consider in confronting the challenge of climate change over the next four decades. We are therefore pleased that this research has resulted in the strengthening of capacity among regional experts in the modelling for measurement of climate impact, and in an enhanced awareness on the part of Caribbean policymakers of the value in considering projections of the social and economic impact of climate change in their development planning and adaptation strategies.

Minister of State in the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, Ramona Ramdial lauded the  timing of the project. “Given that the overall objective of the project was to prepare the Caribbean to be better able to respond to climate change and foster a regional approach to reducing carbon emissions by 2050, it provides a framework for a unified, regional approach to dealing with a common issue.

“It undertook regional assessments of the economic and social impacts of climate change on the agriculture, coastal and marine, energy, health, tourism and water sectors in the Caribbean. It also focused on strengthening the technical capacity of experts in the use of macroeconomic frameworks for cross-sectoral development planning,” Ramdial said.

Ramdial said the work conducted by ECLAC will augur will for the ministry’s ongoing work  as it prepares to embark on conducting National Climate Change Vulnerability and Assessment Studies in agriculture, water, human health, Tourism and costal resources. “The outputs of the project therefore resonates with the importance placed on addressing climate change by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, as articulated in the National Climate Change Policy, which speaks to, the assessment of sectorial vulnerability and the formulation of adaptation options’ and so through understanding these socioeconomic impacts of climate change on any particular sector such adaptation options can be formulated. In so far as mitigation is concerned, several climate change initiatives are already underway,” Ramdial said.

The project was conducted from April 2012 to March 2013, and will be made available to the public in the coming months.