|TCI must plan for impacts of climate change|
|Friday, 06 January 2012 10:49|
The Turks and Caicos Islands and other Caribbean nations must plan for the impacts of climate change and rising sea level on tourism and local residents, a new study illustrates.
The recently completed Caribsave Climate Change Risk Atlas phase 1 document says that “decision makers should adopt a precautionary approach and ensure that measures are taken to increase the resilience of economies, businesses and communities to climate related hazards.”
Funded by the U.K. Department for International Development and the Australian Agency for International Development, the 24-page document provides the TCI with information on:
“Many policies and plans for action are in place, but serious financial resource shortages along with limited technical capacities hinder the successful adaptation efforts across most government ministries and other stakeholder groups,” the document says.
Because the TCI economy is relying its main industry — tourism — to pull it out of the global recession, growth in that sector should be tempered with protection of natural resources and the need for greater controls in the planning process.
Among the most apparent effects of climate change is the increasing frequency and intensity of tropical storms and the damage they can inflict on the low-lying islands.
Hurricanes Ike and Hanna in 2008 caused losses and damages of $22.8 million in tourism, agriculture, fisheries, and hotel and retail trade, plus waste removal. Another $30 million in damage was inflicted on the country’s health sector, mostly for the transfer of patients to other facilities for care.
Rising sea level also portends serious problems for the many resorts that are built close to the shore which provide significant income for government and employment for residents.
The study showed that if sea level rises .5 metres, more than half of the beach will be lost in Grand Turk West Shore (53 percent) and historic Cockburn Town (65 percent). At 2 metres, all of the beach will be lost in Cockburn Town, and at 3 metres, all of the beach in Grand Turk Cruise Centre and Grand Turk West Shore would be under water.
The Department of Disaster Management in collaboration with the Department of Environment and Coastal Resources worked with the members of Caribsave to carry out site visits and data collection for the document that aimed at being “a springboard towards TCI starting to take the issue of climate change more seriously.”
DECR urged the public to read the document to help understand the real effects of climate change and what can be do to prepare for it.
The Climate Change Risk Atlas can be found on DECR’s website at www.environment.tc. For more information, contact DECR at 649-941-5122 (Providenciales), 649-946-2801 (Grand Turk), or 649-946-3709 (South Caicos), or e-mail
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The authors, marine ecologist Marsha Pardee and terrestrial ecologist Kathleen Wood, are long-time TCI residents and respected scientists in their fields.
Below are links to their articles, plus related news articles, documents and laws.
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Links to environmental documents and laws