The Caribbean region harbors a significant portion of countries most vulnerable to climate change.
For the 60% of the Caribbeans living < 1.5 km from a coast, current sea level rise – estimated at up to 5x the global average – is the most tangible threat. Flooding and erosion of low-lying areas are already apparent and will only get worse as tropical storm and hurricane severity continues to increase.
Costs generated by evacuating and rebuilding coastal areas will be dwarfed in the future, however, by major economic blows to the tourism and fisheries industries. Leandra Cho-Ricketts, Marine Science Director at the University of Belize, explains in 1.5 – STAY ALIVE the essential role of healthy coral reef ecosystems to both of these sectors – and the unlikelihood of being able to preserve coral reefs in an over-heated world.
Furthermore, the impact of climate change on Caribbean freshwater resources is and will remain severe, due to a confluence of factors: declining overall rainfall, heat waves, higher evaporation rates, salinization, and increasing demand.
A region responsible for just 0.3% of global greenhouse gas emissions should not be left to face these threats alone.