Wed | Jan 27, 2021

Climate change and the economy

Published:Wednesday | May 23, 2018 | 10:01 AM


Gone are the days when a particular season came with specific weather patterns. Times are changing, and so are the seasons. Jamaica has suffered serious economic losses as a result of climate change-related events such as severe hurricanes, increased flooding, and harsher or prolonged periods of drought. According to the 2013 UNESCO Science Report, quoted by the International Monetary Fund, the probability of a natural disasters affecting Jamaica is as high as 24 per cent.

In Jamaica, economic sectors such as tourism are already feeling the impact of climate change. Rising sea levels have caused beach erosion in Negril, Hellshire, and Alligator Pond, which all attract their fair share of tourists for varying reasons. Also in agriculture, drought conditions have caused significant scarcity of cultivated produce, and thus, higher prices. The case can be made here for infrastructure investments, and as such, the $800 million allocated to farm roads is welcome and many stakeholders look forward to the upgrades of irrigation.

We have seen a proliferation of vector-borne diseases such as dengue, chik-V and Zika since 2001 when we lived through multiple severe weather events such as Hurricanes Ivan and Dean.

For major government climate change projects and initiatives like the Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience, the Government of Jamaica has secured an allowance of US$6.8 million from the Climate Investment Fund through the World Bank to implement Investment Projects 1 and 2 by improving Climate Data and Information Management Project and Climate Change Adaptation & Disaster Risk Reduction Project.

The main objectives of these are to assist persons in the adaptation to climate change while contributing to vulnerable Jamaican communities through increasing resilience and risk reduction resulting from natural hazards. These are a few of the projects being undertaken by the Government of Jamaica and other international agencies. The Government of Jamaica should be commended as it continues to seek international partnerships and solidarity in the pursuit of action plans and policies and procedures to mitigate climate change-related issues.

Jason Wynter