- Documents and publications
Climate change impacts on coastal transport infrastructure in the Caribbean: enhancing the adaptive capacity of Small Island Developing States (SIDS): Jamaica: a case study
Jamaica, and other Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in the Caribbean, are especially vulnerable to climate change. This is due to:
- The location of the Caribbean – within the “hurricane alley” of the Atlantic;
- The geographic nature of the islands – typically characterised by small land masses with mountainous inland areas and narrow coastal plains, combined with large population concentrations and infrastructure located in these narrow coastal areas;
- A limited economic base and dependency on natural resources – this results in a very limited financial, technical and institutional capacity for adaptation.
Because of this heightened vulnerability [as further detailed in Chapters 1 and 2 of this report], development of climate change adaptation strategies and policies are of paramount importance to Jamaica at this time in its planning framework. No longer can Jamaica, or any of the other Caribbean SIDS, afford to ignore the looming impacts of climate change on their respective nations. An examination of the cost of the impacts of climate change on Jamaica was examined in Chapter 2 of the report. The analysis revealed that the current cumulative loss of GDP due to damage associated with natural disasters was estimated to be in the order of $120 billion (roughly 7% of GDP). This is a significant number, which is even more grave given the already slow growth and fragility of Jamaica’s economy. When this is coupled with potential climate change-induced impacts, such as an increase in the number of extreme hurricanes, the figure is even more worrisome as it is likely to rise. Estimates indicate that it could reach as high as 56 per cent of GDP by 2025 if climate predictions are accurate.