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Stormed out of $550m

SHAWN CUMBERBATCH, [email protected]

Stormed out of $550m

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THE THREAT OF STORM ACTIVITY and climate change is so great that the impact of hurricanes could result in the Caribbean losing up to US$550 million annually.

That large sum was reached based on simulations done by researchers Professor Winston Moore, Dr Troy Lorde and Wayne Elliott. Moore and Lorde are economics lecturers at the University of the West Indies, and Elliott is project development officer at the Compete Caribbean programme.

“Simulations suggest that output losses occurring due to hurricanes are likely to increase exponentially over the next century; by 2100 the output losses attributable to hurricanes are likely to reach their highest level. It is forecasted that the region is likely to lose between US$350 million and US$550 million per year or about 11 to 17 per cent of current year GDP by 2100,” they said.

In their study Climate Change, Atlantic Storm Activity And The Regional Socio-Economic Impacts On The Caribbean, the trio noted that with forecasting the likely economic losses arising from North Atlantic hurricanes high on the agenda of Caribbean and North American stakeholders, they developed “a general equilibrium framework to conduct an impact assessment of climate change and hurricane formation”.

“General equilibrium analysis accounts for not only primary effects but also feedback effects. The model simulations suggest that output losses occurring due to hurricanes are likely to have economy-wide effects. However, the rural economies of the region are likely to suffer the greatest (relative) effects,” they explained.

“The findings of this study suggest that rural livelihoods should be mainstreamed in an adaptation initiatives adopted by the region. Ignoring these neighbourhood features in adaptation plans could negatively impact on poverty and unemployment in rural areas.”

The researchers concluded that estimated losses would be “quite significant after 2050”. However, they added “this time horizon allows for a number of policy interventions to build resilience to climate change”.

“Key resilience building interventions could include revising building standards to account for the potential rise in the intensity of storms as well as sea level rise.” (SC)