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The Caribbean and Climate Change

“The Caribbean and Climate Change: The Costs of Inaction” is a study by Ramón Bueno, Cornelia Herzfeld, Elizabeth A. Stanton, and Frank Ackerman. Commissioned by Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), this is the first detailed analysis of the potential economic effects of continued climate change for the entire Caribbean region. The report, similar in methodology to the recent study on the cost of climate change in Florida, compares two possibilities -- an optimistic rapid stabilization case and a pessimistic business-as-usual case – and focuses on three categories of effects:  hurricane damages, loss of tourism revenue, and infrastructure damage due to sea-level rise. 

The costs of inaction, or the difference between these two scenarios, are the potential savings from acting in time to prevent the worst economic consequences of climate change.  The report points out that, although Caribbean nations have contributed little to the release of the greenhouse gases that drive climate change, they will pay a heavy price for global inaction in reducing emissions.

Key findings of the report include:

  • The costs of inaction will amount to 22 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) for the Caribbean as a whole by 2100;
  • The costs of inaction will reach an astonishing 75 percent or more of GDP by 2100 in Dominica, Grenada, Haiti, St. Kitts & Nevis and Turks & Caicos;
  • The Caribbean’s largest island, Cuba, faces a nearly 13 percent economic hit by mid-century, and a 27 percent loss by 2100, unless there is swift action to address climate change; 
  • Losses from inaction would be less severe but still significant in Puerto Rico, reaching nearly 3 percent by 2050 and 6 percent by the end of the century; 
  • The nation of Colombia, with its long Caribbean coastline, faces permanent flooding of 1,900 square miles in low-lying coastal areas, affecting 1.4 million people.

English version:

Download Executive Summary

Download the full report here in either High Resolution (4MB) or Low Resolution (3MB)

Versión en español:

Descargue el Resumen Ejecutivo

Descargue aquí el informe completo en Resolución Alta (4MB) o Resolución Baja (3MB)

Selected press coverage of the Caribbean study:

South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Interview with EcoAméricas

Read more about GDAE's work on the Economics of Climate Change

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