This report analyses the coastal and human settlements, tourism and transport sectors in Barbados to assess the potential economic impact of climate change on the sectors. The fundamental aim of this report is to assist with the development of strategies to deal with the potential impact of climate change on Barbados. Some of the key anticipated manifestations of climate change for the Caribbean include elevated air and sea-surface temperatures, sea-level rise, possible changes in extreme events and a reduction in freshwater resources.
The economic impact of climate change on the three sectors was estimated for the A2 and B2 IPCC scenarios until 2050 (tourism and transport sectors) and 2100 (coastal and human settlements sector). An exploration of various adaptation strategies was also undertaken for each sector using standard evaluation techniques.
The analysis has shown that based upon exposed assets and population, SLR can be classified as having the potential to create potential catastrophe in Barbados. The main contributing factor is the concentration of socioeconomic infrastructure along the coastline in vulnerable areas. The A2 and B2 projections have indicated that the number of catastrophes that can be classified as great is likely to be increased for the country. This is based upon the possible effects of the projected unscheduled impacts to the economy both in terms of loss of life and economic infrastructure. These results arise from the A2 and B2 projections, thereby indicating that growth in numbers and losses are largely due to socioeconomic changes over the projection period and hence the need for increased adaptation strategies. A key adaptation measure recommended is for the government of Barbados to begin reducing the infrastructure deficit by continuously investing in protective infrastructure to decrease the country’s vulnerability to changes in the climate.
With regard to the tourism sector, it was found that by combining the impacts due to a reduction in tourist arrivals, coral reef loss and SLR, estimated total economic impact of climate change is US $7,648 million (A2 scenario) and US $5,127 million (B2 scenario). An economic analysis of the benefits and costs of several adaptation options was undertaken to determine the cost effectiveness of each one and it was found that four (4) out of nine (9) options had high cost-benefit ratios. It is therefore recommended that the strategies that were most attractive in terms of the cost-benefit ratios be pursued first and these were: (1) enhanced reef monitoring systems to provide early warning alerts of bleaching events; (2) artificial reefs or fish-aggregating devices; (3) development of national adaptation plans (levee, sea wall and boardwalk); (4) revision of policies related to financing carbon neutral tourism; and (5) increasing recommended design wind speeds for new tourism-related structures.
The total cost of climate change on international transportation in Barbados aggregated the impacts of changes in temperature and precipitation, new climate policies and SLR. The impact for air transportation ranges from US$10,727 million (B2 scenario) to US$12,279 million (A2 scenario) and for maritime transportation impact estimates range from US$1,992 million (B2 scenario) to US$2,606 million (A2 scenario). For international transportation as a whole, the impact of climate change varies from US$12,719 million under the B2 scenario to US$14,885 million under the A2 scenario. Barbados has the institutions set up to implement adaptive strategies to strengthen the resilience of the existing international transportation system to climate change impacts. Air and sea terminals and facilities can be made more robust, raised, or even relocated as need be, and where critical to safety and mobility, expanded redundant systems may be considered.