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IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE IN SMALL COMMUNITIES. Charmaine Gomes Sustainable Development Officer ECLAC The International Conference on Turtle Conservation, Ecotourism and Sustainable Community Development UWI, SALISES, 28-29 July 2009. Introduction – IPCC AR4.

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impacts of climate change in small communities


Charmaine GomesSustainable Development OfficerECLAC

The International Conference on Turtle Conservation, Ecotourism and Sustainable Community DevelopmentUWI, SALISES, 28-29 July 2009

introduction ipcc ar4
Introduction – IPCC AR4
  • CC ↑ly the biggest environmental issue of our time;
  • IPCCC, AR4, 2006 indicated that global [CO2], [CH4] and [N2O] have↑ since 1750 = human activity;
  • ↑ [CO2] = fossil fuels use and land use changes;
  • ↑ CH4 and N2O - agriculture;
  • Also indicated an ↑ in [CO2] from 280 parts per million (ppm) in1850 to 364 ppm in 1998 to 379 ppm in 2005;
  • ↑ temperature are supported by widespread melting of snow and ice and an increase in global average sea level of 1.8 mm yr-1 between 1961 and 2003;
  • Rate of SLR was faster between 1993 and 2003;
stern review eclac
Stern Review & ECLAC
  • The Stern Review supports these findings: without concerted action, [GHG] could double their pre-industrial level as early as 2035, (short-term rise of 20C; longer term50C in);
  • ECLAC - impacts of CC on agriculture, health and tourism re potential for impact on GDP, human well being and employment.
  • The poorest and most vulnerable will suffer earliest and more intensively;
  • LC will be impacted more greatly as they often lack the economic and technical resources available to respond to social and env. challenges;
  • Existing disadvantage that these communities have e.g significant health problems, insecure and inadequate housing and comparatively lower standards of education and training render them more vulnerable to the impacts of CC;
  • SC are particularly at risk for water-borne and vector-borne diseases, which can be spread through intake of infected water and food;
  • CC is likely to exacerbate poor housing and sanitation, ↑ the spread of such diseases;
  • The dietary health situation of small communities is predicted to worsen, as the plants and animals that comprise their traditional diet could be at risk of decline and / or extinction through climate change;
  • A 2004 study reported in Nature magazine stated that climate change could result in the extinction of between 15-37% of species (Thomas et al. 2004).
impacts of climate change agriculture
Impacts of Climate ChangeAgriculture
  • Salt intrusion into agricultural lands;
  • Species may change their distribution ranges;
  • Water temperature may affect fish production by disrupting the food chain;
  • Increased pest infestations;
  • Increased incidence of plant diseases;
  • Increased wildfires;
  • Loss of soil
health impacts
Heatwave-related health problems;

Cold-related illness and deaths;

River, coastal flooding and flash floods;

Infectious diseases;

Sunburn and skin cancer;

Extreme weather-related event (droughts, hurricanes)

Possible ancillary health benefits;

Health Impacts
tourism impacts
Tourism Impacts
  • The tourism industry = income for many SC;
  • SC are more likely to have limited scope to adapt to the changes in climate → impact on their small scale industries (source of valuable income);
  • Flooding and drought frequency → migration →loss of place-specific cultural heritage practices & fragmentation;
  • Loss or degradation of beaches and the nearshore environment (source of income) for many small scale fishing activities;
  • Loss of road access to fish landing sites → coastal inundation and / or flooding;
  • Flooding → significant losses in biodiversity, esp. coastal and freshwater biodiversity (livelihoods for coastal communities e.g. ecotourism activities);
  • Losses in informal housing settlements when the infrastructure, esp. in low lying areas inundated as a result of flooding;
  • Flash flooding (drainage systems overcapacitated);
  • Flooding → losses in access to sports grounds & other recreational areas.
human security impacts
Human Security Impacts
  • Reduction in arable land for farming leading to:
    • a drop in agricultural productivity; - increasing food insecurity;
    • lowering farmers’ income; and - diminishing crop production;
    • decreased availability of fish stocks

as a result of overfishing.

  • Increased flooding and prolonged droughts may well realise:
    • loss of access to agricultural produce;
    • reduction in the availability of fresh water by as much a 20 – 30% in certain regions and moreso in small communities;
    • this has the potential to cause civil unrest and to lead to significant economic losses.
  • SC already suffer from poor health conditions, unemployment or social exclusion may be rendered more vulnerable → migration to other areas. = “environmental migration”. ↑ conflicts among SC where borders are crossed;
  • Reduction in the availability of, and access to, energy supplies

(may result in civil unrest thereby disrupting supplies of energy to small communities).

the response adaptation
The Response - Adaptation
  • harvesting of rain water;
  • alternative storage tanks or irrigation canals for rainwater collection;
  • temporary migration of coastal communities to higher levels;
  • cultivating crops with shorter growing seasons thereby maintaining employment levels;
  • prayers and offerings at local places of worship with which the communities identify;
  • support in gathering data to assess climate change intensity in the small communities;
  • developing a need-based service mechanism to support vulnerable households;
  • establishment of village knowledge centres = serve to sensitise communities and build awareness of the impacts of climate change (support for adaptive strategies and removing barriers).
  • Lead in addressing carbon emissions;
  • Lead in lobbying for research on CC impacts;
  • Lobbying for the conduct of a carbon audit;
  • Place energy at the heart of the communities;
  • Reduce water consumption and flooding;
  • Ensure sustainable catering and food procurement policies;
  • Influence sustainable housing;
  • Promote sustainable forms of transport;
  • Develop a carbon neutral waste management policy;
  • Promote local employment and skills
conclusions recommendations
Conclusions & Recommendations
  • In Bangladesh, lands affected by intrusion of salt water are now being used for shrimp farming;
  • In Madagascar, CI and its partners are hiring villagers to plant trees on eroded land which creates corridors to connect fragmented habitats. This activity may earn carbon revenues and provide much needed employment (Time 2009);
  • Increase employment of investors in RE technologies would accrue with diversification in employment opportunities in small communities;
  • Increase opportunity for capacity building in the utilization of RE technologies;
  • Savings in travel by people in temperate climates as the planet warms, but tourism in tropical climates may need to diversify differently;
  • Costs associated with clothing may decline, but so would investment in the clothing industry;
  • Greater demand for air conditioning and refrigeration -employment;
  • Increased investment in the insurance industry;
  • Investment in the infrastructure industry;
  • Reduce investment by consumers in the transport sector;
  • Promote the initiative for REDD initiative as in Guyana and Belize;
  • Small communities could benefit from other carbon trading initiatives through reafforestation projects;
  • They could also be the guardians of environmental resources