With effects of Climate Change presenting serious repercussions on world economies, livelihoods and security, Jamaica, among six other Caribbean countries, have solicited to be a part of the Green Climate Fund (GCF). This fund is governed by the Commonwealth Climate Finance Access Hub through its host, the Mauritius government. The capital will be used to facilitate various national projects lined up to combat the effects of Climate Change. Kingston, Jamaica’s commercial centre and most densely populated coastal city, is bracing for Climate Departure by 2023. Climate Departure describes the point in time that the average temperature of the coolest year after 2005 becomes warmer than the historic average temperature of the hottest year, for a specific location. Detailed climate modelling including research carried out by MGI Blue have suggested that the island is likely to experience adverse impacts from intensified weather events of flood rains, droughts, storm surge and tropical cyclones.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2013) report, there are indications to the continuous rise in ocean temperatures, where sea levels are also projected to rise by an average of 2 – 3 mm per year during the first half of this century. Coastal areas in Jamaica are at the frontline of Climate Change impacts as they are directly affected by storm surge and sea level rise. Based on future model forecasting, by year 2100, Jamaica will have an 11% increase in hurricane wind intensity which will result in greater coastal destruction by stronger storm surges. The sea level is predicted to rise by an additional 1 meter by year 2100, which will mainly affect the southern coastal parishes. With the aid of trajectory models, St. Elizabeth will be affected the most compared to the other parishes. Therefore, the effects on coastal areas will be severe, particularly vulnerable areas undergoing large-scale physical development, subsidence, tectonic displacement, population increases, and coastal erosion.
Figure 2 Storm surge along the 7 Miles stretch in St. Thomas during the passage of Hurricane Matthew.
Factors such as: hazard susceptibility, property exposure, livelihood exposure and population exposure will be impacted by the effects of Climate Change but with reliable data and the advancement in Green Technology being funded by the GCF, Jamaica’s adaptation to Climate Change will be more manageable to accomplish. Furthermore, environmental economic policies are being implemented by the government to aid in the protection of the country for future growth and sustainable development. Several government and private sector agencies have been commissioned to address some of these issues through collaborative coastal projects aimed at creating resilience in coastal areas by the restoration of mangrove forests and enhancing coastal protection measures in selected areas. These issues continue to highlight the importance of the financial support by the GCF to aid these and similar projects that seek to reduce risks and assist with the adaptation to Climate Change.