… It will cost countries heavily – ECLAC consultant
By Tusika Martin
The cost of adapting to climate change and the effects of climate change on Guyana are being assessed by consultants from the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).
At the commissioning of the office of the Food and Agriculture Organisation in Guyana, President Bharrat Jagdeo had announced that Guyana is working with an international consultancy firm to look at the cost for adaptation.
The President stated that it will take billions of dollars for a proper adaptation policy to be funded in Guyana, but he noted that if the country does not adapt properly, then it would have a devastating impact on the agricultural sector.
Dr. Sharmaine Gomes of Trinidad and Tobago, the consultant who is working on the project for ECLAC, in an exclusive interview with Kaieteur News, said that it is the first time that the Caribbean is attempting to cost the adaptation process of climate change.
She said that there has been a lot of activity surrounding climate change and the environmental impacts.
Dr. Gomes told this newspaper that what ECLAC is attempting to do is not only to look at environmental impacts, but also to look at economic impacts and social impacts of climate change in the region.
“We have added on to the climate change approach by including social and economic impacts. Nicholas Stern, an economist from Britain, produced a Stern Report on these impacts. Our end product is to produce a ‘Stern Report for the Caribbean,’ and so we refer to it as a ‘Stern Type Report for the Caribbean,’ Dr. Gomes said.
The project is being funded by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development, and is being carried out by ECLAC.
Reports of the same nature are also being carried out in Central and South America.
The project, which began on October 1 last, is being carried out in three phases.
As part of the first phase, ECLAC will be conducting what is referred to as a ‘scoping study’ in 10 selected countries in the Caribbean.
Dr. Gomes said that, because of time and cost, it will not be possible to travel to each of the 24 countries in the region to do a ‘scoping study.’
“We are going to these 10 countries to host stakeholder consultations. We have invited the stakeholders in these ten countries to come together, very informally, for us to present the project. After that, we get their views on how they see climate change in their country, with emphasis on economic impacts.”
At the end of this phase, national reports will be produced and be reviewed by regional climate change specialist Judy Clarke.
The project is going to last 18 months.
“We want to cost these impacts. We know a lot about the impacts — sea levels rise, temperature rises, and problems with food production — but we have not cost this for the region as yet. We believe that the cost of action really outweigh the cost of inaction,” she said.
Phases two and three of the project, she added, will look at conducting the ‘Stern Type Report’ by doing economic modelling.
Addressing the effects of adaptation on the economies of developing countries, Dr. Gomes said that it will cost countries ‘heavily.’
Dr. Gomes, who was recently in Guyana, met with the Climate Change Committee, Climate Change Unit within the Ministry of Agriculture, and members of the private sector.
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