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Climate change: Risks and responses in the Caribbean

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Climate change: Risks and responses in the Caribbean

ZAFFAR KHAN, University of The West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago

Purpose: This paper identifies and analyses risks associated with climate change globally and in the Caribbean region, and proposes strategies to mitigate those risks in the context of green attitudes and initiatives at all levels. This paper focusses on the agrilculture and trade sectors.

Design/methodology/approach: The study has been conducted by analysing various secondary sources, including the 2014 World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Risk Report, which identified climate change and other interrelated effects such as extreme weather events, food and water crisis as four of the top ten global economic risks.

Findings: The warming of the Earth’s climate system is unequivocal with the last three decades, in particular, being successively warmer at the Earth’s surface than any preceding decade since 1850. Also, global governance failure is identified as a top ten global economic risk, with food security, global health or poverty reduction being undermined by climate change.

Research limitations/implications: The increased risk of extreme weather such as the 2012 heat wave and Hurricane Sandy in the United States or Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines in 2013, is a reminder of the economic and social impact this challenge poses and its potential to be a significant drag on global growth prospect.

Practical implications: The study contributes to an understanding of the importance of green initiatives and attitudes on the economic and social impact of climate change globally and in the Caribbean region. The results will help in the mitigating of these risks, thus impacting on climate change.

Originality/value: Despite increasing awareness, the world has failed to act in a timely manner with the pressing concerns of climate change. There is mounting recognition that governments industry, civil society, international organisations and individual citizens can benefit from wider support in the task of addressing climate change and building a greener, cleaner, more efficient and resilient global economy, by drawing on the combined innovation, resources and effort from across the public, private and civil society sectors and through mobilising large-scale, practical collaboration and alliances.

Keywords: climate change; global warming; extreme weather; economic impact; social impact; green attitudes; green initiatives; mitigating risk; Caribbean region and climate change.

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