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IDB Analyzes Economics of Climate Change in Trinidad and Tobago

IDBJune 2014: The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has issued an economics of climate change adaptation study for Trinidad and Tobago that can be applied to the broader Caribbean region, along with the information regarding how to implement such a study.

'Understanding the Economics of Climate Adaptation in Trinidad and Tobago' identifies climate change risks for Trinidad and Tobago, assesses expected loss, identifies possible adaptation measures, and provides a decision-making framework for prioritizing adaptation action.

The study identifies expected climate change risks for Trinidad and Tobago generally and by their potential impacts on six priority sectors, namely agriculture, human health, human settlements, coastal zones, water resources and energy. The study: calculates the economic impact of probable damages; identifies possible adaptation actions to reduce impacts and possible barriers to their implementation, and calculate their costs/benefits; and prioritizes adaptation measures. The prioritization was carried out through weighted scoring taking into account: the ability of the measure to decrease climate change impacts; the urgency for implementing a measure in order to gain maximum benefit; "no regret" strategies that can be justified in economic terms even without climate change; positive secondary effects; and possible climate change mitigation co-benefits.

The study finds that all prioritized measures, except permeable pavements and dike construction, would have total costs less than 0.3% of Trinidad and Tobago's GDP in 2012, while national building code implementation and mangrove restoration alone would bring 0.3% of GDP in benefit. Upon the completion of the prioritization weighing, IDB found that five top "most favorable and feasible" adaptation measures for Trinidad and Tobago are implementing: a national building code; a meteorological alert system linked to the monitoring system; emergency protocols; and an institutional training programme. The study also highly recommends infrastructure and building reinforcement and mangrove restoration. [Publication: Understanding the Economics of Climate Adaptation in Trinidad and Tobago] [Executive Summary]