Climate Change Effect On Overseas Territories

August 15, 2021 | 0 Comments

The Marine Climate Change Impacts Partnership [MCCIP] released a ‘Report Card,’ which discusses the “key climate change effects on the coastal and marine environment around the Caribbean and Mid-Atlantic UK Overseas Territories.”

The report on the Marine Climate Change Impacts Partnership website said, “There are six UK Overseas Territories in the Caribbean and Mid-Atlantic.

“They are diverse in size, economic and social development, and systems of governance and are small territories with populations ranging from approximately 5,000 people in Montserrat to 65,000 in both Bermuda and the Cayman Islands. The total population is estimated at 220,000 spread across the islands of Anguilla, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Montserrat, and the Turks and Caicos.

“The marine and coastal environment is an important natural resource to these UKOTs, with economies and people heavily dependent on the services they provide [e.g., fisheries and tourism]. Climate change is already affecting these islands, through loss of habitat and degradation of biodiversity, and the social and economic impacts caused by extreme weather events.”

“Sea-level rise and changes in the frequency and/or intensity of extreme weather events (heatwaves, extreme temperature and heavy precipitation, tropical cyclones, storm surges, and coastal, river and rain-induced flooding) constitute the biggest climate change risks to the islands. The economic and social impacts of extreme weather events on Caribbean and Mid-Atlantic UKOTs are of national significance. For example, Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017 were some of the most intense storms recorded in the region and caused widespread devastation across the UKOTs of Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

“In the marine environment, sea temperature rise is a major threat to habitats and species, most notably when marine heatwaves hit coral reefs causing bleaching and impacting on the ecosystem condition and function of the area. Some marine species have shifted their geographic ranges, seasonal activities, migration patterns, abundances and interactions, with important consequences for fisheries and the provision of other ecosystem services. As temperatures continue to rise, further major impacts on marine ecosystems are to be expected in the future.

“These climate change impacts are exacerbated by other human activities, such as coastal development, the effects of which combine to diminish the resilience of ecosystems to adapt to those changing conditions.”

The full Caribbean & Mid-Atlantic Report Card follows below [PDF here]:

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