Business-As-Usual Vs. Action Now

By Collette Lewis-Smith

The world is faced with the options of continuing development in a Business-as-Usual (BAU) mode; or taking urgent action towards mitigation and adaptation, in order to stabilize the levels of Greenhouse Gas concentration in the atmosphere.

According to Project Analyst (2010) the world investment in fixed assets is expected to be US$7 trillion by 2020.  US$1.1 trillion per year will be required to meet the projected energy demand; and US$10.5 trillion will be required over the next 20 years, at BAU levels, to support the objective of meeting the emission target of 450 ppp CO 2e target.  The implications of a BAU approach to climate change are grim; in that any losses from resource overuse, scarcity or devastation, will have repercussions throughout Caribbean economies.  An evaluation of the costs and benefits in the context of the realities within Jamaica and the wider Caribbean shows:

  1. Limited financial and technical capacity;
  2. A high level of vulnerability;
  3. High levels of indebtedness;
  4. Inappropriate allocation of grant and loan funds made available for climate change activities;
  5. The likelihood of the risks being exacerbated, if the promised changes to strengthen resilience are not made.

The donor community is also faced with their own domestic challenges, from high debt ceilings, austerity measures, decline in economic activities and falling growth rates. Therefore, mitigation and adaptation measures to increase resilience to the impacts of climate change are not options, but imperatives.