Cayman’s climate change risk to be assessed

| 03/11/2021 | 35 Comments
Cayman News Service
Beach erosion at Regal Beach on Seven Mile Beach (from social media)

(CNS): Government has signed a deal with a UK-based environment agency to undertake a climate change risk assessment of the Cayman Islands. The project is being funded through the governor’s office and will be conducted by the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas), a unit in the UK’s environment department, and local experts.

The agreement, signed by Premier and Minister for Sustainability and Climate Resiliency Wayne Panton, will identify the risks, threats and opportunities posed by climate change for biodiversity, society and the wider economy to shape future policy. An evidence report will be produced by March next year and a final report in September 2022, officials said.

There is no doubt that the Cayman Islands, like all low-lying small islands, is on the front line when it comes to the impact of sea-level rise, but the country is vulnerable to other issues fuelled by climate change, such as ocean acidification. This assessment will identify what we could be facing and how we can deal with it.

Cayman’s per capita emissions are some of the highest in the world and significantly higher that the rest of this region, but they are a drop in the bucket compared to the collective global damage, so even if we were to reach net zero tomorrow, it would have little impact on our impending challenges unless the rest of the world makes a dramatic change.

Given that COP26 is unlikely to secure the dramatic change needed, Cayman’s economic survival depends on our ability to adapt to what is coming. Excessive coastal development is already putting the beach and existing properties at risk, and dealing with the existing oceanfront properties and curbing future development on the coast is essential.

So far, no changes have been made that might help mitigate the impact of coastal erosion and Cayman has been slow to protect its shoreline from erosion. The review, however, will help identify solutions to this and many other issues.

Panton said the agreement for the project was a major step forward towards building climate change resiliency for the country.

“COP26, the meeting that is happening right now in Glasgow with world leaders and scientists, may be one of the most significant gatherings of the century for our entire planet. The time for the nations of the world to take action to make meaningful cuts in greenhouse gas emissions is now,” he said.

“The future of our entire planet, but especially small islands like Cayman, depends on this. From a local perspective we also need to do our part both in terms of reducing our own emissions and, perhaps more importantly, taking urgent steps to ensure that we are in the best position to adapt to the wide range of impacts across all sectors of our community that will arise as a result of continued warming of the Earth.”

Panton said his government was grateful to the governor’s office for the connection with Cefas and providing the funding for the risk assessment, which will enable his ministry to bring the Climate Change Policy and Strategy up to date from the most informed position possible.

Over the next few weeks Cefas will begin its review of published evidence on climate change impacts here and in the Caribbean region as a whole. The March report will describe the current available knowledge on climate change impact risks that pose the greatest threats to communities and sectors in the Cayman Islands, such as fisheries, tourism, coastal infrastructure, agriculture, settlements and inland infrastructure, to identify an initial ‘long-list’ of risks and opportunities.

Cefas CEO Neil Hornby, who is currently attending COP26 in Glasgow, said the agency had undertaken similar exercises in other parts of the world and they were pleased to be able to support the Cayman Islands.

“Cefas scientists will work with experts in the Cayman Islands to prioritise the most important climate change risks. Once these risks have been identified, measures can be taken to reduce impacts on the environment and people of the Cayman Islands,” he said.

Outputs of the project will include the provision of a detailed evidence report, a stakeholder prioritization workshop and a final summary report aimed at policy makers and the general public. The workshop is scheduled for the second quarter of next year, and from that the overall priorities will be ranked by the most pressing risks.

The work will cost around CI$123,000, and Governor Martyn Roper said he was happy to have found the money for this important project.

“As the world meets to discuss climate change on a global scale, I am delighted to be able to facilitate the provision of £110,000 GBP in UK government funding towards this extremely important and urgent initiative to help build true climate change resiliency for the Cayman Islands which is supported by informed national policies,” he said.

“This forms part of the UK/Cayman Climate Change/ Environment Partnership Agreement which allows for collaboration in areas such as biodiversity, disaster resilience and renewable energy.”

While the work will inform policy and help Cayman’s technical experts work out how we will live in the face of increasing temperatures, food shortages, sea level rises, droughts and unstable financial markets, the final report will be a non-technical document that will be made available to the public.


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Category: Climate Change, Science & Nature

Comments (35)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I’m sure all the findings of the study will be designed with our best interests in mind (said no-one ever)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0cAtvkjWRQU

  2. Anonymous says:

    “The work will cost around CI$123,000”

    What is the point of spending this amount of money on an environmental study? Central Planning Authority ignores every recommendation or concern or warning that the Department of Environment brings forward.

    -Mow over mangroves… no problem!
    -Allow sea walls on the beach… no problem!
    -Build too close to the water… no problem! (and we will even give you concessions to do so!)

    • Anon says:

      More to the point why are British taxpayers paying for this when Cayman is perfectly capable of paying for it.

      • anonymous says:

        Yes, why can’t Cayman pay for this, the government are running a surplus, right?

      • Anonymous says:

        The report most likely will end up in the dump anyway.

      • Anonymous says:

        British taxpayers paying other British taxpayers to do it. Local expertise and knowledge will be expected to volunteer to provide the actual content.

    • Anonymous says:

      The failure to grasp the simple fact that if you prevent wave action to naturally dissipate it’s energy, sand will be washed away..
      Climate change or not, that will remain as a simple fact.

  3. Anon. says:

    A long time ago, foreign developers approached Caymanians that owned property along Seven Mile Beach. At the time, Caymanians had little interest in keeping beach property, because, as the saying goes, the wise man builds his house upon the rock (and not upon the sand). Over time, those Caymanians who sold their beach land were thought foolish for selling such valuable property. Those Caymanians nah looking so fool fool now though, eh?

  4. Anonymous says:

    As far as the environment goes, Cayman is a bug on the windscreen of collective global apathy, and the G20 have decided to double acceleration along this highway to hell. The select emerging economies, strong-armed by G20 into an agreement in principle to a coal pledge, fail to mention that it doesn’t kick-in until late 2030s, almost 18 years from now. 70% of India’s power generation for it’s 1.5bln and doubling population, comes from coal, and that doesn’t have to ease for another generation. The petro-economies that finance and backstop private enterprise fossil fuel investments overseas don’t have to surrender that activity (with public funds) for over a decade – a very small percentage of offensive subsidies. The IEC has proposed no new fossil fuel supply come on stream beyond 2050, which has essentially green-lit a mad rush to double or treble production by that grandfathering production date. Canada, as an established petroeconomy, spends almost 20% of federal funds on dirty WCS subsidy, had separately pledged before COP26, that it will double output by 2040, and with IEC’s arbitrary round number, have another decade after that to ramp up even more, possibly tripling from today’s figures. COP26 might as well have been an openly sponsored fossil fuel conference.

  5. BLVCKLISTED says:

    Assessing the “risk” after buildings are literally already falling into the ocean and we’ve lost a significant portion of out world famous beach.

    Cayman at its finest.

  6. Anonymous says:

    The CIG does not need to go to COP26 when it has been making decisions for decades that have been detrimental to the local environment.

    A few questions for our returning heroes…

    What are the specific objectives that the government intends to achieve from their jaunt to Scotland?
    How will the government measure if those objectives have been achieved and within what timeframes?
    Why was this jaunt considered essential travel and what was the total cost of the excursion?
    Why are there several photos that appear to show representatives from the Cayman Islands not wearing masks?
    Why was this trip more important than remaining in the Cayman Islands to manage and make needed changes to the less than competent government response the the unfolding COVID-19 crisis?
    Is this the type of conduct to be expected from the government going forward? If so, is the government receptive to holding early elections so that the people can make a course correction?

  7. Anonymous says:

    It’s not a risk, it’s already reality as we cruise on for +2.7’C. The industrialized world remains unwilling to adopt defined mitigations from IPCC reports published years ago, which include radical human diet reviews as an imperative. They aren’t even on the window-dressing agenda at COP26.

  8. Elvis says:

    One day the tide will just come in amd that’ll be that

    • Anonymous says:

      So funny to qatch rge idiot millionaires watch their properties swimming out to sea.

  9. Anonymous says:

    What action was taken on the 2005 climate change report by the Tyndall Centre, UK? Maybe that one is deep in the dump. Can’t say it was washed away with Ivan. We’ve been warned before but our science doubting politicians keep believing their sky fairy will keep Cayman safe from peril.

  10. Anonymous says:

    What BS. This is not climate change it’s El Niño. It comes and goes in waves, 1-1.5 decades (10yrs). And planning dept is a issue too

  11. Anonymous says:

    What a farce.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Looks like you have beach erosion going on (the same erosion that has been going on for millenniums), not the climate changing.

    • Anonymous says:

      Were you here millennia ago? Wtf are you basing your OPINION on? Do you even have a tertiary level education? How about you be quiet and learn something from people who dedicate their lives to understanding what effects humans may be having on the planet. I really wish people would shut up when they clearly have no idea what they are talking about.

      • Anonymous says:

        There is this science called geology? Ever heard of it?

        Do you know that that the seas were both much lower in Cayman and very much higher just due to nature. This is why we have caves for example in Cayman Brac where the ocean was once that high and eroded the lime stone and why we have reef fossils on top of the bluff.

        Have you tried not just swallowing fact-check websites like a pigeon?

        • Anonymous says:

          It’s called effects of “the flood “ as told in the Bible. Wise up people

        • Anonymous says:

          Caused by the “flood “ as told in the Bible. God caused the rain to come. So many things in nature are a result of the flood. Erosion on the sides of the Bluff is where water splashed. You can see this for miles onside of bluff

    • Anonymous says:

      Thanks scientist lookiloo.

  13. Anonymous says:

    That’s nonsense
    The 2 tropical storms Delta and _____ sucked the sand away on the south side of Seven Mile Beach from Marriott to Coral Beach Bar not global warming.
    Also there was extraction of massive boulders in from of Royal Palms. There’s none now in from of Royal Palms. That could have contributed to the sand being sucked away and not returning.

  14. Anonymous says:

    The song in Sunday school used to say the wise man build his upon the rock and the foolish man build his house upon the sand. So what happen here.

    • Anonymous says:

      That was back then 2:23, things have changed. Tasha Layton has since released a song for the times of today, ‘Into the Sea (it’s gonna be ok) 🌊

  15. Anonymous says:

    I hope we designed enough shelf space into the new GAB to hold these reports.

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