COLE BAY, Sint Maarten - The St. Maarten Nature Foundation recently presented a revised Climate Change Action Plan to Various Stakeholders explaining some of the projected impacts Climate Change will have on St. Maarten. The control plan outlines specific controlling methods to combat the effects of climate change to the coastal and near shore environments of the country. The re-issuance comes as a result of new reports from various international sources stating that the melting of the West Antarctic Ice Cap will have significant impacts to coastal communities around the world, including to those in the Caribbean.
This document is constructed as a plans of approach regarding the tackling of the effects global warming will have on the Marine and Coastal Zone Ecosystem of St. Maarten. The document also gives an overview of the causes and threats posed by Global Warming to the Marine and Coastal Zones, Parameters for Monitoring and Recording those threats and possible mitigating suggestions to the effects caused by Climate Change to the Coastal and Marine Environment, which are the ecosystems and population centers most greatly affected by Climate Change.
From the mid-19th to the beginning of the 21st century, the air temperature at the earth’s surface increased by between 0.6 and 0.8°C, and this warming is expected to accelerate during the current century if mitigating measures are not put in place. The sea plays a key role in limiting this process as more than 80% of the heat absorbed by the planet accumulates in the world’s oceans.
For St. Maarten Climate Change will bring with it serious consequences, particularly with regards to sea level rise, ocean acidification, invasive species and coral bleaching. It is estimated that by 2073 various districts on the island including Great Bay, Simpson Bay and Cole Bay will be submerged if current estimated sea level rise continues. The report outlines suggestions for mitigating the effects climate change will have on the country and outlines plans of action for addressing the issues climate change will bring with it.
St. Maarten, as a Small island developing State, is particularly vulnerable to climate change, climate variability and sea-level rise. The population of small islands like St. Maarten tends to have their population and infrastructure concentrated in the coastal zone and any rise in sea-level will have significant and profound effects on the economy and living conditions. The St. Maarten Nature Foundation hopes that, with this report, some measures can be taken to alleviate the stress climate change will have on St. Maarten. The plan can be downloaded via the Nature Foundation website naturefoundationsxm.org.