An assessment of the economic and social impacts of climate change on the energy sector in the Caribbean

An assessment of the economic and social impacts of climate change on the energy sector in the Caribbean

The 2013 report assesses the economic and social impacts of climate change on the energy sector in Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Cuba, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.

In the study, the Artificial Neural Network methodology was employed to model the relationship between climate change and energy demand. The viability of the actions proposed were assessed using cost benefit analyse s based on models from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) of the United States of America.

Subsequently, future Caribbean energy consumption was forecast, considering the impacts of two scenarios of climate variability. Using forecast prices of oil, the assessed economic impacts ranged from US$ 487 billion to US$ 739 billion 2011 United States dollars during the forty years from 2013-2050, considering the variations given by three discount rates (1 per cent, 4 per cent and 14 per cent ) and two oil-price scenarios.

The potential effects of climate change in the Caribbean have implications for energy production and use in the energy - generating sector, as well as in other climate-sensitive sectors.

Potential effects include:
a) Increases in the amount of energy consumed in residential, commercial, and industrial buildings for space cooling, because of the drop in thermal comfort (temperature, relative humidity and wind speed)

b) Increases in energy used for residential and commercial refrigeration and industrial process cooling (e.g. in thermal power plants or steel mills)

c) Increases in energy used to supply other resources for climate - sensitive processes, such as pumping water for irrigated agriculture and municipal uses

d) Changes in the balance of energy use among delivery forms and fuel types, such as between electricity used for air conditioning and natural gas used for heating; and

e) Changes in energy consumption in key climate - sensitive sectors of the economy, such as transportation, construction and agriculture.

Researchers conclusions included the need for national energy policies to be completed and updated for every country. In particular, renewable energy policies are to be concluded for each country, and a Caribbean sub-regional renewable energy policy finished along those lines.

These policies they suggested must include planning for excess capacity, an explicit pro-poor dimension, the projection to maximize the utilization of renewable energy sources, and the building of reliable statistical databases.


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