The St. Christopher Air and Sea Ports Authority (SCASPA) was the only Port that presented an academic paper in a Regional Conference on ‘The Caribbean Region: Adaptation and Resilience to Global Change’ at the Mona Campus in Jamaica.
The forum that was held by the University of the West Indies in conjunction with the University of London, the Climate Change Research Group and the Developing Areas Research Group of the Royal Geographical Society/Institute of British Geographers, brought together researchers to highlight geographical and related research on Caribbean economic and environmental change.
Senior Meteorological Officer of SCASPA, Mr. Elmo Burke presented research focused on the vulnerability of SCASPA’s assets and climate change in the British-Caribbean Geography Seminar Series. The research presented was the first that focused on the threat of climate change posed to airport and seaports in the Caribbean region.
Mr. Burke’s research explored the projected impacts of climate change, specifically stronger storms, periods of heavier shower, sea level rise and larger storm surge through a vulnerability and capacity assessment of SCASPA and St. Kitts. The findings of the research were obtained through surveys completed by SCASPA staff members; interviews of key stakeholders; and reviews of documented literature outlining the threat posed to SCASPA’s assets and the scientific evidence about climate change projections for the region.
When asked about the importance of climate change to the operations of SCASPA, Mr. Burke shared, “climate change is important because all of SCASPA’s assets are at risk to the projected impacts. These impacts would also affect more than 70% of the population in the Caribbean region since most the region’s population and economic resources are within 2km of the coastline.
Based on the research, recommendations were made to assist SCASPA in developing an adaptive strategy for threats using policy options as well as infrastructure upgrades and reinforcement.
Mr. Burke indicated that the Meteorology Office is active in mitigating the impact of climate change on the island.
“The Meteorology Office advises SCASPA’s management of adaptive strategies and in the future, the office will provide advice to policy makers on how we can reduce the amount of greenhouse gases we add to the atmosphere or increase the amount we remove through certain initiatives.”
The research presentation was part of SCASPA’s focus on climate change. From all accounts, Mr. Burke and the staff members of the Meteorology Office of SCASPA will continue to lead in initiatives and research on climate change and its impacts on the island of St. Kitts.