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Greenhouse Gas Emissions And Constraints To Mitigation In The Small Island States Of The Caribbean


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B. Singh


Greenhouse gas emissions and constraints to mitigation in the small island states of the Caribbean B. Singh Departement de geographie, Universite de Montreal, Montreal, Canada Abstract Based on analyses done in the preparation of their National Communications, GHG inventories for several Caribbean countries including, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago are presented. Except for Trinidad and Tobago that is fairly industrialized, GHG emissions derive mainly from the Energy sector, with the energy industries and transportation sub-sectors being the most important. In the case of Haiti, massive deforestation has led to important CO2 emissions. Not accounting for natural sinks, most Caribbean countries still turn out to be net removers of C02. Emissions of non-CO2 gases, except for Trinidad and Tobago are minimal. The relatively low levels of GHG emissions, the under developed economies and the lack of in-house environmentally sound clean technologies therefore make it very difficult for the Small Island States of the Caribbean to seriously consider GHG mitigation measures, especially in view of the prohibitive costs of such abatement measures. 1 Introduction On account of anthropogenic activities worldwide relating mainly to industrialization and land use, and driven by population growth and consumerism, the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases (GHG’s) has been increasing at an alarming rate, so much so as to enhance the greenhouse effect of the planet and to cause regional climate and climate-related global changes. The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) Third Assessment Report (TAR: IPCC, 2001) claims that there is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities. Furthermore, Small Island States like those of the Caribbean are highly vulnerable to climate change because of their small size (and low elevation in many cases), relative isolation, high population growth rates and relatively high incidence of poverty, which increase their sensitivity to climate change and limit their adaptive capacity.