Virgin Island History

The Virgin Islands Climate Change Green Paper Prepared by the Conservation and Fisheries Department, Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour Author: Angela Burnett Penn August 2010 ii | P a g e The Virgin Islands Climate Change Green Paper Prepared by the Conservation and Fisheries Department, Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour Author: Angela Burnett Penn August 2010 CONTENTS FOREWORD …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… PREFACE ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 2 The Green Paper – Purpose and Origins ………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 2 How to Read the Green Paper ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 3 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS………………………………………………………………………………………………………… INTRODUCTION…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 5 Climate Change – What Is It? ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 5 Why Care About Climate Change? …………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 8 Climate Change Impact Areas ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 0 The Virgin Islands Vulnerability and Adaptation Potential ……………………………………………………………………….. 11 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY ……………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 12 The Virgin Islands Context ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 12 Projected Changes in Climate ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 3 Climate Changes Happening Now ………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 14 Potential and Existing Climate Change Impacts ……………………………………………………………………………………… 15 Institutional, Legal & Management Arrangements for Responding……………………………………………………………. 17 Towards an Adaptation Strategy …………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 8 Climate Change Adaptation Options …………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 19 1. 0¦ THE VIRGIN ISLANDS CONTEXT ………………………………………………………………………………. 29 1. 1 ¦Location …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 29 1. 2 ¦Geography and Topography ………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 0 1. 3 ¦Climate and Natural Hazards ……………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 31 1. 4 ¦Natural Resources ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 34 Plants (Flora) ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 34 ii | P a g e

Moist Forests…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 34 Dry Forests ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 34 Woodlands ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 4 Shrublands ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 35 Animals (Fauna) …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 35 Mammals ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 5 Reptiles and Amphibians…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 35 Birds ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 35 Coastal and Marine Resources……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 6 Salt Ponds ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 37 Mangroves ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 38 Beaches ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 8 Seagrass Beds ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 38 Coral Reefs ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 39 Marine Wildlife ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 39 1. ¦Economy ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 41 1. 6 ¦Population and Infrastructure Centres ………………………………………………………………………………………….. 44 2. 0¦ PROJECTED AND EXISTING CHANGES IN CLIMATE ………………………………………………. 45 3. 0¦POTENTIAL AND EXISTING CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACTS ……………………………………… 47 3. ¦Beach & Shoreline Stability …………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 51 3. 2¦Coastal & Marine Ecosystems ………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 54 3. 3 ¦Critical Infrastructure & Human Settlements ………………………………………………………………………………….. 58 3. 4 ¦Energy Security………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 65 3. ¦Food Security: Agriculture & Fisheries …………………………………………………………………………………………… 68 3. 6¦Forestry & Biodiversity ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 74 3. 7 ¦Human Health …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 77 3. 8¦Insurance & Banking …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 0 3. 9¦Tourism …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 82 3. 10 ¦Water Resources & Hydrological Characteristics …………………………………………………………………………… 87 Combined Impacts …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 90 4. 0 ¦PRIORITISING CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACTS …………………………………………………………… 1 5. 0¦ INSTITUTIONAL, LEGAL & MANAGEMENT ARRANGEMENTS FOR RESPONDING 99 iii | P a g e 5. 1¦Institutional Framework ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 99 5. 2¦Legal Framework ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 100 5. 3¦Management Framework …………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 02 National Integrated Development Strategy (NIDS)………………………………………………………………………………….. 102 National Environmental Action Plan (NEAP) …………………………………………………………………………………………… 103 Protected Areas System Plan 2007-2017 ……………………………………………………………………………………………….. 103 Physical Development Approval Process ……………………………………………………………………………………………….. 04 National Disaster Management Plan …………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 106 Mitigation and Development Planning Framework …………………………………………………………………………………. 106 Important Management Gaps ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 107 6. 0¦ TOWARDS AN ADAPTATION STRATEGY ……………………………………………………………… 108 6. ¦The Regional Perspective …………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 109 6. 2¦The Adaptation Strategy Development Process …………………………………………………………………………….. 110 6. 3¦Public Knowledge and the Adaptation Process………………………………………………………………………………. 110 6. 4¦ A Vision for The Virgin Islands – Successful Adaptation to Climate Change ………………………………………… 11 6. 5¦Appropriate Adaptation Options ……………………………………………………………………………………………….. 112 6. 6¦Funding Adaptation…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 121 7. 0 ¦ SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS …………………………………………………………………………….. 123 APPENDIX A¦ CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION OPTIONS ………………………………………… 25 Beach & Shoreline Stability ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 127 Coastal & Marine Ecosystems ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 132 Critical Infrastructure ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 139 Energy Security ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 51 Food Security: Agriculture ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 155 Food Security: Fisheries ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 163 Forestry & Biodiversity …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 167 Human Health…………………………………………………………….. …………………………………………………………………. 173 Human Settlements …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 182 Insurance & Banking ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 192 iv | P a g e Tourism …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 95 Water Resources & Hydrological Characteristics …………………………………………………………………………………… 209 APPENDIX B ¦ ADAPTATION OPPORTUNITIES & CONSTRAINTS …………………………….. 218 Beach & Shoreline Stability ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 219 Coastal & Marine Ecosystems ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 20 Critical Infrastructure ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 222 Energy Security ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 224 Food Security: Agriculture ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 26 Food Security: Fisheries ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 227 Forestry & Biodiversity …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 228 Human Health…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 29 Human Settlements …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 230 Insurance & Banking ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 231 Tourism …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 232 Water Resources & Hydrological Characteristics …………………………………………………………………………………… 34 APPENDIX C ¦ GEOGRAPHY & TOPOGRAPHY OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS ………………….. 235 APPENDIX D ¦ NATURAL HAZARDS IN THE VIRGIN ISLANDS …………………………………… 238 APPENDIX E ¦LOCATION OF CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE IN THE VIRGIN ISLANDS ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 247 APPENDIX F ¦ SUMMARY OF ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS RELEVANT TO CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION & MITIGATION …………………………………………………………………………. 51 APPENDIX G¦ DEPARTMENTS / AGENCIES RELEVANT TO CLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 256 REFERENCES……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 259 v|Page List of Figures Figure 1. Past and predicted changes in average global temperatures under different greenhouse gas emission scenarios……………………………………………………………………………………………6 Figure 2.

The Greenhouse Effect……………………………………………………………………………………………….. 7 Figure 3. Climate change impact areas……………………………………………………………………………………. 10 Figure 4. Location of The Virgin Islands (U. K. ) in the Caribbean Sea…………………………………………29 Figure 5. The islands of The Virgin Islands (U. K. )………………………………………………………………………30 Figure 6. Changes in total annual precipitation in The Virgin Islands, 1918 to 1994, as measured at Paraquita Bay, Tortola………………………………………………………………………31 Figure 7. The coastal resources of The Virgin Islands………………………………………………………………. 37 Figure 8.

Growth in The Virgin Islands tourist arrivals, 1999-2008……………………………………………43 Figure 9. Growth in The Virgin Islands tourist expenditure, 1999-2008……………………………………43 Figure 10. Overview of the development control process………………………………………………………105 Figure C1. Tortola’s topography…………………………………………………………………………………………….. 235 Figure C2. Slopes of Tortola……………………………………………………………………………………………………236 Figure C3. Virgin Gorda’s topography……………………………………………………………………………………. 236 Figure C4. Anegada’s topography………………………………………………………………………………………….. 237 Figure C5. Jost Van Dyke’s topography………………………………………………………………………………….. 37 Figure D1. Multiple hazard risk distribution in The Virgin Islands……………………………………………238 Figure D2. Wind hazard distribution across The Virgin Islands………………………………………………. 239 Figure D3. Landslide potential in Tortola………………………………………………………………………………. 240 Figure D4. Tortola landslide zones…………………………………………………………………………………………. 241 vi | P a g e Figure D5. Tortola storm surge hazard……………………………………………………………………………………242 Figure D6. Virgin Gorda storm surge hazard………………………………………………………………………….. 243 Figure D7. Anegada storm surge hazard…………………………………………………………………………………244 Figure D8.

Jost Van Dyke storm surge hazard…………………………………………………………………………245 Figure D9. Flooding on Tortola due to oversaturation during the David Jones Tropical Wave November, 2003………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 246 Figure E1. Location of critical infrastructure on Tortola…………………………………………………………. 247 Figure E2. Location of critical infrastructure on Virgin Gorda…………………………………………………248 Figure E3. Location of critical infrastructure in the Settlement, Anegada………………………………. 249 Figure E4. Location of critical infrastructure on Jost Van Dyke………………………………………………. 250 vii | P a g e

List of Tables Table 1. Potential and existing climate change impacts……………………………………………………………15 Table 2. General guiding adaptation principles and specific adaptation options for climate change impacts……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 20 Table 3. The Virgin Islands vulnerability to hurricanes…………………………………………………………….. 32 Table 4. Estimated losses from hurricanes known to have affected The Virgin Islands from 1916 to 1999………………………………………………………………………………………………………33 Table 5. Virgin Islands Coastal Resources Inventory…………………………………………………………………36 Table 6.

Estimated financial activity for The Virgin Islands, 2008…………………………………………….. 42 Table 7. Estimated distribution of population in The Virgin Islands…………………………………………. 44 Table 8. Key climate changes, impacts, vulnerabilities, and impacted sectors in The Virgin Islands…………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 48 Table 9. “Priority” and “Other” climate change impacts as determined at the Second Public Stakeholder Climate Change Consultation…………………………………………………………………. 92 Table 10. Preferred adaptation actions for priority climate change impacts…………………………113 Table A1.

Climate change adaptation options categories……………………………………………………………………. 125 Table A2. Rating system for climate change adaptation options…………………………………………………………. 126 Table A3. Implementation timeframes for climate change adaptation options…………………………………. 126 viii | P a g e Foreword Although we do not consciously think about it, climate shapes our world, and the relatively stable climate that has nurtured the growth of modern civilization is now changing quite rapidly. The Caribbean region is one of the most threatened by the phenomenon known as climate change.

Climate change is not just an environmental issue – it affects the foundations on which this Territory is built. Through various impacts to our natural resources, increases in severe weather events and disease, sea level rise and more, climate change will have serious consequences for our economy, way of life, health and wellness. Honourable Omar W. Hodge Minister for Natural Resources and Labour We, therefore, can not afford to simply wait and hope for solutions from the international community – we must be proactive and seek to develop strategies to adapt to climate change impacts now.

The Virgin Islands Climate Change Green Paper is an important tool in charting our islands’ response to climate change. Climate change by its very nature requires a strong bottom-up or community approach. Government can not simply sit behind closed doors and decide what the problems are and the best solutions. A dialogue with the stakeholders most affected is integral to developing adaptation and education strategies that will actually be implemented and work. I encourage everyone to read The Virgin Islands Climate Change Green Paper and become more informed about climate change, its local impacts and possible strategies for responding.

Most importantly, armed with this information, I urge you to join the significant conversation about our collective future that is happening now by engaging in the climate change public consultation process. 1|Page PREFACE THE GREEN PAPER – PURPOSE AND ORIGINS Climate change affects us all and it takes an informed citizenry to react. The Virgin Islands Climate Change Green Paper has been produced to help the general public and policy makers learn more about the emerging issue of climate change and its projected impacts locally.

It is also meant as a precursor to a Climate Change Adaptation Policy and Strategy for The Virgin Islands. The Green Paper identifies and discusses the potential impacts of climate change locally, our vulnerabilities, adaptation options, and the Territory’s capacity to respond. It is hoped that the Green Paper will generate informal discussion about climate change and ultimately put the public and policy makers in a strong position to meaningfully contribute to the development of a Climate Change Adaptation Policy and Strategy through participation in an ongoing public consultation process.

The Climate Change Adaptation Policy and Strategy that is eventually developed out of the Green Paper is meant to ensure that the local impacts of climate change are minimised through proactive planning and protective measures. To be successful, the Adaptation Policy and Strategy should be fully integrated into Territory level planning and policy in all impacted sectors.

In a practical sense, this means that managers and policy makers in tourism and finance, land and critical infrastructure planning, water and electricity, the environment, agriculture and fisheries, health and so forth should all be making decisions about the future with the realities of climate change in mind. The Green Paper is an output of the Enhancing Capacity for Adaptation to Climate Change in the Caribbean UK Overseas Territories (ECACC) Project. The overarching goal of the Project is to build local capacity to plan and implement measures to adapt to climate change within the context of national development planning processes.

ECACC provides funding for climate and ecosystem monitoring, vulnerability and capacity assessments, adaptation strategy development, and public education. ECACC is a three (3) year initiative to be concluded in September 2010 being funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and managed by the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC). The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour is serving as the National Focal Point for the Project and the Conservation and Fisheries Department is serving as the lead technical agency. |Page HOW TO READ THE GREEN PAPER The Green Paper has been written with the general public and policy makers in mind, yet contains a wealth of information useful for a technical audience. The bulk of the main text of the Green Paper (Chapter 3. 0) focuses on identifying and discussing potential and existing climate change impacts across key impact areas (such as tourism, agriculture, fisheries, water resources) identified for the Territory; the following chapter (Chapter 4. 0) prioritises these climate impacts and impact areas.

The main appendix (Appendix A) is a series of tables that set out adaptation options for each impact discussed in the main text, with Appendix B outlining opportunities and constraints that arise from the options discussed. The other sections of the Green Paper provide background information that help to understand the discussion of the impact areas and adaptation options, and the local institutional, legal and management framework in which climate change adaptation will have to take place.

In the main text, each impact area is treated specifically in a separate sub-chapter, allowing a reader to skip directly to any area of interest, such as tourism or agriculture. Additionally, each impact area is discussed in a standard format starting with an introduction to the significance of the impact area, followed by an explanation of the potential and existing climate change impacts, and ending with a discussion of existing factors that complicate the climate change impacts or our ability to address them.

In Appendix A, the adaptation options are also presented in a standard format. Each impact area is treated in its own table in the same order as presented in the main text. Within each table, a series of adaptation options, supporting activities, and timelines are presented for each potential or existing impact identified for that impact area. This makes it easy for a reader to focus on the area or areas of interest. 3|Page Acknowledgements

The Conservation and Fisheries Department and Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour would like to thank all those Government Ministries, Departments and Statutory Bodies that reviewed and commented on various sections of The Virgin Islands Climate Change Green Paper including, British Virgin Islands Fisheries Complex, British Virgin Islands Tourist Board, Department of Agriculture, Department of Disaster Management, Environmental Health Unit, Financial Services Commission, Ministry of Health and Social Development, National Parks Trust, Town and Country Planning Department, and Water and

Sewerage Department. Gratitude is also expressed to the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC), Belize, for the initial guidance provided in the preparation of this document. The Author would like to specially acknowledge Ms. Lynda Varlack, former Environmental Education Officer at the Conservation and Fisheries Department, for her significant initial contributions to this document. 4|Page INTRODUCTION CLIMATE CHANGE – WHAT IS IT? In basic terms, climate change is exactly what it sounds like – a change in the Earth’s climate, the long term average weather conditions for various regions.

Climate change is an issue of much global debate, and has been described by many as “the defining challenge of our time”. To provide the world with a clear scientific view on the current state of climate change and its potential environmental and socio-economic consequences, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was established by the United Nations. The IPCC defines climate change as “a change in the state of the climate that can be identified (e. g. using statistical tests) by changes in the mean and/or the variability of its properties, and that persists for an extended period, typically decades or longer.

It refers to any change in climate over time, whether due to natural variability or as a result of human activity” (Pachauri, R. K. , Reisinger, A. & Core Writing Team, 2007). Over its extensive history, the Earth’s climate has gone through many transformations. However, for the first time since modern civilization (which developed in a fairly stable climate) the Earth’s climate is changing in a profound way – the average global temperature is warming at an unprecedented rate triggering changes in other fundamental aspects of our climate.

Over the 100 year period (1906-2005), average global temperatures increased by 0. 74°C (1. 33°F). By the end of this century, the year 2100, average global temperatures are expected to rise another 1. 5°C – 5. 8°C (2. 7°F – 10. 4°F) (Pachauri, R. K. , Reisinger, A. & Core Writing Team, 2007; Taylor et al. , 2007) 5|Page Figure 1. Past and predicted changes in average global temperatures under different greenhouse gas emission scenarios. (Source: IPCC Third Assessment Report).

While these figures may appear to be small, they are actually quite significant in the context of the global climate system where just a few degrees make a big difference in experiences on the ground. This warming characterises the current period of global climate change, thus the phenomenon is commonly referred to as global warming (CANARI, 2008 a). The other novelty about present day global climate change is that humans are primarily responsible for the problem (UNFCCC, 2010).

Since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution (18th Century or 1700s), human activities related to fossil fuel-derived energy use in homes, industry and transportation, as well as agriculture and deforestation have been causing a rapid and excess buildup of carbon dioxide and other “greenhouse gases” such as methane in our atmosphere. These gases act as a huge invisible blanket that is trapping more and more of the sun’s heat within the Earth’s atmosphere, thus causing our average air and ocean temperatures to rise. This is called the enhanced greenhouse effect (UNFCCC, 2010). |Page Figure 2. The Greenhouse Effect. Excess greenhouse gases (heating trapping gases such as carbon dioxide) in the atmosphere are causing the average temperature of the Earth to rise. The science on climate change is clear. In their 2007 Synthesis Report, the IPCC states, “warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice and rising global average sea level” (Pachauri, R. K. , Reisinger, A. & Core Writing Team, 2007).

Contrary to a popular misconception, the ozone hole is not responsible for climate change. There is a limited connection, however, in that in an attempt to fix the ozone hole, the approved replacement chemicals for chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) (the cause of the ozone hole) produce greenhouse gases that contribute a small percentage to climate change. 7|Page Since temperature is a basic control of the Earth’s climate, climate change is not just limited to increasing temperatures, but changes in other fundamental aspects of climate (UNFCCC, 2010).

In the Caribbean region the projected changes of most concern include: Rising temperatures Decreasing overall rainfall, accompanied by a change in rainfall patterns such that more, heavier rain events and thus floods are likely Stronger, more persistent and devastating hurricanes Rising sea level Some changes are already being experienced to varying degrees and will continue to intensify as described under the Projected and Existing Changes in Climate section. WHY CARE ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE?

The Virgin Islands, like all small island developing states, is among the countries that will be the first and worst affected by climate change, as identified by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The Virgin Islands, like all of the Caribbean, is climate sensitive. Whether we are consciously aware of it, our lives and livelihoods revolve around or are closely linked to climate – temperature, rainfall patterns, humidity, the trade winds, and severe events including drought, floods and hurricanes.

Nearly all of our main economic activities (tourism, fisheries, and agriculture) have been developed around traditionally dependable patterns in these key elements of climate or are impacted by climatic events – droughts, floods and hurricanes. We also find that climate has strongly influenced our infrastructure and construction style, our choice of recreation as well as our health and well-being. Taking tourism as an example, a fundamental element of the product is our relatively stable tropical climate, constantly moderated by the Northeast Trade Winds.

Our tourism attractions, primarily nature-based, are directly impacted by even slight changes in weather and cycles of extreme events – coral reefs can bleach with just a 1-2 °C (1. 8-3. 6 °F) rise in ocean temperature above the normal maximum and beaches are highly prone to erosion due to hurricane events and long-term sea level rise. 8|Page In terms of infrastructure and construction style, developments have traditionally not taken into account appropriate building standards, drainage, elevation, and set-back considerations to deal with regular floods, strong hurricanes and storm surges and sea level rise.

Tourism infrastructure and properties, in particular, are concentrated in the low-lying coastal zone where they are very vulnerable to these climate change impacts. Because The Virgin Islands economy and society are so dependent on a relatively stable climate it is highly vulnerable to changes in climate – that is, the present phenomenon known as global climate change. The Virgin Islands is aware of this inherent sensitivity when we experience short term abrupt changes such as droughts and floods, hurricanes, and unusually hot days and nights.

While changes over the long-term occur more slowly, they are more permanent, and unless we take adequate measures to prepare, we remain equally or perhaps more vulnerable to long-term changes in climate such as decreased total rainfall by up to 25% by the 2080s and sea level rise possibly up to 1. 9 feet by the end of the Century. Importantly, predictions about long-term changes in climate include a tendency towards more frequent and or higher impact extreme climatic events, particularly floods and hurricanes. 9|Page

CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACT AREAS The following areas have been identified as aspects of the Territory that could be seriously impacted by climate change. Figure 3. Climate change impact areas. 10 | P a g e THE VIRGIN ISLANDS VULNERABILITY AND ADAPTATION POTENTIAL While climate change impacts are diverse and costly they are also manageable, in most cases through implementation of a variety of well-established environment and development best management practices, and strengthening of existing legislation, policies, institutions and programmes.

The topography of The Virgin Islands, characterised by steep hills and limited flat lands in the interior, has resulted in the majority of the Territory’s critical infrastructure and settlements being located in the low-lying coastal zone. This, together with the Territory’s small size, limited capacity, narrow economic base, and strong dependence on tourism, which is built around fragile coastal and marine resources, makes the islands highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

Studies, including the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change have proven that “the benefits of strong and early action [on climate change] far outweigh the economic costs of not acting” (Stern, 2007). Some of the major constraints that will have to be faced in the adaptation process include, limited financial and human resources, and creating legislative and systemic reforms that institutionalise and integrate climate change adaptation into the Territory’s development policies and planning.

If The Virgin Islands continues to take sustained and early action on addressing climate change, while impacts will be incurred, they can be significantly minimised. In the process the Territory can take advantage of the opportunities presented to improve environmental management and the development planning process, reduce our inherent vulnerabilities to natural disasters and external shocks, diversify our tourism and energy portfolios, and ultimately increase our security and long-term viability. 11 | P a g e

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY THE VIRGIN ISLANDS CONTEXT The Virgin Islands is comprised of about 60 islands, cays, and rocks that rise from the Puerto Rican Shelf with a total land area of 154 square kilometres (59 square miles). With the exception of the limestone island of Anegada, the islands are dominated by hilly ridges; flat land is scarce and is concentrated in the valley bellies and the narrow coastal zone. The climate is subtropical, moderated by the Northeast Trade Winds and has a distinguishable wet and dry season.

Located directly in the hurricane belt, tropical cyclones are a significant climatic threat while, until recent years, flooding and landslides were traditionally not a concern outside of hurricane events. The Virgin Islands has at least four (4) distinctive vegetative communities – moist forests, dry forests, woodlands, and shrublands that support a diverse group of animals, including island endemics. Coastal and marine habitats are particularly important and primarily include salt ponds, mangroves, beaches, seagrass meadows, and coral reefs and are home to an extremely diverse marine wildlife community.

The Virgin Islands enjoys a relatively stable and prospering service-based economy, dominated by tourism and the financial services sectors. In 2008, tourist expenditure was estimated at some $552. 43 million; the industry accounts for a significant percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) and employment. There are 16 inhabited islands in The Virgin Islands with a total population estimated at 28,882 in 2009. Between 1984 and 1994 the population doubled, largely due to immigration; today population growth and immigration continue to be rapid (DPU, 1999; DPU, 2009b). 12 | P a g e PROJECTED CHANGES IN CLIMATE

In the Caribbean region the projected changes of most concern include: Rising temperatures 1°C – 5°C (1. 8°F – 9°F) warmer by the 2080s under the MediumHigh Carbon Emissions Scenario (Taylor et al. , 2007); Changing rainfall patterns Up to 25% drier by the 2080s under the Medium-High Carbon Emissions scenario, accompanied by a change in rainfall patterns such that more, heavier rain events and thus floods are likely (Taylor et al. , 2007); Stronger, more persistent and devastating hurricanes A greater likelihood of category 4 and 5 hurricanes as is already being observed (Mimura et. l, 2007). Rising sea level 0. 19 – 0. 58 metres (0. 6 – 1. 9 feet) higher sea level by 2100 as a result of warmer ocean temperatures and melting polar glaciers (Mimura et. al, 2007). 13 | P a g e CLIMATE CHANGES HAPPENING NOW While the changes described above would be most noticeable later this century, changes are happening continuously and are already being experienced to varying degrees and will continue to intensify. January 2000 to December 2009 was the warmest decade on record globally since precise measurements began in 1880 (NASA, 2010).

The percentage of days in the Caribbean region having very warm maximum or minimum temperatures has increased considerably since the 1950s, while the percentage of days with cold temperatures has decreased (Taylor et al. , 2007). Many islands across the Caribbean are experiencing generally drier conditions, but more episodes of heavier rain events resulting in flooding (Taylor, et al. , 2007). Records show that the frequency of droughts has “increased significantly” since 1960 and flood events have increased since the mid 1990s (Taylor et al. , 2007).

From October 2009 to at least May 2010, the majority of Caribbean islands experienced severe drought, the worst ever seen in many cases (BBC, 2010). Over the period 1990-2004 compared to the period 1975-1989, the number of categories 4 and 5 storms in the South-West Pacific has more than doubled. While the trend has not been as strong in the Caribbean basin, there has been an increase in hurricane activity since 1995 compared to the 1981-2000 baseline, with all except two Atlantic hurricane seasons having above normal activity (Mimura et. al, 2007).

Finally, the average global sea level has been rising steadily, at an average rate of 1. 8 mm/yr since 1961 and at an increased rate of 3. 1mm/yr since 1993 (Pachauri, R. K. , Reisinger, A. & Core Writing Team, 2007). 14 | P a g e POTENTIAL AND EXISTING CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACTS Given the diversity of impacts, it can not be overemphasised that climate change is everyone’s business and a cause for concern and action at every level. Small islands will be among the first and worst affected by climate change as recognised by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the IPCC (CANARI, 2008 b; Mimura et al. 2007; UNFCCC, 2007). Based on the work of the IPCC and local experiences, the potential and existing impacts across various aspects of the Territory (referred to in this Paper as “impact areas”) have been identified and are summarised in Table 1 below and explained in detail in the body of the Green Paper. IMPACT AREAS BEACH & SHORELINE STABILITY COASTAL & MARINE ECOSYSTEMS CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE HUMAN SETTLEMENTS ENERGY SECURITY FOOD SECURITY: AGRICULTURE ? POTENTIAL AND EXISTING CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACTS Increase in beach erosion and shrinkage. Shorelines retreating and more vulnerable to flooding. ? Coral reefs experiencing increased bleaching, structural damage, disease and death. ? Landward migration or inundation of mangroves and increased mortality. ? Decreased growth of seagrass beds and increased stress and mortality. ? Road network, critical facilities, utilities, developable lands and the sewerage system (especially coastal) at greater risk of damage. ? Homes and developable lands (especially those in the coastal zone) at greater risk of damage. Energy generation and distribution system at greater risk of damage. ? Increase in energy costs. Increase in energy use for cooling. ? ? ? ? ? ? Decrease in agricultural yield (or increased costs of production) due to decrease in rainwater. Increase in agricultural pests, weeds, diseases and invasive species. Soil degradation, resulting in reduced yield. Increase in crop damage and disruption of production cycles. Increased stress to livestock, resulting in decreased productivity. Changes in imported food availability, cost and quality. 15 | P a g e FOOD SECURITY: FISHERIES ? ? ? ? Loss of critical fish habitat and changes in plankton food resources. Migration of some fish species to cooler waters. Potential changes in spawning opportunities and rates of mortality and disease. Increase in opportunities for establishment of marine invasive species. Increased damage to landing sites, on-shore facilities, boats and equipment. Decline in health and abundance of marine resources. Decline in turtle nesting activity and creation of long-term reproduction issues. Shrinking upland forests and reduction of associated biodiversity.

Disruption of bird migration and reproduction patterns. Increased mortality. Increase in opportunities for establishment of invasive species. Increase in Dengue Fever outbreaks (frequency and severity). Increase in prevalence of ciguatera (fish poisoning). Increase in respiratory diseases, such as asthma. Increase in risk of diarrhea and other environmentally transmitted illnesses. Increased potential for heat stress. Increase in risk of damage to health care facilities. Greater threat of epidemics and pandemics. FORESTRY & BIODIVERSITY ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? HUMAN HEALTH

INSURANCE & BANKING TOURISM ? Increased insurance rates, potentially leading to uninsurance/under-insurance. ? Increase in interest rates and difficulty in obtaining construction loans. ? Loss of, or more costly damage to, tourism infrastructure and properties. ? Degraded natural attractions, e. g. coral reefs, beaches and wildlife, resulting in reduced demand by tourists. ? Rising overheads in energy, water and insurance. ? Deterrents to travelers, e. g. warmer winters, less comfortable and stable VI climate, higher airfares and increased Dengue Fever outbreaks. More tourists seeking carbon neutral or energy efficient destinations. WATER RESOURCES & HYDROLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS ? Increase in likelihood of flood events. ? Decreased rainwater, leading to greater dependency on the desalinated public water supply and an increased threat of water shortages in emergencies. ? Increase in cost of desalinated water. Table 1. Potential and existing climate change impacts. 16 | P a g e INSTITUTIONAL, LEGAL & MANAGEMENT ARRANGEMENTS FOR RESPONDING Adapting to climate change will require an ongoing collaborative effort between Government, the private sector and communities.

There are at least seventeen (17) Government Departments and Statutory Bodies among all five Ministries and the Governor’s Office that will be integral in the Territory’s adaptation to climate change. The capacity of these to respond is limited by technical expertise, funding and equipment, law enforcement powers, relatively weak data collection and management systems, and poor communication and information flow. In addition, there are several Territory level inter-agency committees or bodies whose portfolios allow them to have a direct influence on policies and decisions relevant to climate change adaptation.

These are the Inter-agency Planning Review Committee (Pre-Planning Authority), Planning Authority, Building Authority, Technical Review Committee, Health Services Authority, and Disaster Management Council. There is a lot to be desired in the legal framework, especially that governing the environment and physical development. The Law Reform Commission has identified environmental law as one of the priority areas for reform and towards that end has drafted a comprehensive Environmental Management and Conservation of Biodiversity Bill (2008) still up for review by the House of Assembly.

The Bill fills many existing gaps in coastal resources protection and waste management, and if passed would go a long way towards improved environmental management and climate change adaptation. The Building Regulations, 1999 and Development Control Guidelines, 1972 currently in use are outdated; however, new planning regulations are being formulated to accompany the Physical Planning Act 2004. Enforcement of planning and building legislation is in need of improvement.

Key existing management plans, policies and processes in the areas of the environment, physical planning and disaster management are: National Integrated Development Strategy (NIDS; 1999-2003) National Environmental Action Plan (NEAP, 2004) Protected Areas System Plan (2007-2017) Physical development approval process (inclusive of an environmental impact assessment, EIA, process) National Disaster Plan (2009) Disaster Mitigation and Development Planning Framework (2002) 7 | P a g e Key management gaps in these areas are: A comprehensive Coastal Management Plan Specific management plans for beaches (work is currently ongoing in this area) A sustainable management programme for fish stocks Management plans for Fisheries Protected Areas A comprehensive Land Use and Physical Development Plan inclusive of zoning (draft prepared in 2009) TOWARDS AN ADAPTATION STRATEGY

Locally, many institutions, a body of legislation, policies and programmes exist and can be built upon to ensure effective climate change adaptation, which in large part boils down to seriously implementing the measures and precautions long identified to protect ecosystems, build resilience in key industries, and develop wisely, especially in the coastal zone (CANARI, 2008 a). Climate change adaptation refers to any action to minimise or adjust to the local impacts (as described above) of climate change (UNFCCC, 2009 a).

While there is some overlap, it is distinct from climate change mitigation which refers to efforts to tackle the cause of climate change, that is, to reduce the amount of “greenhouse gases” in our atmosphere (UNFCCC, 2009 b). In 2009, CARICOM signed the Liliendaal Declaration on Climate Change and Development that prioritises adaptation while insisting that mitigation be part of the regional climate change strategy (CARICOM, 2009).

The Climate Change Green Paper is intended to facilitate the creation of The Virgin Islands Climate Change Adaptation Policy and Strategy through a series of public consultations in 2009 and 2010 in which stakeholders will help to crystallise specific sectoral climate change impacts, prioritise impacts and develop appropriate strategies for responding. The resulting draft Climate Change Adaptation Policy and Strategy (White Paper) will be submitted to Cabinet for approval.

If approved, it should affect all relevant decision making processes to deliver on the vision of sustainable development (expounded on in the Green Paper) given the new reality of climate change. Heightened public knowledge will be critical in building support for proactive adaptation measures. While the science of climate change adaptation is still developing, there are some established principles. Adaptation measures should: preferably be “no regrets” measures that are necessary or beneficial in any event, be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time bound), 18 | P a g e ake an ecosystem-centred approach, consider the many interacting issues, be in harmony with each other, promote the integration of new technologies, and be integrated / mainstreamed into sectoral and Territory-level management plans and decision making. The full cost climate change adaptation is still being assessed for the Caribbean. What is known, however, is that climate change impacts will be extremely expensive and that it is more cost effective to adapt early than to accept losses (CANARI, 2008 a).

Analysis from the Caribbean has shown that reconstruction costs can be as much as 40% of the original investment (CANARI, 2008 a). A World Bank report, for example, roughly estimates that the Caribbean could spend $1. 3 billion by 2050 replacing hotel rooms lost as a result of sea level rise alone (Margaree Consultants, 2002). It is also well established that adaptation measures should be taken as early as possible to minimise associated costs and maximise effectiveness. Adaptation to climate change will require a sustained input of resources (financial, technological, and human) above that available locally.

The Territory’s constitutional status, however, excludes access to the billions of dollars and other assistance provided by the international community under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC). There is, therefore, a need for the United Kingdom to support a long-term programmatic approach to addressing climate change in the Overseas Territories. The Virgin Islands, however, should be proactive in its own interest by looking inward for adaptation financing opportunities. CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION OPTIONS

The following table summarises the general guiding climate change adaptation principles and specific adaptation options proposed for each impact identified across the twelve (12) impact areas. Impacts highlighted with 3, 2, or 1 yellow stars have been identified by stakeholders as first, second and third tier priorities for action, respectively. That is, an impact with 3 stars is a first tier priority and so forth. Adaptation options have been developed in collaboration with respective Government agencies and refined with input from the public stakeholder consultation process thus far.

Each option is rated as either a “preferred action” (PA), “acceptable alternative” (AA), or “last resort action” (LRA). In Appendix A these adaptation options are expounded on, including identifying the relevant adaptation category, supporting activities, and time-frame for action. 19 | P a g e Impact Areas and Potential and Existing Climate Change Impacts General Guiding Adaptation Principles and Specific Adaptation Options BEACH & SHORELINE STABILITY ? Avoid undermining natural beaches/shorelines or creating vulnerable man-made ones. Protect beaches and vulnerable shorelines with natural defences where practical. ? Allow for natural adjustments in beaches/shorelines as sea level rises, unless it would pose danger or too significant a loss. Develop and implement beach management plans. (PA) Increase beach monitoring activities. (PA) Increase fines for violations of the Beach Protection Ordinance. (PA) Improve and strictly enforce planning and building laws/regulations, especially increasing coastal development setbacks. PA) Educate construction industry about environmentally-friendly practices for the coast. (PA) Encourage (incentives, ideas) “soft” developments along beaches/vulnerable shorelines. (PA) Increase protection and restoration of shallow reefs that act as coastal defences. (PA) Strongly protect all remaining significant mangrove forests. (PA) Invest in “soft” protective measures (such as mangroves) along vulnerable shorelines. (PA) If necessary, invest in “hard” engineering structures along vulnerable shorelines. LRA) Beach re- nourishment (mechanically replace beach sand that has eroded). (LRA) Where practical, elevate critical, undeveloped, low-lying shorelines to buffer them from erosion/flooding resulting from sea level rise. (LRA) ? Enhance the resilience and natural adaptive capacity of coastal and marine ecosystems by increasing protections and reducing local impacts. Sea level rise and stronger hurricanes and storm surges causing: Increased beach erosion and shrinkage; Shoreline erosion and increased flood risk to lowlying coastal areas. – COASTAL & MARINE ECOSYSTEMS

Coral reefs experiencing increased bleaching, structural damage, disease and death due to increased ocean temperatures, ocean acidification, and more intense hurricane events and storm surges. Improve management of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). (PA) Implement a rotating system of closure (recovery periods) for reefs. (PA) Decrease damage from divers and snorkelers by introducing mandatory orientations. (PA) Decrease anchor damage – mandate an orientation for skippers and bareboat charters, implement stricter controls on mega yacht/small cruise ship anchoring, and increase capacity and maintenance of the buoy system and mandate its use. PA) Decrease sedimentation – require timely paving of roads/driveways, create permit system for the regrading of roads and land clearing, restrict vegetation clearing to the construction footprint and require timely landscaping, and improve capture and reuse of stormwater. (PA) Decrease marine nutrient pollution – improve sewage management through constructing tertiary treatment systems and pump out stations. Decrease agricultural runoff. (PA) Increase monitoring of coral reefs. (PA) Increase public awareness about coral reefs. PA) Develop coral nurseries to repair damaged reefs and rear species resilient to bleaching. (PA) Create artificial reefs where suitable. (AA) Use low-voltage electrical current to stimulate coral reef regrowth (AA). 20 | P a g e Landward migration or inundation of mangroves. Increase in mortality from stronger hurricanes. Decreased growth of seagrass beds and increased stress and mortality. Strongly protect all remaining significant mangrove forests. (PA) Expand and enhance the mangrove re-forestation programme. (PA) Land use planning to allow room for landward migration of mature mangrove forests. PA) Shelter young mangroves from storm surges by protecting natural coral reefs and, where suitable, constructing artificial reefs in priority areas. (PA) Enhance legal protections for seagrass beds. (PA) Protect seagrass beds from high-energy waves by protecting coral reefs. (PA) CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE Road network (especially coastal) at greater risk of damage from floods, stronger storm surges, and sea level rise. ? Enhance the resilience of existing critical infrastructure to climate impacts. ? Avoid building new infrastructure in areas or with materials vulnerable to climate hazards.

Improve drainage of roads and surrounding areas, especially in flood prone areas – improve road drainage design and construction; improve land use planning; minimise land clearing and creation of impervious surfaces; utilise pervious concrete or porous pavement; and clean, prune and monitor ghuts instead of lining with concrete. (PA) Start concerted reforestation programme to reduce storm water run-off and erosion. (PA) Reinforce undermined roads and improve road cutting techniques. (PA) Continue to build safe, high volume alternative road network through islands’ interior. PA) Avoid building new roads in areas vulnerable to stronger storm surges and sea level rise. (PA) Elevate critical areas of the coastal road network that are particularly vulnerable (where no alternative route exists/ is feasible). (LRA) Improve drainage around critical facilities and developable lands through the measures described above for roads. (PA) Ensure “climate-proof” structures by improving construction standards – overhaul outdated building regulations, retrofit existing structures, and improve surveillance and enforcement of planning and building laws/regulations and approval conditions. PA) Ensure adequate insurance of critical facilities against climate hazards. (PA) Enhance hurricane preparedness of critical facilities. (PA) Improve management of and increase the Disaster Relief Fund. (PA) Increase minimum elevation requirement above the high water mark for reclamations. (PA) Plan for future relocation of facilities at risk to sea level rise and stronger storm surges. (PA) Invest in “soft” measures (e. g. mangroves) to protect existing vulnerable facilities and developable lands. (PA) Where feasible, in highly vulnerable areas, establish “no build areas” for critical facilities. PA) If “no build area” is unfeasible, mandate proper elevation of buildings’ foundations and other safeguards in vulnerable areas. (AA) If necessary invest in ‘hard” engineering structures (e. g. sea walls) to help protect existing vulnerable critical facilities. (LRA) Critical facilities and developable lands (especially those in the coastal zone) at greater risk of damage from floods, stronger hurricanes and storm surges, and sea level rise. 21 | P a g e Critical utilities at greater risk of damage from floods, stronger hurricanes and storm surges, and sea level rise.

Sewerage system at greater risk of damage from stronger storm surges and floods. Improve drainage around critical utilities, e. g. the main electricity generation plant at Pockwood Pond. (PA) Continue to improve construction standards. (PA) Bury electrical lines where determined to be strategic. (PA) Plan for future relocation of utilities at risk to sea level rise and stronger storm surges. (PA) Avoid siting buildings for critical utilities in vulnerable areas. (PA) Minimise stormwater entering sewerage collection system through improved drainage. PA) Implement the National Sewerage Plan – including overhaul of the sewerage system in the greater Road Town area to handle large volumes of stormwater in flood events, and use of water-tight manholes and materials able to withstand stronger storm surges. (PA) ? Enhance the resilience of the electricity generation and distribution system. ? Implement policies to reduce energy use and encourage greater energy independence. Improve drainage around the main electricity generation plant at Pockwood Pond. (PA) Ensure existing and new facilities are “climate ready. “(PA) Bury electrical lines where determined to be strategic. PA) Plan for the future relocation or retrofitting of electricity generation stations and sub-stations that will be inundated by sea level rise and stronger storm surges. (PA) Avoid siting new electrical stations in vulnerable areas. (PA) Diversify energy portfolio to include alternative energies (especially solar and small wind). (PA) Start Territory-wide solar water heater programme. (PA) Implement energy conservation policies and programmes. (PA) Develop and enforce energy efficiency standards. (PA) Incorporate “green” design into buildings, e. g. natural cooling and lighting systems. PA) Encourage use of more efficient cooling systems (and proper maintenance of systems). (PA) ? Expand and increase resilience of local agricultural production (with policies that encourage water efficiency, environmental sensitivity, technology and local capacity building). Increase efficiency of irrigation systems and techniques. (PA) Use water conservation measures and mulching practices. (PA) Enhance infrastructure for water capture and storage for agricultural purposes. (PA) Integrate less water intensive methods, e. g. greenhouses and organic recirculation hydroponics. PA) Focus on drought-resistant and high value crops. (AA) Enhance use of groundwater resources for farming. (AA) ENERGY SECURITY Electricity system at greater risk of damage from floods, stronger hurricanes and storm surges, and sea level rise. Increase in fossil fuel derived energy costs. Increase in energy use for cooling. FOOD SECURITY: AGRICULTURE Decrease in agricultural yield (or increased cost of production) due to decreased overall rainfall. 22 | P a g e Increase in agricultural pests, weeds, diseases and invasive species due to increased concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2), warmer soils and changes in humidity.

Increased stress to livestock from heat, drought and disease. Soil de

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