The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) is calling on the global community to support the Caribbean Community’s (CARICOM) position advocating for a cap on the world’s temperature rise at 1.5 degrees Centigrade as part of their deliberations during the United Nations Climate Change Conference currently taking place in Paris.
In a letter to Dr. James Fletcher, chairman of CARICOM Task Force on Climate Change, CHTA Acting President Karolin Troubetzkoy strongly supported CARICOM’s call for a binding agreement on climate change.
“Considering the significant research conducted to demonstrate trend lines and forecasted impact of climate change on the world’s most vulnerable countries, CHTA fully supports the position being advanced by the CARICOM Task Force,” Troubetzkoy said.
She said that many developed and newly industrialized countries are prepared to settle for a 2025 climate change of a two-degree increase, “which would negatively impact CARICOM countries and the broader Caribbean basin.”
CHTA said research has pointed to the devastating consequences for the Caribbean from a two-degree rise in temperature.
A report conducted by CARIBSave for CARICOM estimates that a two-degree global temperature increase would result in a major displacement of coastal and urban population centers.
CHTA said many of the region’s beaches, resorts, airports, seaports, power plants and roads could disappear or incur significant damage.
CARICOM’s Climate Change Task Force also pointed to the land mass losses in the region’s 20 member CARICOM states.
It pointed to a rise in sea levels that would result in about 1,300 square kilometers of land area being lost.
This would be equivalent to the combined areas of Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla, Barbados and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, CHTA said.
It said that when one extends the impact to 15 additional Caribbean Basin states that are not part of CARICOM, including Cuba and the Dominican Republic, the regional impact is far greater.
“Based upon these estimations, the social-economic consequences to the Caribbean would be catastrophic,” said CHTA, adding that the consequences to the region’s economies would be “severe, affecting employment levels, government revenue and diverting precious limited resources by states that are already facing vulnerable debt to GDP (gross domestic product) ratios, to infrastructure and mitigation efforts.”
CHTA said that it supports the position being advanced by the CARICOM Task Force, which calls for a binding agreement by the world’s nations, recognizing the special circumstances of the Caribbean and Small Island Developing States (SIDS), mitigating the impact of climate change by adopting measures that are aimed at restricting a rise in global temperature below 1.5 degrees Centigrade above pre-industrial levels, and providing technical and financial resources supporting research and mitigation measures to counter losses.
Troubetzkoy said CHTA is “working on several fronts to create a more sustainable tourism industry.”
With the support of the Inter-American Development Bank, she said detailed energy efficiency audits have been conducted on over 150 regional hotels.
Troubetzkoy said many of the region’s hotels have put energy efficiency measures in-place, and that the industry has advanced training, policies and incentives that support greater efficiencies and lower carbon footprints.
Additionally, she said CHTA and many of the region’s national hotel and tourism associations have developed and promoted readiness and response plans to minimize the impact from weather-related disasters.
CHTA said it is a federation of 32 national hotel associations, with more than 600 member hotels and over 300 allied members.
It said it is the largest representative of the private sector in the Caribbean hotel and tourism industry.