Publication Date

2017-05-08

Availability

Embargoed

Embargo Period

2019-05-08

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Geography (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense

2017-04-07

First Committee Member

José Maria Cardoso da Silva

Second Committee Member

Shivangi Prasad

Third Committee Member

Thomas D. Boswell

Fourth Committee Member

Ana Carolina Carnaval

Fifth Committee Member

Helenilza Ferreira Albuquerque Cunha

Abstract

The Caribbean is predicted to be one of the most impacted regions by climate change. However, the impacts of climate change will not be uniformly felt across the region due to the inherent geographic properties and unique socioeconomic characteristics that define each nation individually. This thesis has two goals. First, the vulnerability of thirteen island-nations in the Caribbean to future climate change is estimated by combining indicators of green infrastructure, socioeconomic infrastructure, and future climate change risks. Second, the contribution of five explanatory variables (GDP per capita, population density, land area size, political stability, and years of independence) to the variation in climate change vulnerability among island-nations across the Caribbean is evaluated. The study reveals that none of the Caribbean island-nations are well prepared to face the challenges of future climate change. The most vulnerable Caribbean nation to climate change is Trinidad & Tobago and the least vulnerable nation is Cuba. The study also found that the five explanatory variables are weak predictors of vulnerability among Caribbean island-nations, a result that challenges some generalizations proposed at the global scale. Overall, the findings demonstrate that geographic location is a major driver of each nations' vulnerability to climate change rather than the presence of adequate green and socioeconomic infrastructure. Island-nations in the Caribbean should move quickly to incorporate climate change concerns into their national policies if they aim to increase their resilience to an ever-changing climate.

Keywords

Caribbean; climate change; vulnerability; infrastructure; geographic variation

Available for download on Wednesday, May 08, 2019

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