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Impact Of First Three Emission Scenarios On Maritime Transport


Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and climate change go hand in hand, and the latter remains one of the hottest debates of the 21st century. Climate science argues that the period that saw the development of steam engines that played an integral role in the conversion of fossil fuels into the movement of machinery and wheels marked the end of the era of pre-industrialization, and set the stage for human activities that caused alterations of the natural greenhouse effect. In simpler terms, the interference of the natural greenhouse effect that later saw the initiation of climate change began during the period of industrial revolution. Although there have been frequent tags of war and conflicts about the causes of greenhouse gas emissions, evidently, human-led activities have remained key factors in the climate change witnessed in the world today. Apparently, the transportation sector initiated by humans has to a large extent contributed to climate change by emitting a wide variety of gases and aerosols that have greatly influenced climate both directly and indirectly through chemical and physical mechanisms involved in the sector. A mention of GHG emissions in the global transport sector implies that they are mainly from mobile air conditioners (MAC) in public service vehicles or cooling and freezing systems of goods while on transportation from one place to another. This underlines the fact that in a bid to eradicate GHG emissions, various countries have stressed on the reduction of the number of public service motor vehicles. Greenhouse gas emissions impact several sectors of the global economy such as transportation, tourism, construction, trade, health, energy transmission, water services, agriculture and others. One of the major areas of concern is the extent to which GHG emissions have led to climate change that has seriously jeopardized Maritime transport, and by extension, the imports and exports from various countries such as Barbados have been seriously affected.

To determine the impacts of climate change in the future, people need to have a clear understanding and idea about how greenhouse gases are concentrated in the atmosphere in the coming years. This brings to the limelight the emission scenarios that describe the future releases of greenhouse gases and other pollutants in the atmosphere.

The reason for the existence of transportation networks globally is to ensure that the movement of people as well as goods from one country or place to another is facilitated, and this is one of the major factors that contribute to the economic development of Barbados through exportation and importation.

The demand or need for the transport networks in the Maritime is determined by demographic and economic aspects that facilitate the provision of access to economic resources as well as facilitating integration. With this in mind, it is important that the global community should understand and learn more about the situation in the Maritime regions if they are to address or solve the negative impacts of climate change Maritime transport. However, the projected emission scenarios will definitely have both positive and negative impacts on maritime transport, and by extension, this will affect the exports and imports of a country such as Barbados. The first three scenarios are known to describe a future world of very rapid economic growth, global population that increases in the mid-century, though it decreases thereafter. The scenarios also give a description of the rapid introduction of new and efficient technologies in every sector, the transport sector included.

Essentially, a plethora of the studies on the impacts of climate change on transportation especially Maritime transport, have largely been considered as standalone assessments or broader examinations of the impacts of climate. It should be noted that most of these studies are conducted with an eye on the contribution of transportation to climate change through the burning of fossil fuels. With these perspectives in mind, it is noticeable that most of the impacts of climate change on the Maritime transportation systems are as a result of the burning of fossil fuels upheld in the same transportation sector. Thus, if the impacts on the transportation sector were to be addressed, then a serious revolution of the sector itself would be of great benefit.

To begin with, as stipulated in the first three emission scenarios, greenhouse gas emissions will continue with the interference of the climate and this in turn results in extreme weather conditions in the Maritime regions. Apparently, extreme weather conditions that result from climate change in the Maritime regions include intense storms that could cause a serious disruption of transport services and facilities especially at the ports of states found in the Maritime regions. Also, the extreme weather conditions could challenge sailing conditions at the sea and thus could threaten the navigation of ships, crew, and cargo transported through water from one country to another. In the same vein, an experience of difficult sailing conditions caused by extreme weathers could lead to modal shift that may further have negative implications for the efficiency of transportation and infrastructural investment and development in the Maritime regions. These perspectives underline the fact that climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions could greatly jeopardize transport in the Maritime, and thus the exportation and importation of products in Barbados and other countries will be affected.

Notably, sea ports are key components to the existence and operations in any transport sector. Thus, with focus on Maritime transport, the devastating effects of climate change on sea ports in countries falling in Maritime regions cannot be ignored. It should be remembered that seaports together with their hinterland connections that play a crucial role in Maritime transportation sector are vulnerable to the numerous effects of climatic events that are as a result of greenhouse gas emissions. As seen before, climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions cause rise in sea levels, increased frequency and intensity of extreme storm waves, and droughts or river floods. All these combined pose serious threats to sea ports of countries in the Maritime and this in turn deals a blow to the transportation sector. Questions are frequently raised on how the mentioned threats directly affect the sea ports. For instance, a rise in sea levels could cause an acceleration in coastal erosion, ports, and coastal roads, and thus, the negative impacts of climate change especially on sea ports becomes irrefutable. Moreover, the severity of climate change on sea ports can be evident when port and other transport operations such as shipping volumes, storage, warehousing and loading schedules are negatively impacted.

Away from the negative impacts of climate change on Maritime transport, it comes to mind that climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions could in one way or another positively influence Maritime transport. One of the positive impacts of climate change on Maritime transport is associated with the development of shipping routes that facilitate effective and efficient transportation of cargo from one country to another. In essence, greenhouse gas emissions cause climate change that sees rise in global temperatures. The latter, which is a common phenomenon in the Arctic, could lead to the opening up and gradual development of new shipping opportunities in the Maritime region. This is tempered by the fact that the rise in temperatures could cause the melting of the ice sheets in the maritime region as projected for the mid-2070, and the good news is that this could open new shipping routes and opportunities that will enhance infrastructural investment and development of the Maritime regions. It is argued that currently, ships that sail on the global major shipping routes use the Panama Canal, South-east Asian straits, as well as the famous Suez Canal. Continuous emissions of greenhouse gases will cause a rise in sea temperatures, and the melting of ice will be commonly experienced. Therefore, this will in turn lead to opening of the potential Arctic sea lanes for traffic, and the objective of the global transportation sector of saving on distance, time and costs of transport will be realized. Some of the sea routes that could be opened through melting of ice include that between Tokyo and New York, which is approximately 7000 kilometers shorter than that, which goes through the Panama Canal. An eventual implication is that time, fuel, and transit costs the transport sector especially in the Maritime will have been saved.

How emission scenarios could affect other sectors of the Maritime economy

One of the major sectors of significance to the global economy that has been compromised by the gradual climate change resulting from human-influenced activities such as greenhouse gas emissions is trade. The exchange of goods between persons or between countries uses various platforms, and the fact that these platforms have been negatively affected by climate change means that the trade sector itself is at risk. An economic analysis of the Caribbean counties that fall in the Maritime region shows that the countries have a combined nominal GDP of over US $ 60 billion, and this is as a result of the trade relations and associations between the 14 Caribbean countries and others such as the US, and European countries. In as much as the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) manifests a small economic size, the fact that the countries have open economies is very encouraging. However, further economic development in the Caribbean countries could be halted by the gradual and ongoing global climate change. Without a doubt, the climate change could to some extent interfere with agricultural production that provides the largest export platform in the region. This could result in a limited export base that may in turn make the region vulnerable to external shocks such as volatility in the pries of global commodities and the changes of trade policies in foreign countries. The recent years (1998-2009) have seen an increase in external shocks for countries in the Caribbean region. The external shocks range from reduction in aid to dismantling of preferential trade arrangement for sugar and bananas in the region to interventions that are closely related to anti-money laundering and others. Thus, it can be argued that climate change has greatly affected global trade especially in the Caribbean countries, and this has in turn led to high regional unemployment in countries such as Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, Belize and others.

The healthy relationship that exists between global tourism and climate change is an issue of great concern to the modern generation. Without a doubt, tourism holds a special place when it comes to the economic development of various nations worldwide. However, the fact that stakeholders in the global tourism sector make no step towards the eradication and solution of climate change is a pity. An evident challenge for the global tourism sector has been the development of coherent policies aimed at decoupling the excepted growth and development of the sector from the ever increasing greenhouse gas emissions. If such policies were put in place, then the global tourism sector would have played an integral role in the alleviation of global poverty with an eye on the achievement of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It should be noted that greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change have significantly influence the global tourism sector in one way or another. First, climate change especially in the Maritime has resulted in the rise in temperatures and this has fostered a change in environmental attitudes forcing tourists from various destinations to change their travel patterns. This has greatly affected the global tourism sector which contributes to the global economic development. Also, climate change has been seen to cause an increase in the intensity and frequency of hurricanes in coastal regions, and this has caused the damage and loss of infrastructure, disruption of businesses, and creation of negative images of certain regions; hence, tourists are forced to avoid such regions. In this ways, the global tourism sector is seriously affected. Another impact of climate change on global tourism though from a positive standpoint is that it causes increase in temperatures in various regions of the world. As a result, warmer winters and warmer summers are experienced, and this increases seasonal demand for tourists. Climate change and patterns are also seen to cause precipitation patterns that cause a significant reduction of water supply on certain regions, and this ends up jeopardizing the global tourism sector. Also of great significance is the fact that climate change in the modern world has seen various nations and governments come up with mitigation policies that have led to an increase in travel costs and reduction of mobility or tourist demand from key market regions such as Europe and North America.

Energy transmission is one of the sectors that contribute to a large extent to the global economic growth. However, the climate change that is a common phenomenon in the world today affects energy demand and supply. Apparently, it is notable that countries and regions with high or warm temperatures are often associated with an increased use of air conditioning. In such countries, the increase in temperatures results in the decrease in the demand for energy. On the other hand, in areas with low temperatures and cold climates, there is need for artificial warming, and thus, the demand for energy in such regions is higher. Closely related to energy demand is its supply, and similarly, this is influenced by change in climate attributes such as temperature, precipitation, cloudiness, windiness, and others. Undoubtedly, the supply of energy involves energy installations and the development of infrastructure over time. Thus, climate change could result in different hazards such as storms that end up damaging the energy installations and developed infrastructure. This in turn impacts negatively on the supply or transmission of energy from one region to another.

Although water intensive sectors are of great importance to the global economic development, global climate change remains a threat to the sector. As mentioned earlier, climate change causes or results in hazards such as floods and droughts. Research and analyses show that in the recent years, flood damage and destruction account for the losses witnessed by water companies. In fact, flood damage is believed to constitute 33% of the annual economic losses that are caused by natural hazards around the world. From a different perspective, climate change affects water services and supply because when heavy rainfalls are experienced frequently, they may end up overloading the capacity of sewerage systems, water systems, as well as wastewater treatment plants. It should be noted that when the overloading occurs, there will be increased occurrences of low flows that will ultimately lead to pollution of water facilities. In the long run, the global economic development will be affected.

Recreation being a factor contributing to global economic development especially in the recent years has been greatly affected by climate change. Essentially, the modern generation has seen the absence of research on systematic differences of recreational behavior, and this is owed to the differences in climate patterns especially at large spatial scales. It is argued that in case of climate change, there will be a significant increase in temperatures and this will lead to melting of ice and snow and recreational activities such as skiing will become extinct at the expense of others such as boating golfing, and beach recreation.

A matter of concern is also evident in the fact that climate change-related alterations in weather patterns could possibly affect the global health sector by having an impact on infrastructural facilities as well as the delivery of healthcare services from one point to another. The effect on global healthcare sector could in some way affect the global economic development as more funds will be channeled to the rescue of the healthcare sector. In conclusion, it should be noted that not only is the agreement and issue of climate change vital to the Maritime regions, especially the Caribbean, but it is also of great importance to mentioned regions. First, the issue and focus on climate change has to a large extent enabled the Caribbean and similar countries to demonstrate an approach that is more incline to the future as compared to the past. Greater and more focus on climate change and how to halt it will provide a better chance for the countries falling in the Maritime regions to deliver both national and regional developmental objectives. The issue of climate change and its impacts on global economic development are platforms on which the countries in the Maritime regions occupy moral high ground. As mentioned earlier, most of the countries in the Maritime regions threatened by climate change are small-island and low-lying states. For these countries, although climate change is like any other issue, it is existential, and its impacts are felt by other countries that do not fall within the regions in focus. As discussed, one of the major impacts of climate change that results from greenhouse gas emissions is the rise in sea levels and water temperatures. With these, there is no doubt that some of the smallest countries that fall within the Maritime region will suffer first. The sufferance in these countries will be tempered by the negative impacts of climate change on sectors such transport, tourism, construction, trade, health, energy transmission, water services, agriculture and others. An outstanding and existing fact is that climate change together with its causes remains popular in global conventions, conferences and debates. A key agreement is that the major cause of climate change in the world today is human-led activities that result in greenhouse gas emissions that cause an alteration of the natural greenhouse effect. The agreement underlines the acceptance that indeed, the climate together with the environment is changing gradually. Most importantly, in a bid to counteract the continuous and gradual climate change, resource transfer adaptation would be of beneficial to Caribbean countries and others falling with the Maritime region. In essence, there is a need for every nation that falls within the Maritime region together with its people and economy to make huge strides towards the eradication of greenhouse gas emissions that are of more harm than good, as this is central to such nations having a viable future.

Posted by July 7th, 2016