Nature Foundation submits plan on climate change in St. Maarten

Map of St. Maarten with five meters sea-level rise (credit NASA)


PHILIPSBURG – The St. Maarten Nature Foundation has updated its Climate Change Response Plan for the coastal zone and nearshore ecosystems of St. Maarten and has submitted it to stakeholders to be included in plans towards the mitigation of climate change effects.

The document was constructed as a plan of approach regarding tackling of the effects global warming will have on the Marine and Coastal Zone Ecosystem of St. Maarten. The document gives an overview of the causes and threats posed by Global Warming to the Marine and Coastal Zones, Parameters for Monitoring and Recording those threats and possible mitigating suggestions to the effects caused by Climate Change to the Coastal and Marine Environment, which are the ecosystems and population centers most greatly affected by Climate Change.

From the mid-19th to the beginning of the 21st century, the air temperature at the earth’s surface increased by between 0.6 and 0.8°C, and this warming is expected to accelerate during the current century if mitigating measures are not put in place. The sea plays a key role in limiting this process as more than 80% of the heat absorbed by the planet accumulates in the world’s oceans.

For St. Maarten Climate Change has been projected to bring with it serious consequences, particularly with regard to sea level rise, ocean acidification, invasive species and coral bleaching. It is estimated that with just five meters of sea level rise various districts on the island including Great Bay, Simpson Bay and Cole Bay will be submerged.

“St. Maarten, as a small island developing state, is particularly vulnerable to climate change, climate variability and sea-level rise. The population of small islands like St. Maarten tends to have their population and infrastructure concentrated in the coastal zone and any rise in sea-level will have significant and profound effects on the economy and living conditions. The St. Maarten Nature Foundation hopes that with this report, some measures can be taken to alleviate the stress climate change will have on St. Maarten,” commented Tadzio Bervoets, Nature Foundation Managing Director.