If the government and private sector invest $42.8 million today in improving critical drainage in the country, it could have a net economic benefit of $1.6 billion over the next 20 years, engineer and Managing Principal of BRON International Carlos Palacious said Tuesday, contending that money should be spent today on critical changes that could mitigate a possible $500 million annually, according to the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), in damage for inaction on climate change.
Carlos Palacious, who was speaking at the Bahamas Institute of Chartered Accountants’ (BICA) Accountants Month seminar at the Melia Nassau Beach resort, explained that The Bahamas could cut down that possible $500 million bill by implementing changes before conditions deteriorate because of climate change.
He explained that information from the Sustainable Nassau Report reminds us in a post-Dorian Bahamas that “we could cut that $500 million down substantially if we just go ahead and invest in ourselves, invest in our future and invest in our homes”.
“We need to adapt, mitigate and retrofit,” Palacious said.
Aside from drainage, Palacious said investing $11.8 million on restoring mangroves could create a $105 million net benefit to the country. Investing $208 million in green roofs and backyard farming could have a $1.87 billion net benefit. Investing $72 million on coastal infrastructure could have a net economic benefit of $454 million; while spending $2 million on raising and flood-proofing critical infrastructure could have a net economic benefit of $48 million.
“This is the largest challenge we’re going to face in our lifetime,” Palacious said.
“We can preserve our environment, we can provide economic incentives, no-build zones and trade-offs, we can have tax breaks, give concessions and invest in sustainable livelihoods.”
He added that all government agencies should have a structured response to climate change and a contingency plan. Homeowners should prepare themselves by retrofitting homes and putting in place a hurricane plan.
“Unless your windows and doors are Miami-Dade-rated, unless your supplier and certificate that came with your windows and doors say Miami-Dade-rated, batten down your house,” said Palacious.
“Hurricane impact windows do not mean you’re ready for the hurricanes we see.”