Explore historical and projected climate data, climate data by sector, impacts, key vulnerabilities and what adaptation measures are being taken. Explore the overview for a general context of how climate change is affecting Barbados.


Barbados is a small island developing state, contributing negligibly to global greenhouse gas emissions (0.004%). The sectors most vulnerable to climate change are agriculture, fisheries, tourism, water, human health, coastal resources and human settlements. Barbados has been implementing a number of adaptation plans to combat the challenges posed by climate change. These adaptation plans have been supported by organizations such as the World Bank which implemented the Caribbean Planning for Adaptation to Climate Change (CPACC), executed by the Organization of American States (OAS) and overseen by CARICOM.  In addition to its involvement in a number of regional projects, such as the Mainstreaming Adaptation to Climate Change: Caribbean Community (MACC) project, Barbados is one of a few Caribbean countries that also is benefitting from nationally-focused adaptation activities focused on coastal zone management, disaster risk management and institutional strengthening.

Adaptation Options for Key Sectors

  • Introduce drought-resistant sugar cane varieties.
  • Introduce pest-resistant varieties.
  • Develop stronger extension support to farmers.
  • Develop a food security strategy.
  • Research more drought-resistant crops and crops with shorter growing seasons.
  • Inventory and monitor resources.  
  • Implement a wider application of Integrated Pest Management.
  • Practice Integrated Water Resource Management.
  • Improve watershed management and infrastructure planning.
  • Implement conservation and public awareness campaigns.
  • Improve freshwater capture and storage.
  • Increase desalination production.
  • Practice Integrated Water Resource Management.
  • Control leakage from water mains.
  • Implement desalinization and other augmentation techniques.
  • Promote renewable energy systems.
  • Implement financial incentives by the government and private sector for citizens.
  • Conduct energy audits of public and private buildings.
  • Promote energy-saving devices.
  • Conduct studies on the viability of alternative energy sources such as wind and ocean energy.
  • Strengthen local governance of fisheries stocks.
  • Develop clear channels of communication with fisherfolk and the provision of relevant information on the effects of climate change.
  • Promote the use of rights-based management systems.
  • Discontinue environmentally harmful subsidies.
  • Mainstream the production of aquaculture.
  • Encourage the management of threatened species.
  • Develop integrated coastal and marine zone management plans.
  • Expand the use of computer modelling of marine resources.
  • Improve structural designs of tourism infrastructure.
  • Support rigorous implementation of building codes and zoning regulations.
  • Improve fresh water storage and capture.
  • Implement disaster management training for tourism workers.

Gaps and Needs

  • Climate modelling applicable to Small Island developing States (SIDS).
  • Water supply and demand studies in relation the effects of climate change.
  • Studies on the extent of damage to critical infrastructure for various categories of hurricanes.
  • Beach valuation studies to determine the economic impact that would occur as a result of erosion and loss.
  • While there is acknowledgment of the import of natural resources to the achievement of national development goals, and that concerted efforts have been made by various agencies to include various stakeholders in the formulation of policies, plans, programs and projects, there is still a need to mainstream natural resource management in all sectors.
  • The absence of comprehensive Environmental Management Legislation and supporting regulations and standards. Absence of Statutory Rules and Orders necessary to effect purposes of the Act, e.g. Regulations to Marine Pollution Act.
  • There is weak enforcement of existing legislation relevant to the environment in all sectors.
  • While there is participation of the private sector in environmental management, there is a need for more Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives in private sector, greater extra-governmental involvement in decision-making, and specialized training for the business sector.
  • Lack of strategic approach to access and adopt clean technologies in the local manufacturing and industrial sector. This results in inefficient use of resources (energy, water and waste) and hinders access to foreign markets due to compliance issues.
  • Lack of institutionalized capacity between Community Based Organisations (CBO) and Non Governmental Organisations (NGO) to pursue environmental stewardship.
  • There is a need for change in attitudes/behavior with respect to the environment.
  • There is a lack of environmental standards and more long-term sustained monitoring of productivity of the natural resource base and the ecosystem services provided.
  • There is inadequate collation, publication and dissemination of environmental information to decision-makers and the public at large. Not enough attention is paid to in-situ and ex-situ conservation of economically and ecologically important species and the related intellectual property issues.
  • There is the need for scientifically sound local research to characterize the state of the environment.
  • Many of the agencies charged with responsibility for environmental matters are understaffed, lack the necessary tools and budgets to effectively and efficiently execute their duties.
  • There are critical issues that are best handled at the regional level either because of sharing of a common regional space (marine pollution, alien and invasive species) or because of the need for economies of scale.
  • A National Building Code has been developed but not yet implemented. Draft building standards legislation exists but have not been finalized. There is also a need for enhancing the Department of Emergency Management to allow it to effectively cope with and address a wide variety of disaster including but not limited to hurricanes, flooding, fires, earthquakes and mass casualty events.
  • Researching and assessing vulnerabilities and adaptation options is a priority for Barbados. Understanding where the impacts will happen can greatly reduce the cost and damage to infrastructure.
  • There is a great need for the downscaling of the Global Climate Model (GCM). The GCM provides relevant data for the Caribbean; however, at the national level, the resolution and data needs of the model do not support meaningful interpretation. A regional climate model is required that will better assist the Caribbean and individual countries of the region to better plan and adapt to climate change.
  • There is a need for more detailed information on the impacts of climate change on agriculture.
  • The elaboration of financial plans to assist in the evolution and implementation of adaptation options.
  • An effective and sustained education program on global climate change to assist in the social, economic and cultural impacts that may be sustained by the island and its people.