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A home destroyed by Hurricane Maria in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico, Oct. 12, 2017 (AP photo by Ramon Espinosa).

Battered by Storms and Exposed to Climate Change, the Caribbean Faces a Daunting Recovery

Friday, Oct. 13, 2017

The hurricanes that swept through the Caribbean last month were a stark reminder of the vulnerability of its small island states to events largely outside their control. In recent years, Caribbean countries have entered a new era of economic and environmental instability entirely different in scope from what they endured only a decade ago at the height of the global financial crisis, which hit many islands hard given their dependence on trade, tourism and investment from the United States. Climate change and the shifting effects of globalization are significant new obstacles to their continued growth.

With the earth’s climate beginning to shift into a hotter and less predictable phase, Caribbean islands are perhaps the most exposed to the effects of rising seas, more frequent droughts and increasingly violent storms. Caribbean countries are among the least responsible for rising temperatures, in terms of their carbon emissions, yet they have the fewest resources to cope with climate change. ...

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