FEATURE STORY

Climate Change: a Threat to Campeche's Nature and Economy

March 27, 2013

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • About 450,000 inhabitants of the State are vulnerable to the possible effects of a sea level increase.
  • The oil industry and the ecosystems of the coasts would be among the affected areas.
  • Experts brought together by the World Bank warn about the risks and make recommendations.

The Campeche coasts, on top of being a holiday destination, are important for the economy and biodiversity of Mexico.

The oil industry of the State represents a considerable part of the national oil and gas production, and there are 3 endangered species of sea turtles that lay their eggs on its beaches.

But because of global warming, the average sea level in the world could rise between 18 and 60 centimeters from now to 2100, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a scientific body under the auspices of the United Nations.

The group warns that there could also be variations in the climate of the coasts, more storms and hurricanes.

What impacts can these changes have in a geography like Campeche's? A World Bank study, based on a workshop with academics, engineers, government and civil society, shows that a higher sea level and more storms increase the risk of:

  • Floods
  • Displacement of people
  • Damage to infrastructure
  • Salinization of drinking and fresh water sources
  • Coast erosion

Almost half a million people affected

Some studies estimate that in Campeche, about 450,000 inhabitants would be affected by a sea level rise. One of the experts present in the workshop said that this increase could be of up to one meter in 2100, according to some projections.

The sea level in Ciudad del Carmen is already increasing. Between 1956 and 1991, it increased by 3.4 millimeters per year, almost 12 centimeters in total, according to reports that are quoted in the World Bank study.

This increase is a wake-up call, because although there is still a need of collecting more information and data for the State of Campeche, international experience shows that the costs associated with a sea level rise can be very high.

“As an example, for countries in development, the economic costs associated with these events have been projected for the year 2100, close to US$100 billion for an increase of more than 60 centimeters above sea level,” the report says.

More research, better prevention

The report highlights that infrastructure, homes, the ecosystems and tourism are priority sectors to monitor in Campeche to prevent possible consequences of climate change.

To prepare for the different scenarios, the report highlights some recommendations that were proposed during the workshop. Here are a few:

  • More research on extreme phenomena
  • Reforestation
  • Monitoring of the beaches and animal species
  • Relocation of infrastructure
  • Early alarm system
  • Relocatation of drinking water wells

In the next hundred years, it will be important to understand better how climate change will affect the intensity and frequency of floods, the reports highlights. That is why it warns that it is fundamental to research the topic more.

The World Bank in Mexico

The World Bank collaborates with the Government of Mexico in the sector of adaptation to climate, and offers a broad menu of financial services, knowledge and convening services, that respond to the specific needs of the country.