|Minister of Environment and Drainage, Dr. Denis Lowe (FP)??|
Barbados’ National Climate Change Policy is now awaiting Cabinet approval, and the findings of the Green Economy Scoping Study are soon to be handed over to government officials.
This was disclosed by Minister of Environment and Drainage, Dr. Denis Lowe, as he addressed the launch of the Partnership for Resilience – Climate Change Film Series, and the Caribsave Climate Change Risk Atlas at Hilton Barbados last night.
While giving an update on Barbados’ efforts to combat climate change, the minister also welcomed the launch of the United Kingdom’s (UK) International Climate Change Fund which affirmed that country’s commitment to deliver its fair share of the goal of developed countries to jointly stabilise $100 billion per year by 2020 for climate finance in developing countries.
"Climate change is a reality that both developed and developing countries must tackle head-on. It is a climate reality that, if ignored, can spawn the extinction of many Small Island Developing States (SIDS)," Dr. Lowe said.
He warned that unless it was understood that practices of developed and developing countries shaped the future, SIDS could one day find themselves with reduced land space.
"My passion for the topic is deeply rooted in the reality that there are other countries out there who have already started to see the ravages of climate change," he noted, warning that persons who live in Barbados must be ever conscious of the reality because changes could occur "right before our eyes."
Dr. Lowe further stressed that there could not be food, water, energy, or any form of national security without climate security.
However, the Minister said Barbados was playing its part to reduce the island’s dependency on fossil fuels between 2015 and 2020. This includes a proposal to invest $377 million on the Green Energy Complex which will feature a landfill gas-to-energy component, solar, wind and waste-to-energy elements.
He added that a Climate Change Health project for the country was being studied, while a Water Resource Management and Flood Resilience Adaptation Programme was under way.
"The UK government is committed to ???being the greenest government ever’. Similarly the Government of Barbados is committed to becoming ???the most environmentally advanced green country in Latin America and the Caribbean’," Dr. Lowe stressed.
British High Commissioner, Paul Brummell, gave the assurance that the British government had prioritised action on climate change, and was committed to reducing its emissions by 80 per cent by 2050.
"Our commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of national income as official development assistance by 2013; the first major economy to meet that UN target, has enabled us to create an unprecedented ??2.9 billion UK International Climate Fund," he said, noting the time for action was now.
The envoy added that climate change and risk reduction were central features of the UK’s ??75 million development plan in the Caribbean over the next four years.
Of that figure, ??22 million are expected to be spent between 2011 and 2015 on interventions such as: The Implementation Plan for the Caribbean’s vision of Climate Resilient Development; supporting 160 vulnerable communities; providing hazard insurance to protect the incomes of 18, 000 of the poorest persons and 50, 000 small farm workers when disasters strike. The money will also go towards support for better national risk reduction including safer buildings, and innovation in renewable energy and energy efficiency.
The film series highlights efforts already being taken in the region through private and public sector partnerships. They also examine some of the vulnerabilities that exist in the Caribbean, and focus on positive examples being set and ongoing work.
Last night’s launch was attended by a number of stakeholders, including Latin America and Caribbean diplomats currently in Barbados to receive training from the United Nations.