Prime Minister David Thompson, chatting with President of the United Staes Barack Obama during the recent Fifth Summit of the Americas.
With the right support, funding and the appropriate transfer of technology, the Small Island Developing States (SIDS)of the Caribbean can serve as models for the successful transition to green economies.
This assertion was made by Barbados’ Prime Minister David Thompson last Saturday, at the Fifth Summit of the Americas in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad. Mr. Thompson was at the time delivering remarks at the Plenary Session on Energy Security.
He told his counterparts that the volatility of fuel prices and its adverse consequences on all of the hemisphere’s economies, especially the smallest and most vulnerable, demonstrated the importance of access to a secure supply of affordable energy.
“The challenge for us, therefore, is to ensure that we achieve energy security and environmental sustainability, at one and the same time. We can do so by pursuing sensible alternatives to diversify our energy mix, move to more carbon neutral technologies and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels,” Mr. Thompson opined.
Noting that high energy prices could serve as a catalyst for the stimulation of investment in alternative energy, particularly in clean technologies and renewable sources, the Prime Minister stressed that it was important to seize that opportunity and use it wisely.
He pointed out that in the area of renewable energy, the Caribbean had abundant and largely untapped potential for wind, solar, hydro and geo-thermal energy, as well as bio-fuels.
“What we need is a strengthened research and development capacity and innovative financing mechanisms to develop and commercialise those resources. In this regard, we welcome President Obama’s proposal for an Energy and Climate Change Partnership of the Americas,” the Prime Minister said.
He added that the region was also looking forward to close cooperation with the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank, as well as other international agencies and partner Governments, such as Brazil, in its efforts to exploit renewable energy potential.
Mr. Thompson also recommended that the area of natural gas, in which Barbados had a long experience in exploiting for household use, should be explored.
“This is another area where partnership with our neighbours can allow for a wider use of this source of cleaner energy, especially in the manufacturing and transportation sectors,” he stated.
On the issue of climate change, the Prime Minister observed that for the Caribbean, it was not a matter of “esoteric scientific theory”, but rather, a lived reality.
“We see it in the increased frequency and intensity of hurricanes, in the
bleaching of our coral reefs and the erosion of our coastlines from the rising of temperatures and of sea levels,” he said.
Mr. Thompson therefore called for “urgent and ambitious global efforts” if the threat is to be reversed. He added: “And for us the smallest and most vulnerable, we continue to insist on the need for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions that are well below the 25 to 40 percent reduction targets proposed by some developed countries.”
The Summit of the Americas was held from April 17 to 19, under the theme
“Securing Our Citizens’ Future by Promoting Human Prosperity, Energy Security and Environmental Sustainability”.