Fellow Barbadians, once again, I am pleased to have the opportunity to address you as Minister of Environment and National Beautification on September 16 in recognition of World Ozone Day. This year’s theme “Montreal Protocol – Keeping Us, Our Food and Vaccines Cool” highlights the significant role that the global agreement known as the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer has played in ensuring food safety and food security and safeguarding public health and safety, while protecting the ozone layer and mitigating the adverse impacts of global climate change.
As you may be aware, the Protocol focuses on the global phase-out and phase down of refrigerants and other chemicals that are capable of depleting the ozone layer and contributing to climate change.
Importantly though, through this same Protocol tremendous strides have been made to support the development of new refrigerants and refrigerant technologies that are ozone and climate friendly and energy efficient.
Oftentimes, we take for granted that our modern way of living is heavily dependent on Refrigeration and Air Conditioning (RAC) and the efficient operations of cold chains, whether they start at the point of international or local suppliers.
Today, this theme brings into sharp focus the fact that modern Barbadian life is heavily dependent on cooling technologies. In our local context, efficient cooling makes a significant contribution to key sectors of our society, namely healthcare, agriculture, manufacturing, finance, commercial, transportation, public, and education.
Indeed, the success of Barbados’ COVID-19 vaccination programme, which has resulted in more than one-third of our population being fully-vaccinated, is underpinned, in part by the existing cold chain system.
However, as we build back our economy and society better from the impact of Coronavirus Pandemic; we must transition to sustainable cooling. As such, the Government of Barbados is playing its part in the global effort to end the production and use of refrigerants such as R22 by January 1, 2030, since these refrigerants fall within the group of refrigerants that deplete the ozone layer.
Additionally, our nation’s strengthened commitment to improving energy efficiency is also synergistic with the Government’s ratification of the Kigali Amendment, which will result in the reduction in the global production and consumption of refrigerants such as R134a, R410a, R404A, R507A and other Hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) chemicals by 80% by 2045.
These measures, together with the technological advancements and consumer shift towards the use of environmentally friendly refrigerants, refrigerant technologies and renewable energy will support the optimization of temperature controlled supply chains over time for the benefit of our local society, environment and economy.
On the global front, these actions are expected to continue to positively contribute to ozone layer recovery, support the efforts of Small Island Developing Sates (SIDS) to keep global warming below 1.5 °C to ensure the preservation of our environment and the survival of all humanity.
My Ministry remains committed to continuing to do the work necessary under the Montreal Protocol to protect our local environment and the lives and livelihoods of the people of this nation.
It is our hope, that as we continue to develop and implement activities necessary to effect the phase-out and phase-down of ozone depleting substances (ODS) and HFCs respectively, and guide the transition to the use of ozone and climate friendly, and energy efficient cooling products where possible, that all stakeholders and the general public will play their part.
Today, join with me as we take a moment to acknowledge and celebrate the Montreal Protocol and the efforts made in fulfillment of its obligations to keep us all, our food, and vaccines cool.
I thank you.
Minister of the Environment and National Beautification, Adrian Forde