Barbados and other Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are on the verge of tapping into new opportunities presented through renewable energy which could not be achieved 20 years ago, but will benefit their environments now.
Executive Director with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Achim Steiner, made this declaration recently as he addressed World Environment Day 2014 celebrations in Independence Square, The City.
???Renewable energy is not only a hypothetical option any more, it is in fact knocking on the doors of economies across the world, and 20 to 30 years from now we will be at the beginning of an era when the supply of energy for the first time in human history, will be at our disposal,??? he stated.
Mr. Steiner said Barbados??? transition to a green economy did not just happen overnight, but began when the seeds were sown from as early as the solar water heater programme.
He added that the revolution of clean and renewable energy in Barbados was gaining momentum, while the solar water heating programme saved the country over $100 million since it was introduced.
???If Barbados were to be able to achieve its objective of going towards 20 to 30 per cent of renewable energy in the coming decade, it would make a significant difference to the balance of payments, and indeed to every consumer on the island,??? he noted.
Mr. Steiner further observed that the nations of the world invested over $240 billion in renewable energy and infrastructure investments. ???This is more than the combined total of oil and gas put together. Who would have thought that was possible 10 years ago???? he asked.
The Executive Director stressed that such interventions were necessary, particularly as SIDS were immensely threatened by the impacts of climate change, with economies like fisheries and tourism being at risk.
???These changes would be so disruptive that in some places on this planet people will have to leave. They would no longer have a home, they would have to abandon their nations, their land, their ancestry,??? he predicted.
However, he told those present that this year???s World Environment Day slogan of Raise your Voice and not the Sea Level, spoke to over seven billion citizens on the planet, including those in the United States of America, Africa, China and Europe.
???Wherever they may be, World Environment Day is about the principle of solidarity; it is also a day once a year across the globe when tens of thousands of people are raising their voices???,??? Mr. Steiner stated.
He also cautioned that development which did not take the social and environmental consequences of sustainability into account was ultimately doomed to fail.
???It is an understanding that the environment is not something to be exploited but should be used sustainably, to be conserved, and be used wisely to enable future development to take place,??? he said.