Nov 242015

By Zadie Neufville

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Nov 23 2015 (IPS) – Negotiators from the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) are intent on striking a deal to keep the global temperature rise at 1.5 degrees of pre-industrial levels, but many fear that a 10-year-old agreement to buy cheap petroleum from Venezuela puts their discussions in jeopardy. (…)

While agreeing that PetroCaribe could be a disincentive for investments in domestic renewable energy, Alexander Ochs, Director of Climate and Energy at WorldWatch Institute noted, “Caribbean governments are increasingly aware of the enormous financial, environmental and social costs associated with continued dependence on fossil fuels.” (…)

“Even if the problem of global warming did not exist, and the burning of fossil fuels did not result in extensive local air and water pollution, CARICOM would still have to mandate to transition away from these fuels as swiftly as possible for reasons of social opportunity, economic competitiveness and national security, ”said Ochs, one of the authors of the new Caribbean Sustainable Energy Roadmap and Strategy (C-SERMS) Baseline Report and Assessment, launched on October 28. (…)

WorldWatch Data from 2013 shows the region generating an estimated 18,369 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of electricity and consuming about 20,776 GWh. Investments are, however helping to keep the region on track to reduce their dependence on fossil fuel, reduce emissions and cut electricity costs. (…)

Ochs and Jamaica’s Junior Minister for Energy Julian Robinson are confident that in the long run, energy security and the positive spin off from sustainable energy solutions will influence the region’s long-term goals. (…)

Ochs noted, “In tandem with renewable energy technologies, it will be important for countries to look towards investing in more energy efficiency and conservation projects. Energy efficiency measures are often both the cheapest and fastest way to lessen the environmental and economic costs associated with a given energy system.”

[Please find the full IPS article here]

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