St Kitts-Nevis PM urges support in efforts to deal with climate change

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service

St Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Dr. Terrence Drew has urged the international community to do more to assist developing countries like those in the Caribbean deal with the impact of climate change.

Addressing Caribbean Ministers of Finance and Central Bank Governors at the International Monetary Fund Spring meeting, Drew his twin island Federation as one of the smallest among the community of nations, is proud to make a contribution to the global effort to find solutions to the multiplicity of issues that we face as a collective.

“One of the most difficult challenges we are forced to confront is the threat posed by climate change, and efforts to adapt and mitigate the deleterious effects resulting from global warming,” he said, focusing his address on the topic “Reaping Opportunities from Green Energy”.

Prime Minister Drew said that it is no secret that St. Kitts-Nevis stands among the nations most heavily reliant on fossil fuels.

He said 95 per cent of the country’s energy is derived from diesel, adding “this is a reality that we consider unsustainable, undesirable, and unacceptable.

“In keeping with our commitment to global efforts to reduce ozone-depleting gases, we have declared our goal to reduce CO2 emissions by 61 per cent by 2030, using 2010 as the base period.

“This is indeed an ambitious undertaking; one backed by concrete proposals involving the transition from energy based on fossil fuels to cleaner and greener renewable energy alternatives.”

Prime Minister Drew said that while his country is blessed with an abundance of sunshine to generate solar power, wind, and geothermal energy reserves, particularly on the island of Nevis, it has “actively considered all three of these renewable energy sources, and are at an advanced stage of rolling out concrete proposals which are transformational in nature, redounding to the overall benefit of our people.

“We are convinced that exploring opportunities for green energy alternatives will lead to lower energy prices. No longer will we anticipate the uncertainty caused by the fluctuations in the price of fossil fuels on the global market.

“We will be able to use these cost savings to diversify our economy and pursue our development objectives in keeping with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Prime Minister Drew said that opportunities exist in proposals to outfit government-funded housing, schools, and other institutions with solar panels. This policy is consistent with Goal 7 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which focuses on the need to provide access to clean and affordable energy.

“Lower energy prices serve as a solid platform for growth and development in agriculture, manufacturing, education, ICT, health care, and transportation sectors, to name a few. We regard it as the high tide which causes all the proverbial boats to float unhindered by obstacles in the ocean.

“High energy prices impede economic and human development. Lowering the cost of energy is therefore a clearly defined development objective of the government of Saint Kitts and Nevis.

“As regards opportunities in geothermal energy, our government has taken action to secure the requisite financing from the Caribbean Development Bank to construct a 30 MW plant by 2025. Drilling operations are projected to commence later this year.”

He said given the current domestic demand of 28 Mega Watts of power, and the additional supply provided by solar and wind, the country is excited by the prospect of achieving its goal of full energy independence.

“To take it one step further, we intend to explore opportunities to export geothermal energy to the neighboring islands, thereby significantly improving our economic outlook.

“It is clear that maximizing opportunities provided by green energy alternatives is conducive to the further development of our twin island state. Increased economic activity is directly linked to higher employment levels in new sectors of the economy.

“We cannot afford to sit idly and allow opportunities to pass us by. We have no choice but to create an enabling environment for investment in green energy to thrive, given the inherent links to sustainable development in all its dimensions,” Dr. Terrence Drew told the conference.

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