Sunday, August 28, 2016
Friday, July 8, 2016
Thursday, July 7, 2016
Thursday, April 21, 2016
Tuesday, April 19, 2016
Saturday, April 9, 2016
Saturday, April 2, 2016
25 March 2016: The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General (SRSG) for Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All), Rachel Kyte, highlighted challenges to achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 (Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all).
Briefing UN Member States and civil society, she also provided an update on the SE4All initiative's plans for supporting implementation of the Goal.
Kyte emphasized that Goal 7 has three “pillars,” addressing energy poverty, technological advancement, and investment in energy efficiency. Stressing the interlinked nature of the Goal, she said the first pillar, addressing energy poverty, is essential to leaving no one behind, noting that the electricity access gap undermines education, productivity and economic growth, while the gap in access to clean cooking fuels is detrimental to health and gender inequality. On technological advancement, Kyte noted the past decade's reductions in the cost and complexity of renewable energy, which makes on-shore wind, solar photo voltaic, and other technologies more competitive with fossil-based energy sources. On energy efficiency, she said greater investment has made it possible to provide basic electricity services using much less power.
Despite this positive progress, Kyte warned that global economic trends have slowed the momentum for electrification, renewables, efficiency and clean cooking. She said the global energy transition is not taking place at a sufficient pace to meet the temperature goal set out in the Paris Agreement on climate change, or the broader development goals expressed in the 2030 Agenda.
Kyte also stressed that the financial needs to achieve SDG 7, which are estimated at over US$1 trillion annually, will need to come from both private and public sectors. She highlighted the importance of small-scale, private investments to develop renewable energy in many African countries.
On the role of the SE4All initiative in supporting the achievement of SDG 7, Kyte said the Forum's 2017 meeting will assess progress and provide substance for the High-level Political Forum on sustainable development (HLPF) and the UN system as a whole in its review of progress towards the SDGs. In the meantime, SE4All is developing a framework for addressing challenges faced by Member States in achieving SDG 7. Member States will have opportunities to provide input on this framework throughout May 2016, Kyte said, and the SE4All Advisory Board will consider the framework at its meeting, on 15-16 June 2016. [Event Webcast] [SE4All Website]
Monday, March 28, 2016
Bonaire (pop. 14,500), a small island off the coast of Venezuela, is famous for its beautiful marine reefs, which are visited by 70,000 tourists every year.
What many of the tourists don't realize is that the majority of the electricity powering their needs comes from renewable energy. Yet for the residents of Bonaire, the switch from fossil-fueled to renewable energy systems has made a world of difference.
Like many Caribbean islands, Bonaire originally relied on diesel fuel to generate electricity for residents, with a peak demand of 11 megawatts (MW). This fuel had to be shipped in from other nations, resulting in high electricity prices for Bonaire residents, along with uncertainty about when and how much prices might increase with changing fuel costs.
In 2004, everything changed when a fire destroyed the existing diesel power plant. Although tragic, the situation provided an opportunity for Bonaire to consider what kind of new electricity system to build. Temporary diesel generators were rented to provide power for the short term. Meanwhile, the government and local utility began working together to create a plan that would allow Bonaire to reach a goal of generating 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources.
Bonaire's Electricity System Transformation
The result is a transformed electricity system on Bonaire. The island is now home to 12 wind turbines with a total of 11 MW of wind power capacity, which contribute up to 90 percent of the island's electricity at times of peak wind, and 40-45 percent of its annual electricity on average.
Battery storage (6 MWh) is included in order to take advantage of available power in times of excess wind, and provide that stored electricity in times of low wind. The battery also boosts the reliability of the overall system—it is capable of providing 3 MW for over two minutes, allowing time for additional generation to be started when there is a sudden drop in wind.
The Bonaire system also includes 14 MW of diesel generation, five total generators, which provide the necessary power to meet the load when there is not enough wind power available. The generators are equipped to run on both traditional diesel as well as biodiesel. The next steps in the island's energy transformation involve using local algae resources, grown in the large salt flats on the island, to create biofuel, which can then be used in the existing generators. This will allow Bonaire to operate a 100 percent renewable electricity system—with on average 40–45 percent from wind and 55-60 percent from biodiesel.
The new electricity system led to more reliable electricity, more employment opportunities, reduced dependence on oil (and its fluctuating prices), and a reduction in electricity bills. Bonaire residents currently pay $0.22/kWh for electricity, much lower than prices on other nearby Caribbean islands, which are often $0.36/kWh or above.
When oil prices spiked in 2008, while Bonaire was still using temporary diesel generators before making its transition to renewables, electricity prices on the island reached $0.50/kWh. The new electricity system also created jobs for the construction and ongoing operation of the wind farm, and for research and development of algae production capabilities and conversion to biofuel. Additional employment opportunities will be created for continuing algae production and operation of the biodiesel plant.
The success of the updated electricity system on Bonaire provides an important example to other nearby islands of the opportunity to achieve high levels of renewable energy penetration.
Thursday, March 24, 2016
Within the Caribbean, there is a growing awareness of the need for a new economic paradigm for inclusive and sustainable development, in order to deliver solutions for the most pressing challenges which are made worse by international economic and environmental crises.
In the backdrop of the limited diversification of the countries’ economies and their dependence on natural resources, green economy offers a viable option to increase competitiveness and resilience of the region’s economies and merge prosperity and growth for all with sustainability.
"I commit my Government to working assiduously with the Social Partnership to ensure that the measures indentified in Barbados’ Green Economy Scoping Study, which can contribute to a more prosperous and environmentally sensitive Barbados, will be implemented expeditiously" said Freundel J. Stuart, Prime Minister of Barbados.
“We see a green economy not only as the area of renewable energy, but we see the green economy as a means of providing new opportunities for our people in St. Kitts,” said Earl Asim Martin, Deputy Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis.
"We are also showing that it is possible to create a better, environmentally sustainable national economy without compromising our citizens’ legitimate aspirations for increased prosperity," said Bharrat Jagdeo, Former Prime Minister of Guyana
Effective green economy strategies and programmes must address barriers to change that affect the whole Caribbean region. In searching for alternatives to “business-as-usual”, emphasis should be placed on redirecting investments and creating economic incentives that lead to sustainable development and poverty eradication.
UNEP, in cooperation with the CARICOM Secretariat and with financial support of the European Union, is supporting the region through a Caribbean Green Economy Initiative.
The outcomes of project, as well as the experiences and lessons learned during its implementation should offer ideas and opportunities for scaling up green economy transition in other countries and regions especially in island states in the Pacific, Africa and elsewhere.
Please download the project flyer on green economy in the Caribbean here.
Tuesday, March 22, 2016
As part of its mandate to promote resilient energy matrices region-wide, CARICOM has identified the promotion of investment into energy efficiency programs and projects as a priority action item.
On April 5th at 10.00am EST, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat and New Energy Events will co-host a webinar focused on new approaches to the commercialization of energy efficiency programs and projects in the Caribbean.
Jacob Corvidae, Manager, Rocky Mountain Institute
Kelly Tomblin, President & CEO, Jamaica Public Service Co.
Dr. Devon Gardner, Programme Manager, Energy, CARICOM
Joseph Williams, Sustainable Energy Advisor, Caribbean Development Bank
Despite the obvious potential for investment in energy efficiency across the Caribbean, the markets are yet to take off in any meaningful way. The unavailability of sustainable and affordable financing is widely recognized as the most significant hurdle to commercialization. The webinar will explore an emerging alignment of stakeholders around energy efficiency investments, and examine a number of innovative approaches to financing.
Topics will include:
• How do we introduce investment in energy efficiency into the mainstream?
• How do regional utilities look at investment in EE initiatives from a long-term ROI perspective? How can we align economic incentives to motivate utilities to invest in EE?
• What can we learn from the experience of other markets and other utilities? Hawaii, for example?
• What is the Integrated Utility Service (IUS) model? What can we learn from the initial experience in Fort Collins?
• How might utility-centric EE programs align with public sector and multilateral objectives and with what implication for the financing of EE programs?
• How do we de-risk EE investment?
• What are the opportunity costs associated with the inability of the current "market will deliver" philosophy to tap the regional EE potential?
• What are the key stakeholders - utilities, utility regulators, governments, multilaterals and private investors - prepared to do in order to deliver clean, efficient, reliable and cost-effective energy services to end-users? More
Saturday, February 20, 2016
BRIDGETOWN, 28 October 2015 - The Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (CCREEE) was today inaugurated during a ceremony held in the capital of Barbados.
This follows the decision of the 36th Regular meeting of the heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to establish the centre as a regional implementation hub, with Barbados as the host country. The regional centre was developed and promoted by the CARICOM Secretariat in close partnership with the Small Island Developing States Sustainable Energy and Climate Resilience Initiative (SIDS DOCK) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).
Financial support is being provided by the governments of Austria and Germany. CCREEE will be part of a wider network of regional sustainable energy centres for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in Africa, the Caribbean, Pacific and Indian Ocean. Freundel Stuart, Prime Minister of Barbados and Chairman of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM, stressed that the urgent establishment of the centre was in line with the region’s strategic goals and focus on sustainable development. Confirming his country’s support for the centre, he added that “the CCREEE will act as a regional hub and think-tank for sustainable energy issues and activities in the region”.
Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, Secretary-General, Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said: “The centre’s main role will be to assist CARICOM Member States in implementing the Caribbean Sustainable Energy Roadmap and Strategy (C-SERMS), as well as their respective national energy strategies and targets. The centre is an important contribution of CARICOM to the upcoming Climate Summit in Paris.”
Ambassador Vince Henderson, Chairman of SIDS DOCK, added: “We consider CCREEE and the wider network of centres for Small Island Developing States to be an essential contribution to make the Sustainable Energy for All initiative a reality for our economies and societies. The centres are expected to cooperate closely on the SIDS-SIDS energy agenda and will form not only a strong advocacy, but also a strong cooperation group.”
Pradeep Monga, UNIDO Director and Special Representative of the Director General on Energy, called “CCREEE a critical mechanism for up-scaling national efforts, particularly in the areas of project execution, capacity development, and knowledge and data management, as well as investment and business promotion, within the sustainable energy sector”.Ambassador Mikael Barfod, Delegation of the European Union to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, highlighted the creation of CCREEE as a major milestone and pledged support for the initiative.
According to Martin Ledolter, Managing Director of the Austrian Development Agency (ADA), “the centre will empower local people within the Caribbean to benefit from the growing global sustainable energy markets and participate in the emerging opportunities for south-south and north-south technology and knowledge transfer”.
The inauguration of CCREEE will also be part of the Caribbean Energy Week, which will be observed across the region from 8 to 14 November under the theme “EmPOWERING our Sustainable Development”.” More
Friday, February 19, 2016
Did you get a chance to see Shonda Rhimes (Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, etc.) doing her TED talk on Monday evening? If not, you can catch her online at:http://www.ted.com/talks/shonda_rhimes_my_year_of_saying_yes_to_everything
Her talk entitled “My year of saying yes to everything” was absolutely inspiring.
But that’s what TED is about, as you already know if you were one of the 124 people who registered for this past Tuesday’s simulcast at UCCI of the big TED 2016 event in Vancouver, Canada.
However, nothing beats the thrill of seeing live speakers, engaging with them face-to-face, and discussing those great ideas with other TED event attendees.
Of course, the cheapest admission ticket for TED 2016 in Vancouver was US$8500. (Not an admission price that just anyone can afford in these challenging economic times.)
So, keep in mind that just next month, on March 19th, you can experience the same excitement of live speakers and great ideas at TEDxUCCI 2016. The theme this year is FutureVision…and it will undoubtedly be the most insightful TEDx ever for investigating the many pressing issues facing Cayman and the world.
From 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., you’ll hear great talks on topics including conservation, energy use and production, the ocean’s potential, heath, technical literacy, economic and social sustainability, creative professions, and dealing effectively with today’s complex world. There will also be a new production by the UCCI theatre arts students and great food prepared by UCCI’s Hospitality students.
Nick Robson of the Cayman Institute shall be presenting a talk entitled Predicting The Future. Come out and be entertained and hopefully learn a thing or two.
Early Bird 2-for-1: Bring a Friend for Free!
Through the end of this week, two registrants can pay just one admission fee to attend TEDxUCCI 2016. Both people must register for the TEDxUCCI 2016 event online atwww.TEDxUCCI.ky and then both registration confirmations can be taken to the UCCI campus within 10 working days for payment. As long as both registrations were made before February 21st, only one admission fee will be charged.
Admission costs $25 for non-students and $10 for students. But this week’s 2-for-1 special can provide as much as a 50% savings for TEDx-enthusiasts on a budget. TEDxUCCI 2016 is hosted by UCCI and generously sponsored by the Ministry of Community Affairs, Youth & Sports and Foster’s Food Fair.
Tuesday, February 16, 2016
Tuesday, February 2, 2016
Saturday, January 30, 2016
“I’m an island boy” — President Barack Obama
1.5˚C to stay alive
Saturday, January 9, 2016
Last month’s global agreement on climate change was a remarkable gift to the world and to future generations.
One hundred and eighty-eight countries have submitted Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, setting out what they are prepared to do to reduce emissions and build climate resilience. Developed country governments have reaffirmed their commitment to raise $100 billion a year for climate action, with small and vulnerable countries first on the list for assistance. As the Prime Minister of Tuvalu - a Pacific nation threatened by catastrophic sea level rises - said during the Paris summit: "If you save Tuvalu, you save the world."
Now the New Year has arrived and it’s time to act on these resolutions. A rapid and sustained flow of climate finance for the vulnerable developing countries is central to managing the climate challenge. Thus far the flow of climate financing has been less than satisfactory. This must change. Climate financing should not lead to a reduction in traditional official development assistance.
That’s why global warming was a top priority of Commonwealth leaders at their recent meeting in Malta. Their Statement on Climate Change provided timely, important political impetus to the Paris Conference. And they generated some good ideas to free up funds for climate action.
Here’s one: swapping national debt for climate change action. Many vulnerable countries are so burdened by debt they simply can’t afford to address global warming. Jamaica, for example, is struggling with a public debt to GDP ratio of 140 per cent. For the Seychelles, it’s 65 per cent. Think what could happen if countries like these lowered their burden by taking action on climate change: they could expand marine protected areas, strengthen coastal defences, reform fisheries policies, promote water conservation, manage coastal zones, invest in renewable energy and create institutions to advance their plans — working their way out of debt at the same time.
The Commonwealth’s proposal for a Multilateral Debt Swap for Climate Action has been recognized by the United Nations as a promising option to address the twin challenges of unsustainable debt and climate change. Swaps could be supported by the Climate Finance Access Hub that’s just been launched by the Commonwealth to help small and vulnerable countries access climate finance and build institutional capacity.
It doesn’t end there. The Paris agreement has given markets the clear signal they need to scale up investments that will generate low-emission, climate-resilient development. With the ambitious results emanating from Paris, what was once unthinkable is now unstoppable. The private sector is already investing increasingly in a low-emission future. Climate solutions are increasingly affordable and available, and many more are poised to come, especially after the success of Paris. More
Tuesday, January 5, 2016
The Greenland ice sheet has traditionally been pictured as a bit of a sponge for glacier meltwater, but new research has found it is rapidly losing the ability to buffer its contribution to rising sea levels, says a York University researcher.
York U Professor William Colgan, a co-author on the study published in the journal Nature Climate Change, helped analyse data from three expeditions to the Greenland ice sheet in 2012, 2013 and 2015. The research was done in conjunction with lead researcher Horst Machguth of the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, Mike MacFerrin of the University of Colorado at Boulder and Dirk van As of the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland Copenhagen, Denmark.
Colgan spent five weeks with the team in 2013 drilling firn cores in the interior of the Greenland ice sheet. Firn is multi-year compacted snow that is not as dense as glacier ice. Instead, it forms a porous near-surface layer over the ice sheet. Dropped off by a ski-equipped US Air National Guard C-130 Hercules in minus 40 degrees Celsius weather, with 6,000 kilos of supplies and equipment, the team set up several camps and drilled a series of shallow firn cores about 20 metres deep during their time on the ice sheet.
"We were interested in the thin porous near-surface firn layer, and how its physical structure is changing rapidly with climate change," said Colgan of the Lassonde School of Engineering. "The study looked at very recent climate change on the ice sheet, how the last couple of years of melt have really altered the structure of the ice sheet firn and made it behave differently to future melt."
The researchers also towed a radar unit behind their skidoos to gather profiles between core sites along a 100-kilometre path from the low elevation ice sheet margin into the high elevation ice sheet interior. They analysed the firn cores on the spot by cutting them into small sections to quantify their properties, such as their density, so they could compare them with samples collected the following year. "The year-on-year firn changes were quite dramatic," said Colgan.
The team was surprised by what they found. An extreme melt that occurred in 2012 caused a layer of solid ice, several metres thick, to form on top of the porous firn in the low elevation areas of the ice sheet. "In subsequent years, meltwater couldn't penetrate vertically through the solid ice layer, and instead drained along the ice sheet surface toward the ocean," said Colgan. "It overturned the idea that firn can behave as a nearly bottomless sponge to absorb meltwater. Instead, we found that the meltwater storage capacity of the firn could be capped off relatively quickly."
As Machguth said, "Basically our research shows that the firn reacts fast to a changing climate. Its ability to limit mass loss of the ice sheet by retaining meltwater could be smaller than previously assumed."
Because the models scientists use to project Greenland's sea level rise contribution do not presently take firn cap-off into consideration, it means that Greenland's projected sea level rise due to meltwater runoff is likely higher than previously predicted. Getting this newly observed physical process into these models is an important next step for the team.
Using unmanned aerial vehicles, Colgan also plans to begin surveying the changes in ice sheet surface reflectance caused by the development of massive ice layers associated with firn cap-off. There are preliminary indications that firn cap-off is also occurring in the ice caps of the Canadian High Arctic. More
Wednesday, December 23, 2015
Thursday, December 17, 2015
The Cayman Islands must set more aggressive targets on increasing renewable energy and reducing carbon dioxide emissions in the light of the Paris agreement on climate change, green energy advocates have said.
The Paris climate deal, hailed as an historic feat of international diplomacy, established a commitment from 195 countries to contain planet-warming carbon emissions.
Cayman, as a British territory, was not involved in the talks and is not a direct signatory to the agreement, which set a goal of reducing global temperature rises to less than 2C. The final submissions to the agreement are not enforceable and carry no consequences.
However. James Whittaker, president of the Cayman Renewable Energy Association, said the Paris accord represents a “paradigm shift” in the international approach to climate change and suggested Cayman would have to get on board.
Tim Austin, deputy director of the Department of Environment, said the National Conservation Council is also pushing for clearer and more ambitious targets.
A draft national energy policy, published in 2013, sets a goal that 13.5 percent of electricity sold should be generated from renewable sources by 2030. It also targets a 19 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to a “business as usual scenario.”
Mr. Whittaker said the Paris agreement, referred to as COP 21, represents an international consensus that far more radical action is needed. He said Cayman’s targets on renewable energy are among the least ambitious of any country.
While Cayman’s net contribution to climate change is negligible, the territory is among the highest producers of carbon emissions per capita in the world, according to Mr. Austin.
Mr. Whittaker, added, “I believe COP 21 sets ambitious climate change benchmarks globally and it clearly suggests that Cayman must take a more aggressive approach to adopting renewable energy and reducing our carbon emissions. This is something CREA have been telling the government for some time now. That said, it still doesn’t appear the decision-makers in government are yet paying attention to the critical issues of renewable energy and carbon reduction.”
He added, “I am cautiously optimistic that the government will finally wake up and realize that this paradigm shift is happening all over the world for a reason and will start to ensure it happens in Cayman soon.”
Mr. Austin said the Cayman Islands could request to be included in commitments coming out of the agreement.
“At the moment, the U.K. does not push out those climate agreements to its territories, but this could potentially change with Cayman’s recent request to the U.K. government to include Cayman in its second commitment period to the Kyoto Protocol (2013-2020).
“The National Conservation Council is currently working on a climate change policy and would like to see clearer, more ambitious targets, in line with what the U.K. has signed up to.”
He said the Paris summit represents a significant milestone in gaining an international consensus that something needs to be done to curb the amounts of CO2 going into the atmosphere and limit the consequences of global warming.
Mr. Austin said the ambitious targets set in Paris were driven, in part, by small-island states concerned about the consequences of climate change.
|Tim Austin - DOE|
In 2009, the Maldives, one of the flattest countries on Earth, held a Cabinet meeting underwater in scuba gear as a stunt to generate publicity for the consequences of not acting on the issue.
Cayman’s position is less grave, but Mr. Austin warns that with the majority of Cayman’s population and major infrastructure located a short distance from the coastline, increasing storm intensity and flood risk present a potentially significant challenge.
He said the impact of climate change is already evident on coral reefs around Cayman.
Mr. Whittaker said Cayman’s size should not stop it from doing its part.
“While our aggregate emissions are small compared to large economies, we emit a lot of carbon per capita on this little island. I believe it’s a hypocritical and shortsighted position to just let the rest of the world handle it when we are expecting others to do things we are not willing to do ourselves.
“We need to show leadership here, regionally and globally. If we expect the world to change we have to be part of that change.” More