Thursday, September 15, 2016

Workshop Explores Climate-Ocean Linkages Ahead of Third Our Ocean Conference

14 September 2016: On the eve of the opening of the Third Our Ocean Conference, the Division of Environment and Oceanic Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Chile and the National Geographic Society organized a workshop to consider the theme, "Is the Paris Agreement Good News for the Ocean?” The workshop took place at National Geographic headquarters in Washington, DC, US, on 14 September, immediately prior to the Third Our Ocean Conference, which is also convening in Washington, DC, from 15-16 September. Participants focused on how to build on the momentum generated with the “Because the Ocean” initiative that was announced during the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which concluded with the adoption of the Paris Agreement on climate change. The workshop brought together the ocean and climate communities, including representatives from governments, climate change negotiators, scientists and civil society, to identify challenges related to including the ocean in the UNFCCC agenda and to develop an action plan for addressing ocean-related issues through the climate action to take place under the Paris Agreement. Participants also discussed linkages with Sustainable Development Goal 14 (life below water), with Jan Olsson, Ambassador for the Environment and Oceans, Sweden, briefing participants on preparations for the UN High-Level Conference on SDG 14 to be held in June 2017 in New York. He said: the science on climate change and the ocean is understood well enough to act now; action on climate change is necessary to save the ocean; and the high level conference “is an opportunity not to be missed to create a thorough overview of the totality of actions being taken and actions needed to meet our obligations under SDG 14.”   Roundtable discussions considered whether climate change impacts on the ocean should raise the level of climate action ambition, how the ocean could be included in countries' Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), and the way forward. Participants noted the value of further scientific research and discussions with policy makers regarding the implications of climate-related impacts on the ocean. Opportunities to spur action to address these linkages through the Paris Agreement, such as its provisions for NDCs and for a global stocktake and facilitative dialogue to take place in 2018, were also discussed. In closing the workshop, Heraldo Muñoz, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chile, said the workshop provided a contribution to achieving the third and final goal of the “Because the Ocean Declaration,” which was to establish a work plan on the ocean under the UNFCCC. He also said the workshop discussions could provide the basis for a second declaration. More

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Island Invasives Conference 2017

 On behalf of the South Georgia Heritage Trust and the University of Dundee, U.K., Alison Neil (SGHT CEO) and Anthony Martin are delighted to advise you that the third in the series of Island Invasive’s conferences will be held in Dundee, Scotland, in the week 10-14 July 2017. We very much look forward to a great gathering of the island invasives clan, with lots of good presentations, good ideas, good discussions, good food, good music and dancing (yes, even YOU will be unable to resist dancing in a ceilidh) and perhaps a wee dram or two of sublime Scotch whisky.  
   This conference follows two very successful and productive predecessors held in Auckland, New Zealand in 2002 <> and 2010. A successor is long overdue. The sub-title of the 2017 conference is 'Scaling up to meet the challenge' - a reflection of the rapid growth in interest in the field, as well as the escalating size of islands now being freed of damaging invasive species. The Dundee meeting will of course be the first in the series to held in Europe, and indeed the first in the northern hemisphere. In addition to welcoming many guests from the traditional strongholds in the Antipodes, we hope and trust that the venue will allow greater participation than hitherto from within the growing interest groups elsewhere, especially Europe and N. America.    Please view the conference website  that formally announcing the event and allows people to build it in to their 2017 schedule, book accommodation and submit abstracts. Further information about the programme will also follow. The IUCN has kindly offered to publish the proceedings of this conference, just as it did for the others in the series.    Please circulate this to anyone or any group you think may be interested in attending. The task now is to ensure than anyone who may wish to attend is made aware that the place to be in July 2017 is Dundee. More
This will be the third in a series of international conferences focussed on invasive alien species (IAS) on islands, their impact and management. It follows those held in Auckland, New Zealand, in 2001 and 2010*. The Dundee conference will therefore be the first such meeting for seven years, and the first to be held in the northern hemisphere. In the context of this meeting, the definition of ‘island’ is broader than just a piece of land surrounded by water. Much the same problems and solutions apply to land surrounded by predator-proof fences, and to unfenced but isolated patches of habitat such as coral reefs.

Awareness of the damaging impact of invasive species is growing rapidly, just as the problem itself is growing. Island flora and fauna tend to be particularly vulnerable to IAS, and many insular endemics have been driven to extinction by these invaders. But, by their very nature, islands may also offer the possibility of long-term refuge and security if alien species can be eradicated or effectively controlled.


Over recent decades, the management and even eradication of island invasives has developed from a concept born of desperation to small scale experimentation, to medium scale trials, to large scale operations where success is almost expected. The scale of response is increasing to meet the escalating challenge. Progress is made largely by learning from the lessons and experience of earlier operations, good and bad. For this, there is no substitute for face-to-face discussion, the discovery of new approaches from posters and spoken presentations, and access to the best people in the business, all gathered in one place.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

James Hansen's Bombshell Climate Warning Is Now Part Of The Scientific Canon

Last summer, James Hansen—the pioneer of modern climate science—pieced together a research-based revelation: a little-known feedback cycle between the oceans and massive ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland might have already jump-started an exponential surge of sea levels. 
That would mean huge levels of sea level rise will happen sooner—much sooner than expected. Hansen’s best estimate was 2 to 5 meters (6–15 feet) by the end of the century: five to 10 times faster than mainstream science has heretofore predicted.   The result was so important that Hansen didn’t want to wait. So he called a press conference and distributed a draft of his findings before they could be peer-reviewed—a very nontraditional approach for a study with such far-reaching consequence. Now, after months of intense and uncharacteristically public scrutiny by the scientific community, the findings by Hansen and his 18 co-authors have passed formal peer review and were published Tuesday in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics.   That’s bad news for those of us rooting for a stable planet. With Hansen’s paper now through peer review, its dire conclusions are difficult to ignore. And the scientific community, many of whom were initially wary of Hansen’s paper when it came out this summer, is starting to take serious note.   In an email to Slate, Ruth Mottram, a climate scientist who was skeptical of the initial draft, calls the final study “considerably improved.” Mottram, who specializes in studying the Greenland ice sheet, said “the scenario they sketch out is implausible, though perhaps not impossible … it’s frankly terrifying." More      

Friday, July 8, 2016



Why are energy access, a secure energy supply and energy efficiency so crucial and at the same time so challenging for Small Island Developing States? The online learning course “Sustainable Energy for SIDS”, a key output of the L3EAP project, gives answers to these questions. The interactive online course is taught in English and runs from 26 July until 11 September 2016.


Participate free of charge and register here:

Thursday, July 7, 2016

SIDS DOCK holds first executive council meeting in New York

NEW YORK, USA -- The SIDS DOCK executive council held its first meeting on Thursday, 16 June 2016, chaired by Dr Vince Henderson, ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary and permanent representative of Dominica to the
United Nations.  NEW YORK, USA -- The SIDS DOCK executive council held its first meeting on Thursday, 16 June 2016, chaired by Dr Vince Henderson, ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary and permanent representative of Dominica to the United Nations.    Other elected members of the Council include vice chairs, Ronnie Jumeau, climate change ambassador, Seychelles, and Sione Foliaki, assistant chief executive officer, Energy Policy Coordination and Management Division, Ministry of Finance, Samoa.    Dr Rhianna M. Neely-Murphy, ministry of environment and housing, The Bahamas, was nominated rapporteur. The meeting was hosted by the Permanent Mission of Barbados to the UN.   The first meeting of the executive council represents an historic moment in “SIDS-SIDS” relations in terms of the urgent need to invest in building climate change resilience in small island developing states (SIDS).    SIDS DOCK is designed as a “DOCKing station,” to connect the energy sector in SIDS with the global market for finance, sustainable energy technologies and with the European Union and the United States carbon markets, and able to trade the avoided carbon emissions in those markets. Estimates place the potential value of the US and EU markets between US$100 to 400 billion annually.   With the entry into force of the SIDS DOCK Treaty, small island developing and low lying states are now vested with a SIDS-appropriate framework to assist member states to mobilise financing in excess of US$20 billion, by 2033, to invest in the transformation of the SIDS energy sector to achieve a 25 percent (2005 baseline) increase in energy efficiency, generation of a minimum of 50 percent of electric power from renewable sources, and a 25 percent decrease in conventional transportation fuel use, in order to increase availability of financial resources to invest in building climate change resilience in SIDS.   The SIDS DOCK treaty was opened for signature in September 2014, in Samoa, at the third UN international conference on SIDS; ratified in September 2015, at the UN, on the margins of the 70th UN General Assembly. The first meeting of the SIDS DOCK Assembly was held in Paris, in December 2015, on the margins of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of Parties meeting (COP 21).    On 3 June 3016, the secretary general of the UN issued a certificate of registration, certifying that the SIDS DOCK treaty was duly registered, signalling that SIDS DOCK was officially open for business. SIDS DOCK business matters will be advised by the global law firm, Squire, Patton, Boggs (SPB), who were officially appointed SIDS DOCK attorneys by the Council. SPB will provide pro bono services to SIDS DOCK.     As mandated by the SIDS DOCK Assembly last December, the Council reviewed documentation adopted by the Assembly, including but not limited to the rules and procedures of the Assembly and Executive Council; selection procedure for the secretary-general; and the SIDS DOCK Secretariat work programme and indicative budget (2016-2020). More

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Coral bleaching confirmed on Seychelles' Curieuse island; project aims to prevent further damage

The Seychelles National Park Authority has confirmed reports that corals are starting to turn white in the marine park of Curieuse island and that a project to prevent further damage is about to start.
  The Seychelles archipelago of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean experienced massive coral bleaching by the El Niño phenomenon in 1998. A similar El Niño has occurred this year, bringing above-average temperatures to the region. “We did a quick assessment and found that the situation is more alarming than in 1998 when there was the El Niño incidence,” said Allen Cedras, an official of the Marine Park Authority. Coral bleaching, which causes a loss of natural colours in coral, was observed in all types of corals, from rocky shores to reefs areas in the marine protected area of 14.7 square kilometres. Curieuse is 15 minutes from Praslin, Seychelles' second-most populated island.    Cedras told SNA that bleaching, caused by an increase in the sea temperature, has affected between 60 percent to 90 percent of coral in the Curieuse Marine Park. He said the problem could become even worse. With an aim to save the coral, a two-year pilot project is about to start and will include corals grown in an underwater nursery around the island and then transplanted. The UN is providing $360,000 under an Ecosystem-Based Adaptation to Climate Change (EBA) project. Divers who are part of the pilot project were recently seen collecting fragments of different corals in shallow areas of the marine park. “Over 9,000 fragments of corals will be transported in the first test,” said the project coordinator, Jude Bijoux, adding that these are carefully selected in shallow areas where they do not show signs of bleaching. The fragments are then grown in the nursery off Anse Papaie beach of Curieuse on ropes and meshed cages before being transplanted to the two sites. “One site is off the coast of Praslin in the Amitie area and the other overlooks the beach of Mandarin, off the coast of Curieuse,” say Bijoux. Coral-growing or coral-nursery projects are not new to the 115 islands archipelago. Such coral replanting exercise have been undertaken at Amitie on Praslin, by Nature Seychelles and at Petite Anse bay in the south of the main island, Mahe. The recent changes in the weather bringing more rain is giving the corals a temporary respite. “We are lucky now we are having some rain and the weather is changing, cooling the waters and preventing further damage,” said Cedras, the Seychelles' National Park Authority officer. Cedras said some corals are more resilient than others and the team is trying to find out why. “There are many reasons why one can be currents cooling the water in some areas or some polyps are more tolerant. We have a team right now working on gathering more precise information.” Meanwhile, Curieuse, which was a former leper colony, has a response plan to emergencies, which according to Cedras, will be initiated to try and contain the coral bleaching.  A national park since 1979, Curieuse has the second most number of coco-de-mer trees in Seychelles. The coco-de-mer is the largest nut in the world. Curieuse is an important tourist island but also plays host to an international voluntary programme under the Global Vision International (GVI). The latter is involved in collecting data on several species on the island including its extensive population of land tortoises and sea turtles. Curieuse is also a research centre for other international groups such as EarthwatchRead More

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Steering Committee on Partnerships for Small Island Developing States

Steering Committee on Partnerships for Small Island Developing States
“As we embark on this new phase in our journey together, we are hopeful that this venture will go beyond partnerships and find root in supporting SIDS and their special challenges within the broader development system”, said Ambassador Ahmed Sareer, Permanent Representative of Maldives and co-chair of the Steering Committee. His fellow co-chair, Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi, Permanent Representative of Italy, said that “the Steering Committee, and the partnership framework that we will oversee, was first brought to life in the SAMOA Pathway. Indeed, the concept of the partnership framework was a cornerstone of that document, and it is something that set that Pathway apart from other intergovernmental agreements”   The Third International Conference on SIDS was one of the first to have the theme dedicated to “partnerships”. The overarching theme of "The sustainable development of small island developing States through genuine and durable partnerships" lead to commitments of over 300 partnerships to support the effort for SIDS’ sustainable development. “Partnerships” has been recognized as an effective means of implementation in pursuing sustainable development and brought much attention by many Member States and other stakeholders.   The Samoa Pathway made a number of specific calls to the United Nations system and to the international community. Paragraph 101 called for preparation of recommendations for a SIDS Partnership Framework to monitor and ensure the full implementation of pledges and commitments through partnerships for SIDS. In response to the mandate, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) and Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS), working under the guidance of AOSIS, prepared a set of recommendations in close consultation with Member States. Last December, during the 70th session of the General Assembly, Member States formally established the SIDS Partnership Framework. The GA resolution (70/202) requested the Secretariat to assist in setting up a Steering Committee on partnerships for SIDS with a view to supporting the follow-up of existing, and promote and advocate for the launch of new, SIDS partnerships. The co-chairs of the Steering Committee, Maldives and Italy, were appointed by the President of the General Assembly.   The first Steering Committee meeting was facilitated by the Co-Chairs of the Steering Committee, Permanent Representative of Maldives, Ambassador Sareer, and Permanent Representative of Italy, Ambassador Cardi. The Under-Secretary-General of UN-DESA, Mr. Wu Hongbo, and the Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for UN-OHRLLS, Mr. Gyan Acharya, were also present and made remarks at the opening session. Ambassador Ahmed Sareer noted that the implementation of the SAMOA Pathway, and of the more than 300 partnerships announced at the Third International Conference on SIDS, will be critical, and he expressed the hope that the Steering Committee could address not only partnerships but all aspects of the Samoa Pathway implementation.    Mr. Wu Hongbo emphasized that many partnerships are making encouraging progress, including those involving the private sector, and that the reporting template and upgraded platform that UN-DESA has developed will help to encourage and track further progress. Mr. Gyan Acharya stressed that the Steering Committee could serve as a model for partnership follow up in other contexts as well and that UN-OHRLLS will be particularly active in advancing the engagement of the private sector through their Global Business Network, which should be linked to the platform overseen by the Steering Committee.   At this meeting, the Steering Committee approved its working methods, and UN-DESA presented a standardized reporting template for SIDS partnerships. The Working Methods highlights that the Committee should meet quarterly and that entities of the UN System, international and regional organizations, major group and other stakeholders may be invited by the Co-Chairs on behalf of, and in consultation with the Steering Committee, to contribute, as appropriate. UN-DESA is working closely with the Co-Chairs in finalizing the reporting template and upgrading the online platform for the SIDS partnerships to regularly report on their progress made.   Many Member States emphasized crucial links between the Samoa Pathway implementation and 2030 Agenda implementation, and many noted that the Steering Committee could offer valuable lessons to partnerships in the 2030 context as well as the Samoa partnerships. The Steering Committee will identify gaps and lessons learned in partnerships, and Member States hoped that the partnership framework could be scaled up and applied more broadly in the coming years. H.E. Aliioaiga Feturi Elisaia, Permanent Representative of Samoa to the United Nations said “Samoa views the Steering Committee as a “catalyst” to reach out and to advocate to potential partners both public and private, as a “magnet” to attract and bring them in to appreciate SIDS challenges, and as “glue” to ensure that they work together cohesively and cooperatively for the attainment of SIDS development needs”.   In closing, Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi, Permanent Representative of Italy to the UN and co-chair of the Steering Committee, concluded the meeting with some final thoughts: the Steering Committee can be a catalyst for action in implementation of partnerships and the SAMOA Pathway in general.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Belize Joins Ten Island Challenge

Belize Joins Ten Island Challenge to Transition to 100% Renewable Energy
The islands of the Caribbean are some of the most beautiful places on Earth, which is why they are among the most popular tourist destinations. But those same island nations also suffer from some of the highest electricity prices in the world, a factor that fuels poverty, helps grow their national debts and blocks their ability to plan for sustainable development. Because relatively little of that electricity comes from renewable sources, these countries spend large portion of their GDP importing fossil fuels, money that could otherwise be spent growing their economies. And while these islands don’t contribute significantly to global greenhouse gas emissions, they suffer an outsized impact from climate change, with rising sea levels, hotter temperatures and extreme weather events such as hurricanes. That’s why Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson’s climate group the Carbon War Room (CWR), now partnered with Amory Lovins’ think tank the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), created the Ten Island Challenge to encourage these nations to tap into their abundant supply of sun and wind. The challenge was kicked off last year at the Creating Climate Wealth Islands Summit to start collecting commitments from the islands, with CWR and RMI working with them to set ambitious renewable energy goals, develop plans to do so and build the infrastructure and resource capacity to execute those plans.    Aruba was the first nation to join the challenge. Its government worked with the two organizations to create the Smart Growth Pathways, and it has committed to transitioning from fossil fuels by 2020. St. Lucia, Grenada, the British Virgin Islands, the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, and San Andres and Providencia have already joined the challenge and are working to transition their economies away from fossil fuels. More

Saturday, April 2, 2016

SE4All Highlights Plans for Implementing SDG 7

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

This Caribbean Island Just Went 100% Renewable - Via Winston Connolly

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

Caribbean Green Economy Project

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

CARICOM's Commercialization of energy efficiency programs and projects in the Caribbean.

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.

Confirmed panelists:

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

Register Now!


Saturday, February 20, 2016

Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency inaugurated in Barbados

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

TEDx University College of the Cayman Islands

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:

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 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.

To register or for more information, go to or contact


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

CARICOM Reviews Commitments Made under the Paris Agreement

CARICOM Reviews Commitments Made under the Paris Agreement

12 February 2016: A two-day meeting of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) climate change ministers undertook a review of the outcomes of the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21) to the UNFCCC and assessed opportunities for the region. The main outcome of COP 21 is the Paris Agreement, an international climate change treaty that is expected to enter into force in 2020. Parties to the Paris Agreement agreed to limit the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above preindustrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C.

Parties further agreed in the Paris Agreement to foster adaptation, climate resilience and low greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions development, and to ensure finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low GHG emissions and climate-resilient development.

The CARICOM meeting brought together climate change technicians and their ministers who addressed COP 21 outcomes, reviewed commitments made by the region in the context of the Paris Agreement and assessed opportunities associated with CARICOM member States acceding to the Agreement.

The Paris Agreement will be opened for signature at the UN Headquarters in New York from 22 April 2016 to 21 April 2017. The UN Secretary-General will convene a high-level signature ceremony on 22 April 2016. The Paris Agreement shall enter into force when at least 55 countries representing at least 55% of the total global GHG emissions become Parties to the Agreement.

The CARICOM meeting of climate change ministers took place in Belize City, Belize, from 11-12 February 2016. [CARICOM Press Release] [UNFCCC Decision Adopting the Paris Agreement] [Paris Agreement: Next Steps] More

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Japan, CARICOM, UNDP Support Climate Change Efforts in the Caribbean

28 January 2016: The Government of Japan, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) have launched a US$15 million Japan-Caribbean Climate Change Partnership (J-CCCP) to help countries mitigate and adapt to climate change in line with their long-term development strategies.

The initiative will help Caribbean countries to put in practice actions and policies to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and adapt to climate change, including Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) and National Adaptation Plans (NAPs). It also aims to improve access to sustainable energy and help reduce fossil fuel dependence. Participating countries include Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Suriname.

The launch took place on 28 January 2016, during the first Japan-CARICOM Summit, which took place in Barbados with the presence of the Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe and Heads of CARICOM member States.

Speaking at the launch of the J-CCCP, Masatoshi Sato, Minister-Counsellor and Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of Japan in Trinidad and Tobago, stressed that the project will also: contribute to building an information sharing platform for developing and implementing climate change policies; promote the transfer of adaptation and mitigation technologies; enhance the Caribbean countries' capacity to cope with natural disasters; and promote South-South and North-South cooperation.

Gloria Joseph, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Planning, Economic Development and Investment, Dominica, welcomed the opportunity to benefit from early response warning systems, climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction (DRR) measures.

Rebeca Arias, Director of UNDP Regional Centre in Panama, Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean, emphasized that, in light of the Paris Agreement, the initiative is “timely in assisting countries to respond more effectively to the impacts of climate change and to increase their resilience through actions today to make them stronger for tomorrow.” More [UNDP Press Release] [Caribbean Climate Press Release]



Saturday, January 30, 2016

Small Island States and the Paris Agreement

Islands predominated in the Paris COP negotiations.[1] From metaphor to moral compass to declarations of kinship—like President Obama’s— the small island developing states’ vulnerability, dignity, and ambitions served as a rudder.

I’m an island boy” — President Barack Obama

Among other significant provisions discussed below, the response of the Agreement and the decision text—the latter a supporting though not legally binding document—and to demands for capacity building and efficient, simplified procedures for accessing financial resources directly addressed small islands’ concerns. And so the closing movements of the meetings offered congratulatory and hortatory words from island representatives, including a spontaneous, harmonized chorus of Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds stressing the refrain, “Every little thing is gonna be alright."[2]

Small island states representatives are, however, clear-eyed about the potential of the Paris Agreement and understand that it is but a foothold in a much, much steeper journey. In Paris they were represented primarily by the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) negotiating bloc, a coalition of small island and low-lying coastal countries that share similar development challenges and concerns about the environment, especially their vulnerability to the adverse effects of global climate change. AOSIS, with 44 members and observers from all regions of the world, works as a negotiating voice for small island developing states (SIDS).

The small islands representatives demanded a number of elements, including a long-term temperature goal of “well below 1.5 degrees” Celsius above pre-industrial levels, an indicative pathway to achieve it, an international mechanism on Loss and Damage due to climate-related events, and scaled-up, reliable financial resources above the $100 billion per year by 2020 already promised by developed countries to developing nations, particularly the most vulnerable.[3]

1.5˚C to stay alive

Beginning with the 2009 COP15 meetings in Copenhagen, SIDS and particularly the atoll nations noted the existential threat of a 2˚C ceiling on temperature rise. The calls for 1.5 to stay alive were, however, largely relegated to the tense hallways of Copenhagen’s Bella Center six years ago. The 2015 final decision text and Paris Agreement, in contrast, emphasize the urgent need to hold increased global average temperature to “well below 2˚ C above pre-industrial levels” and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5˚ C.

This is palpable progress, meeting in part a demand of island states, but is not supported by the remainder of the text. While the Agreement calls for global peaking of emissions “as soon as possible,” it does not require complete decarbonization of global economies, opting instead for a balance between anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks. The absence of the decarbonization mandate makes the 1.5˚ C goal almost entirely illusory. Settling on and supporting a1.5˚C ceiling will be a critical next step in future decision-making. More


Saturday, January 9, 2016

Swapping national debt for action on climate change could be the solution we've been looking for

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

Climate change is altering Greenland ice sheet, accelerating sea level rise

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

22 Countries Join ‘Because the Ocean’ to Support Action on Climate Change and Oceans

10 December 2015: At the Paris Climate Change Conference, 22 countries supported the 'Because the Ocean' Declaration and agreed to work towards three objectives to advance action on climate change, oceans and sustainable development.

The Chilean Foreign Affairs Ministry, the French Ministry of Ecology, the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, the Global Ocean Commission (GOC), the Institute on Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI) and Tara Expeditions organized the 'Because the Ocean' event on the sidelines of the Paris Climate Change Conference.

“The ocean will—today and every day—extract four kilograms of carbon dioxide per person on the planet from our atmosphere,” explained Global Ocean Commission (GOC) Co-Chair José María Figueres at the event. He highlighted the ocean's role in shielding the earth from “intense and accelerated climate change impacts,” noting that it absorbs 25% of carbon and absorbs 90% of excess heat, and urged countries to “cherish and protect the ocean.”

“Because the Ocean sustains life on earth and our collective well-being” the signatory countries urge action to enhance global ocean resilience to the impacts of carbon dioxide emissions and climate change. The Declaration describes the ocean's contribution to economic wealth and climate-related impacts on the ocean, observing climate change seriously affects marine life and causes irreversible damage to coral reefs and related ecosystems and species. The Declaration emphasizes the importance of the ocean for small island developing States (SIDS) and for the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

Because the Ocean will work towards: 1) a special report on the ocean by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC); 2) development of an ocean action plan under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), including continuing to meet as a group to address the challenges identified in the Declaration; and 3) the UN Ocean Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Conference in Fiji in June 2017, which is expected to establish a regular review of SDG 14 on oceans and marine resources.

Eleven countries signed the Declaration at the high-level event. An additional four countries joined the initiative at a private ceremony hosted by Prince Albert II of Monaco on 4 December. Seven more countries signed the Declaration at a ceremony hosted by the Chilean delegation.

The participating countries are Aruba, Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Fiji, France, Guinea Bissau, Kiribati, Madagascar, Mexico, Monaco, Morocco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Palau, Senegal, Seychelles, Spain, and Sweden. [GOC Press Release, 10 December] [GOC Press Release, 30 November] [Because the Ocean Declaration] [IISD RS Coverage of Paris Climate Change Conference] More