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Small islands launch sustainable energy initiative

In spite of concerns that current climate talks may not reach an agreement that guarantees survival of small, vulnerable island nations, several small islands have taken matters into their own hands to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and improve energy efficiency.

They have signed a historic agreement to combine resources and work together to pilot a unique sustainable energy initiative which will improve their energy efficiency, reduce their reliance on fossil fuel and reduce greenhouse gas emissions against targets they have established or will establish for themselves in the near future. The initiative, known as SIDS-Dock, is essentially an institutional mechanism which will combine creative financing tools, capacity building and logistical resources that aim to radically transform the collective energy sectors of island nations.

Speaking at the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding establishing SIDS-Dock, during a side event at the UNFCCC COP 15, Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, Stephenson King, stated that for small island developing nations, making the transition to a clean energy economy is highly dependent on the availability of cost-effective solutions and secure financing. However, he stressed that a clean energy economy is absolutely essential for meeting the challenges posed by climate change in pursuing sustainable development.

Lormus Bundhoo, Minister of Environment and NDU for Mauritius, another of the signing countries, added that the SIDS are uniquely vulnerable to the negative impacts of climate change in terms of ecosystem sensitivity, economic structure, small geographic size and adaptation capacity.

“SIDS-Dock has the potential to help us address these vulnerabilities by strengthening our ability to secure from bilateral sources, markets and philanthropy, a pool of capital to invest in low carbon energy projects and in so doing help advance sustainable development of small islands nations,” he said.

The Environment Minister highlighted that Mauritius has established a 40 million dollar sustainable energy fund which will help his country reduce its reliance on petroleum and reduce emissions.

The key elements of SIDS-Dock revolve around the cooperative nature of the initiative and its structure that will allow it to access the global carbon capital markets and other green and socially responsible investment funds, but also to access technology and effect transfer as needed.

“SIDS-Dock is so named because it is intended to be a “docking station” for the European and US carbon markets,” explained Science Advisor to AOSIS Dr. Al Binger. “The potential value of trading avoided GHG emissions is estimated to be between USD $100-400 billion annually. It will thus be a mechanism that facilitates technological transfer and flow of financial capital we intend to for small islands to derive significant benefits through SIDS-Dock”.

“When operational, SIDS-Dock will assist Island nations in assessing the potential options for attracting investments for the development of a particular renewable energy or for energy efficiency improvements or conservation, which is very important,” he said.

“We will then work on setting emission reduction targets and begin implementing the energy strategy required to achieve these standards.”

Twelve Small Island member states of AOSIS (Alliance of Small Island States) signed the agreement establishing SIDS-Dock on Friday. They are The Commonwealth of the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Jamaica, Mauritius, Palau, Samoa, Saint Lucia, Seychelles and Solomon Islands.

They will work in cooperation across the three SIDS regions towards their goal of increasing energy efficiency by 25% (2005 baseline) at a minimum and to generate a minimum of 50% of electric power from renewable sources, and a 20-30% decrease in liquid petroleum transportation fuel use by 2033.


Source: Caribbean Net News



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