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Speech Spotlight: Alternative Energy Conference – Awards Presentation 2009

Remarks by Ambassador Nicole Avant

Alternative Energy Conference – Awards Presentation

Sheraton Resort

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Minister Deveaux,  Minister Neymour,  Mr. Basden, Mr. Weech,  Mr. Rolle,  Mr. Sands, The Bahamas Chamber of Commerce representatives, The Bahamas Hotel Association, panelists and guest speakers, ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon.

It is truly a pleasure to be here and to address such a distinguished gathering of scientists, government officials, academia, and members of civil society and business leaders.  We have gathered here to discuss a topic of critical importance to energy, climate safety and security in the United States and in The Bahamas.

Climate Change is a real phenomenon. a significant change in sea-level rise, due to greenhouse gas emissions will have a catastrophic effect in island nations like The Bahamas.  There is an urgent need for action. And this is why the advancement of alternative and renewable energy technologies is one of President Obama’s key priorities.

He supports policies in the United States that advance energy and climate security and will promote economic recovery efforts, accelerate job creation, and drive clean energy manufacturing.  We are confident that the United States can and will take the lead in building The 21st Century Clean Energy Economy.

As President Obama has said, “We have a responsibility to do so as the world’s largest historic emitter of greenhouse gases.”  But domestic action alone is insufficient.  Over 80 percent of future greenhouse gas emission will come from developing countries.

And while the U.S. supports the fundamental right of a nation to develop, it is our view that the only way to achieve a sustainable development future is through a low-carbon pathway.  The Bahamas understandably has a clear consensus on the threat of Global Warming.

We applaud this government’s efforts to reduce its carbon footprint and to explore the ways that renewable energy can best meet the needs of this country through the National Energy Plan.

I am especially encouraged to learn that the Bahamas Electricity Corporation has recently shortlisted six alternative energy suppliers, including a waste-to-energy provider.  These developments in sustainable power production are an excellent first step.

We hope that the discussions at this conference will move this country closer to necessary regulatory reform that will enable businesses and residences to contribute back to the power grid and secure a stable and reliable energy supply for generations to come.

I want to take a further moment to applaud the private sector in The Bahamas: for recognizing that addressing climate change is an economic opportunity; not a burden.  The link between clean, sustainable energy and robust economic growth is the hallmark of the 21st century global economy.

The partnerships I see here between the public sector and private industry are what will make The Bahamas a model in efficient, sustainable energy practices for the region – and eventually for the world.

The U.S. will continue to work hard towards reducing human effects on climate change.  We will support The Bahamas through trade links, through technical assistance, and through the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas.  We are confident that this framework for advancing energy security and combating climate change will generate more opportunities for cooperation in energy security between our two nations.  Together, we can set our economies on a clean energy growth path that will preserve the world for generations to come.  Thank you.

And speaking of future generations, I would now like to take this opportunity to invite the prize sponsors of the alternative energy marketing competition to join me while I announce the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners.

As you all know, the U.S. Embassy, in conjunction with the Ministry of Education and The Ministry of Environment, The Bahamas Electricity Corporation, The Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and The Bahamas Hotel Association, launched this competition to promote awareness of alternative energy among high school students.  The competition was open to groups of six students from each school.

Students were asked to select an alternative energy resource or a conservation idea, and to submit a one-page marketing plan, a slogan, a poster and a one-minute recorded jingle. The teams presented their campaigns to a panel and were awarded points based on different criteria, such as clarity and marketability.

The top three teams have been invited to this conference – they are from St. Anne’s School, Temple Christian and C.R. Walker Senior High School. Let’s give them a round of applause.  As I call out their names, each team will play its one-minute jingle so that you can all have an opportunity to listen to the creativity and the passion that these students put into their campaigns.

Without further adeu, I would like to announce the third-prize winner.  This team will receive a Blue Lagoon Eco-Adventure package donated by Dolphin Encounters.  The 3rd prize winner is:  Temple Christian High School.  The second prize winners will receive a one-day, all-expense paid trip to the Island School, Cape Eleuthera.  Airline tickets for this prize were donated by New Oriental Laundry, the Poop Deck, Bahamas Waste, Ferreira and Company law firm, Islands by Design and Reiss Engineering.  The 2nd prize winner is: C.R. Walker Senior High School.

The first prize winners, who, by now, know who they are, will receive a one-week, all-expense paid trip to the Forfar Field Station Bahamas Environmental Youth Camp in Andros.  Sponsored by the Bahamas National Trust, Bahamas Hotel Association, Coastal Awareness Committee, The Bahamas Reef Environment Education Foundation and Bahamas Fast Ferries.

This team showed exceptional ingenuity and creativity in their marketing projects.  Copies of their campaign will be distributed to all conference participants.  Please welcome the students of St. Anne’s school to the stage to receive their awards.

Thanks to all of our sponsors, whose generous contributions made these prizes possible.  And special thanks to Kerzner International, who has given day passes to the Aquaventure Water Park to every member of the top three teams.

It has been a pleasure and an honor to be here this afternoon.  Enjoy the remainder of the conference and I look forward to working with all of you in our mutual pursuit of a greener world.

Category/ies:Regional News, Regional Speeches.
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