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UWI to lead climate-change, renewable-energy research

The University of the West Indies (UWI) has been tasked with spearheading research projects that will identify problems and offer solutions related to issues of climate change and renewable energy, as part of the new Caribbean Climate Change Adaptation Initiative.

The Initiative – an extension of the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas that was launched in 2009 by United States President Barack Obama, will see UWI connecting with American universities on issues that are specific to the region.

“I announced that six countries, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Jamaica and St Vincent and the Grenadines – that will receive grants to support pilot projects in efficient and renewable energy. I look forward to hearing about the results,” explained US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton following high-level talks with CARICOM foreign ministers at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Montego Bay, St James on Wednesday evening.

“Although climate change is affecting every country on Earth, it will have disproportionate impact on small island nations like those in the Caribbean. Storms are becoming more frequent and more intense. Coral reefs are dying. Beaches are eroding into the sea.”

Obama’s Energy and Climate Partnership initiative was used to spur creative solutions, and now consists of 40 different projects ranging from developing renewable-energy sources to mitigating and adapting to the effects of climate change.

The Jamaican Government has expressed interest in the development of renewable energy in its move away from total dependency on petroleum. This dependency carries a US$2.5-billion price tag for the country’s oil-import bill.

New partnership

Clinton also announced a new partnership that will enlist the support of the Caribbean diaspora to help create long-term economic growth throughout the region. The venture has been coined the Caribbean International Diaspora Engagement Alliance Marketplace, and will seek to bridge the gap between diaspora communities worldwide and entrepreneurs in their countries of origin with the aim of promoting trade and investment, starting businesses and developing other initiatives that expand economic opportunities.

“We believe that people of Caribbean descent can be a major asset for their countries of origin, not jut because of the vast amounts of money they send home in remittances,” she said. “Diaspora communities have great stores of talent, energy and entrepreneurial spirit as well.”

 

Source: Jamaica Gleaner



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