Jamaica satisfied with progress towards green economy
The Jamaican government says it is making strides towards creating a green economy through increased investment in renewable-energy projects and instituting several energy-efficiency programmes.
"Our latest figures are that 9.7 per cent of all of Jamaica's energy consumption, including electricity, transportation fuels, and other forms comes from renewable sources, and that number is increasing," said Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change Minister Robert Pickersgill.
He told delegates attending the second Caribbean Green Economy Conference in Jamaica this week that to date, 5.7 per cent of electricity generation comes from renewable sources.
Pickersgill said that ground had been broken for new facilities that will more than double Jamaica's renewable-generation capacity in the next few years, and the country is working towards 20 per cent renewables by the year 2030 as outlined in the National Energy Policy.
"Growth in the renewable-energy sector will have win-win effects in climate change mitigation, reduced air pollution and increased employment opportunities," he said, adding that Cabinet recently approved the Climate Change Policy Framework, which will be tabled in Parliament shortly as a White Paper.
He said action plans for key economic sectors, including energy and transportation, will be developed in the 2015-16 financial year and these will give full consideration to climate change adaptation and mitigation.
The green economy is defined as an economy that results in reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities, and that aims for sustainable development without degrading the environment. It embodies key concepts such as low carbon development, resource efficiency, and social justice and equity.
Barbados' Minister of Environ-ment, Water Resources and Drainage, Dr Denis Lowe, who also addressed the conference, said without a dynamic focus on partnership, achieving a green economy in the Caribbean would be "a far stretch".
"And the partners will have to be people who totally embrace the principle of change, not only in terms of our economic platforms, but change in terms of the social interplay in our societies, and, of course, our environmental standards," he stated.
The three-day Caribbean Green Economy Conference is a collaborative initiative of the United Nations Environment Programme and the University of the West Indies, with the support of the European Union.
It is being attended by several ministers of environment from across the region, including Barbados, Dominica, Montserrat, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada, as well as representatives from civil society, academia and the private sector.
The aim is to enable the establishment of the regional green economy network as a platform for sharing national experiences and further strengthening intra-Caribbean cooperation in the area of green economy.