Sun | Dec 17, 2017

Earth Today | Green Climate Fund an option for investment in clean energy technology

Published:Thursday | November 23, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Anthony Chen

IT MAY be possible to satisfy the recent call from respected climate scientist Professor Anthony Chen for developed countries, with historical responsibility for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that fuel global warming, to help make renewable energy cheaper.

"Unless we get rid of GHGs, we will be adapting (to climate change) to no end," Chen said, speaking at a recent discussion forum hosted by the Caribbean Policy Research Institute in Kingston.

"It is the developed countries that need to mitigate. And this has always been the problem - to get them to mitigate ... I suggest sentencing them to hard labour ... The hard labour would be that they would have to work to make clean energy more affordable," he added.

For Colonel Oral Khan, chief technical director in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, this may be doable with the Green Climate Fund (GCF).

"If the funds are accessible as grants and not as loans, what Professor Chen is asking for could be satisfied through a means like a GCF," he told The Gleaner.

"Where we have a problem is where those funds become loans because our countries are already so indebted," he added.

UnaMay Gordon, head of the Climate Change Division, said while the GCF could be an option for investment in renewables, the monies due to the fund from developed country donations will need to be made.

"They made a commitment to capitalise the fund to the tune of US$100 billion per year by 2020 and we have not seen a true demonstration of that," she said.

The GCF was created to support the response efforts of developing countries to climate change. According to its website, its "innovation" is "to use public investment to stimulate private finance, unlocking the power of climate-friendly investment for low-emission, climate-resilient development".

"To achieve maximum impact, GCF seeks to catalyse funds, multiplying the effect of its initial financing by opening markets to new investments," it added.

Chen has been consistent in his call for developed countries to pay penance for their emissions, which have put small-island developing states, for example, at high risk of climate threats, including sea level rise, extreme hurricanes and the associated negative livelihood and health implications.

And the physicist, who in 2007 shared in the Nobel Peace Prize for his work on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, insists developed countries can invest in solar and wind that can be readily harvested in the Caribbean.

"Think of the benefits to the Caribbean if the insulation of clean energy plants that is solar and wind energy plants, plus storage were made cheaper than gas or oil or coal. We could set up power plants for which we would not have to pay fuel cost. We would just use the sun and the wind," he said.

- P.W.R