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Jamaica to do its share of climate change mitigation

Published:Wednesday | March 2, 2016 | 12:00 AMPetre Williams-Raynor

Jamaica is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of 1.1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year by 2030 as part of its global commitment to take climate change mitigation action.

To bring this about, the island - as reflected in its nine-page Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) document to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change - has undertaken to implement energy policies that ensure that the island

n Uses energy wisely and aggressively to pursue opportunities for conservation and efficiency

n Has a modernised and expanded energy infrastructure that enhances energy-generation capacity and ensures that energy supplies are safely, reliably, and affordably transported to homes, communities, and the productive sectors on a sustainable basis, and

n Achieves its energy resource potential through the development of renewable energy sources by increasing their share in its primary energy mix of 20 per cent by 2030.

Such policies are also to ensure that government agencies and ministries are models and leaders in energy conservation and environmental stewardship and that the island has a well-defined and established governance, institutional, legal, and regulatory framework.

Private industry support

Fully implemented energy polices need, too, to ensure that private

industry embraces "efficiency and

ecological stewardship to advance international competitiveness and to move towards a green economy", the document said.

Realising Nationally Determined Contributions is essential if the target of the climate deal, brokered in Paris in December, is to be reached.

That agreement - to which Jamaica is a party - looks to hold "the increase in the global average temperatures to well below two degrees above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels".

New activities

It is against this background that Jamaica is continuing its own mitigation efforts.

"Certain new activities have started up again under the memorandum of understanding we had with the Americans, for example, particularly around natural gas, that will allow us to have much more efficient plants ..." a source from the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment, and Climate Change told The Gleaner at the start of the year.

"Natural gas generation, generally speaking, can be made to respond very well to changes in demand ... . For example, if you have a solar plant and production dips, it is relatively easy for you to ramp up the production of electricity from a natural gas plant," the source added.

There are also other efforts afoot.

"Recognising that energy is not just electricity, it is also transport, some of the work we will be doing in respect of sector planning will involve a closer look at transportation and transportation efficiency and how we can reduce the amount of oil consumed there," the source noted.

Further, to achieve 20 per cent renewables in the island's energy mix, the source said, "You can increase the amount of renewables or decrease the amount of other fuels in the mix. There, you are talking efficiency measures and the Government is looking at efficiency in a number of respects."