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PM resolves to keep climate change on the front burner

Published:Saturday | May 7, 2016 | 8:26 PMJodi-Ann Gilpin

In sharing his experience while at the recent US Caribbean Central American Energy Summit in Washington, DC, Prime Minister Andrew Holness said issues of climate change and the environment will have to be taken more seriously if the country is to see real development.

"I was in Washington recently and a large part of the discussion was on energy, but, surprisingly, a larger part of the discussion was on climate change and the environment. The world is slowly but surely coming to the realisation that we have to manage our environment," Holness said as he addressed the launch of Workers' Week and Labour Day last week.

"Jamaica has not made the environment an important priority, but this Government intends to ensure that while we pursue job creation, economic growth and avenues to prosperity, we equally pursue sustainable development of our people. We will have to make every effort to do our part to create a sustainable environment," the prime minister declared.

The US Secretary of State, John Kerry, in addressing the same event, signalled that choices which leaders make with respect to energy have to be centred on sustainable outcomes.


"Last December, I had the privilege of being in Paris when 200 nations came together to adopt the most ambitious climate-change agreement in history. And last month, on Earth Day, the 22nd of April, I had the privilege of being in New York with my little grandchild, signing our signature to an agreement that some 200 nations came together to take part in," Kerry said.

"This is not a small thing, this is an enormous signal to the global marketplace that this is the future. The energy market is the future. The choices we make with respect to energy are going to define whether your country is up or down, where it's going, whether you're moving in the right direction or staying in the past, or even moving in the wrong direction."

He also said both developed and developing countries have to come on board in the push for sustainable energy.

"I believe that is the future. Renewable energy is growing; there is no question about it. Last year, for the first time in history, more money was invested in clean energy projects than in fossil fuel development. So we all need to grab onto this," Kerry urged.

"Every one of us, I think, should take note of the fact that the Caribbean and Central American nations continue to pursue legal, regulatory and policy reforms. They're going to modernise and integrate their energy systems and make private-sector clean energy more attractive in all of those places."