How Determined Are We To Fight Climate Change?

By Annette Rattigan-Leo, Department of Sustainable Development

IN 2013, there was a call for all Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to signal their commitment towards global efforts aimed at reducing Greenhouse Gas (GhG) emissions. Excess GhGs within the atmosphere lead to global warming and, in turn, contribute to climate change.

While Saint Lucia’s contribution to global emissions is a miniscule amount of 0.0015%, the country, nevertheless, commenced a stakeholder consultative process, including technical expertise, all in an effort to play its part in finding solutions to this global problem. Of course, focus on emission reduction (mitigation) means the use of cleaner forms of energy and less reliance on fossil fuels to generate electricity which, in turn, translates to a reduced fuel import bill for the country.

In November 2015, Saint Lucia communicated what is now known as its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) with interventions built on existing initiatives within the energy, electricity generation and transport sectors. The interventions, if implemented as proposed, would result in reduction in GhG emissions to the tune of 16% by 2025 and 23% by 2030. Essentially, by 2025, it is envisaged that there will be a 35% penetration of renewable energy island-wide and at least 50% by 2030. This estimate is based on a mix of solar, wind and geothermal energy.

The achievement of these targets will be further recognized through a reduction in energy consumption with the use of more energy efficient appliances and the retrofitting of public buildings to make them more energy-efficient. Additionally, the transport sector, the second-highest consumer of fossil fuel after electricity generation, is targeted for the introduction of electric and more fuel-efficient motor vehicles.

As a Small Island Developing State (SIDS), Saint Lucia is determined to achieve the targets set in its NDC. It is not only taking into consideration its own needs, but as lead in CARICOM on climate change, it recognizes the importance of intensifying efforts at mobilizing financial and technical resources for fellow Caribbean SIDS, especially at a time when international climate finance is being reduced.

In this vein, Saint Lucia is currently positioning itself to host a regional investment forum in June 2018 that will bring together high-level representatives from other participating governments, development partners, investors, private sector enterprises and banks, inter-governmental organizations and multilateral development banks. This forum will see the delivery of investment-ready and bankable projects by countries within the region.

This determination to achieve these targets must be further demonstrated at the policy level. This includes a demonstration of readiness by the Government to facilitate this achievement by ensuring that the required policies and legislation are instituted. Critical to this is the continued implementation of the National Energy Policy and the adoption and implementation of the National Energy Transition Strategy. The finalization of a number of electricity and energy efficiency-related legislation must be expedited and all efforts are to be supported by sustained public awareness measures.

Notwithstanding the efforts to fulfill its commitments through mitigation actions, Saint Lucia is determined to continue implementing meaningful measures to better prepare for and recover from the adverse effects of climate change (adaptation), given its vulnerability as a SIDS.

Saint Lucia’s delegation to the 23rd Conference of the Parties in Germany will be making every effort to inject ambition and leadership into the negotiation process by focusing effort on receiving the necessary support for unpacking and translating NDCs into clear priorities to generate bankable projects and programmes, aligned with the Paris Agreement goals.

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