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PM Stuart promises SIDS heating help

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has pledged to assist other small island developing states (SIDS) in creating solar water heaters industries.  Stuart made this promise as he delivered the feature address this week at the inauguration of the Caribbean Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Centre (CCREEE) at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

No other Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country has seized the day – and the sunshine – the way Barbados has with its solar heating industry.

The country boasts 34 per cent penetration among households, the fifth highest globally, and Stuart said the lessons it has learnt and the expertise it has gained has placed it in an excellent position to share experiences and best practices.

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart

“I am therefore confident that the establishment of CCREEE will assist in the sharing of knowledge in this area among SIDS. There are other models in our countries of course, which are worthy of emulation,” he noted.

The Prime Minister added that the Barbados solar water heater industry was an excellent example of a small island developing state emerging as a global leader on the energy market.

Barbadians have saved tens of millions of dollars in energy costs since the country embraced solar water heating in the 1970s.

Meanwhile, the Barbadian leader suggested that the region must enter into meaningful partnerships with the international community to tackle climate change because the Caribbean would be among those most heavily impacted by severe weather patterns.

“As a region we must seek not only to eliminate the linked challenges of tackling climate change, promoting clean energy and achieving sustainable development, but also we must do so through the forging of essential partnerships and synergies,” he advised.

He referred to a 2008 United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report which said that the potential costs of adaptation to climate change in Caribbean countries, if global emissions continued unchecked, could amount to US$22 billion annually by the year 2050 and US$46 billion annually by the year 2100. He said these costs represented 10 per cent and 22 per cent respectively of GDP in these economies. (EJ)

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