Caribbean climate talks a complex conversation which must not waiver – Barbados PM

Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley said countries of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) have embarked on a journey to begin a sustainable energy future, noting that it is a conversation they must never allow to waver.

“Of the challenges facing our nations, the climate crisis and the energy transition present both threats and opportunities for our region. We must protect our people against the threats while taking absolute advantage of the opportunities afforded to us over the course of the next few decades.”

Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley

She made this comment during her address to the opening ceremony of the International Energy Conference and Expo ongoing at the Marriott Hotel, Kingston, Georgetown.  

PM Mottley echoed the concerns of Suriname’s President, Chandrikapersad Santokhi and President Nana Akufo Addo of Ghana, about the countries’ vulnerability to the changing climate.

As a region, the Caribbean leader said, there is access to a bounty of renewable and non-renewable energy sources.

“Energy, we all know, is integral to our societies. An abundant and affordable supply of energy is essential for meaningful social and economic activity. And to achieve growth in these activities, governments must actively implement policies that will create and incentivise the sustainable use of energy resources.”

This is because the utilisation of some of these energy sources does not come without its challenges. She referred to the natural disasters which have plagued the region, including volcanoes, hurricanes, floods and the creeping up of the seas onto the land.

Addressing the root cause of the exacerbation of these disasters, PM Mottley said the world is matched by a failure to appreciate what is really meant by ‘net zero’.

This term refers to the global goal to reduce the proliferation of environmentally detrimental energy sources, replacing them with renewable energy.

While she called for urgency on these matters, the Prime Minister said the Caribbean people are not single-issue people, and that complexity and frankness are required if the ramifications of these issues are to be respected and properly addressed.

These include the victimhood of vulnerable Caribbean nations to colonisation and exploitation. Yet, in an effort to close the gap, the Prime Minister said the disparity has been perpetuated in Caribbean societies. She argued that “if we are to live in a manner that benefits people, we have to have difficult conversations about preventing inequities.”

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