Caribbean countries reduce their carbon emissions
Caribbean island states have tiny carbon footprints when compared to larger, more industrialised nations, yet they bear the brunt of climate change impacts such as rising sea levels and extreme weather events.
Despite this, COP19 in 2013 decided that all parties to the UNFCCC – even those with comparatively small carbon footprints – had to submit plans to reduce their CO2 emissions. These plans were known as the intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs). The deadline for their submissions was COP23 in Paris in 2015.
Linked to this, the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) asked the Intra-ACP GCCA Programme to guide Caribbean states through the complex process and strengthen capacity to prepare their INDCs.
In 2015, a few months before the Paris Conference, the Intra-ACP GCCA Programme ran a workshop in the Dominican Republic to provide technical assistance and capacity building for CARIFORUM countries to “create a common baseline of understanding and preparation of INDCs and their potential to deliver on national development aspirations”.
Belize, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, and St. Kitts all attended the workshop, and although four of the countries had already drawn up their INDCs, the workshop was an opportunity to revise and refine their plans.
By the end of the four-day workshop, one country – Belize – had submitted its INDC from scratch using the guidance provided, and the Belize representative commented that the workshop had inspired him to do so.
The workshop was close to the submission deadline, but participants were overwhelmingly positive. Feedback included praise for the practical approach and interactive style. Participants said the workshop was timely, applicable and accomplished what it was intended for. The cross-fertilisation of ideas and country experiences was particularly useful.
The transition to a low carbon economy is challenging for many Caribbean governments, but doing so will enable them to reduce fuel imports, save on foreign exchange and promote the use of sustainable energy.
FACT BOX – CARIBBEAN – CLIMATE CHANGE
Caribbean states have some of the world’s lowest greenhouse gas emissions, but are among the world’s countries most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Here are some more facts about climate change in the Caribbean region.
- If current trends continue, the Caribbean region could warm a further 2-3°C this century, more than the 1°C already seen in the last century.
- Annual rainfall in the region could decrease by up to 40 percent, posing a significant challenge to already water stressed islands.
- Caribbean sea levels could rise by one to two metres, far exceeding the rise already recorded.
- In 2017, Hurricane Irma caused US$14.8 billion in damage and killed more than 40 people as it swept across Barbuda, British Virgin Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands, Anguilla, St. Maarten, and St. Barts. It significantly damaged the Bahamas and Haiti, and affected St. Kitts and Nevis.
- Most small islands are heavily dependent on imported fossil fuels for the majority of their energy requirements, particularly transport and electricity production. In the Caribbean, petroleum imports are responsible for more than 75 percent of primary energy demand.
- Fossil fuels account for an average of 15 percent of all imports to Caribbean countries.
- 33 percent of all households in Barbados use solar water heaters.
- 75 percent of electricity on Guadeloupe is generated from wind power.