Caught between its quest to grow the economy, create jobs and cut electricity costs, and the negative impacts associated with building an oil refinery, the Antigua and Barbuda government is looking to a mix of clean energy and fossil fuels to address its energy needs.
The 1,800 residents of the tiny Caribbean island of Barbuda are learning to adapt as climate change proves to be a force to reckon with, disrupting not just the lives of the living but also the resting places of those who died centuries ago.
The Caribbean region’s bid to become food secure is in peril as farmers struggle to produce staple crops under harsh drought conditions brought about by climate change.
Climate change is forcing the nine-member Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) to choose between expending scarce resources to deal with its impact or other pressing development goals.
Water rationing has become a way of life for the 1,800 residents of the tiny island of Barbuda, which has been experiencing prolonged dry periods, especially in the Highlands area near the main agricultural lands.
Antigua is one of the most drought-prone countries in the Caribbean. So whenever it rains, the inhabitants generally regard the weather as “showers of blessing”.
Ralph Gonsalves fought to hold back tears as he shared how his cousin was killed the night before Christmas.
Diann Black-Layne grew up in a single parent home with nine siblings on the tiny Caribbean island of Antigua. Still, life was easygoing and enjoyable, she recalls. For her, it was paradise.
Every year, the Caribbean's electric sector burns through approximately 30 million barrels of fuel. Overall, the region imports in excess of 170 million barrels of petroleum products annually.
With their islands devoid of rivers or streams, farmers in Antigua and Barbuda have been building dams and ponds for centuries, harvesting rainwater to irrigate their crops and provide drinking water for their livestock.
In drought-plagued Antigua, where water and energy top the list of most precious resources, one campaign is encouraging islanders to conserve both of these commodities.
With the exception of oil rich Trinidad and Tobago, most, if not all, other Caribbean islands are extremely vulnerable when it comes to the high costs of imported fuels that are easily disrupted by natural disasters and other phenomena.
Tourism-dependent Antigua may have been spared the ravages of superstorm Sandy, but the island is nevertheless feeling its effects on environmental, political and economic fronts.
Local scientists are warning the tiny 62-square-mile island of Barbuda is becoming one of the most vulnerable spots on earth to the consequences of climate change.