At the start of 2017, the Caribbean Drought and Precipitation Monitoring Network (CDPN) warned eastern Caribbean countries that they were facing “abnormal climate conditions” and possibly another full-blown drought.
With wind, solar and other renewable energy sources steadily increasing their share in energy consumption across the Caribbean, Barbados is taking steps to further reduce the need for CO2-emitting fossil fuel energy.
The Caribbean Drought & Precipitation Monitoring Network (CDPMN) is warning countries in the region that the same abnormal climate conditions they have experienced over the last few years, which resulted in some of the worst drought in two decades, could continue this year.
Negotiators from the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) are intent on striking a deal to keep the global temperature rise at 1.5 degrees of pre-industrial levels, but many fear that a 10-year-old agreement to buy cheap petroleum from Venezuela puts their discussions in jeopardy.
Lefties Food Stall, a pint-sized eatery serving Barbados’ signature flying-fish sandwiches, recently became the first snack shack on the Caribbean island to be fitted with a solar panel.
Facing potential extinction under rising sea levels, many small island nations are embracing renewable energy and trying to green their economies. Although the least responsible for carbon emissions, small countries like Barbados are on the front lines of climate impacts.
Last Fall, I witnessed the Grenada Council of Churches insert themselves into negotiations between their government and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) around the island’s debt restructuring and presumed austerity policies. Religious leaders called from pulpits across the tiny island for a “Jubilee” or national debt cancellation.
Faced with the prospect of losing miles of beautiful white beaches – and the millions in tourist dollars that come with them - from erosion driven by climate change, Barbados is taking steps to protect its coastline as a matter of economic survival.
Despite having an abundance of wind and sunshine, Caribbean countries have found that going green is requiring significant shifts in policy, and most importantly, significant financing.
The tiny island of Nevis in the northern region of the Lesser Antilles is one of the few remaining unspoiled places in the Caribbean. It is now seeking to become the greenest, joining a growing list of Caribbean countries pursuing clean geothermal power.
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.
When it comes to pursuing a greener path to economic development, the tiny Caribbean island of Barbados is not about to allow its small size and limited resources to get in its way.
Mere weeks ago Arthur Smith, who has been farming here for more than 20 years, was dangling thousands of carrots in front of local consumers, but there were no buyers to be had.