Friday, March 22, 2013

Cayman Islands Government issue draft National Energy Policy

The Cayman Islands Government has, as of this week, released a draft Energy Policy for the islands.

The vision for the National Energy Policy (NEP);

To be an efficient, diversified energy sector, supported by informed public behavior within the Cayman Islands, which provides secure, reliable, and affordable energy in an environmentally sustainable manner.

Vision for the NEP—this defines the orientation towards which the Cayman Islandsintends to steer its energy sector; and provides the overall setting for the NEP’s Goals, Objectives, and Policies

Goals for the NEPthese state what the Cayman Islands wants to achieve for its energy sector: decrease costs of energy (as a priority), increase environmental sustainability, increase energy security, and contribute to economic development of the energy industry

Objectives of the NEPthese are dynamic objectives (in that they may evolve over time if technological and economic conditions allow it), and define measurable andquantifiable results expected to be produced in the long term: 21 percent of overall energy savings, 13.5 percent of electricity sold generated from renewable sources, and 19 percent reduction (3.5 million tons) in greenhouse gas emissions compared to a business as usual scenario

Policies for electricity (renewable energy, energy conservation, and energy efficiency in supply and demand), transportation, fuel products, land use, and public awareness and education: these (divided into general and specific policies) identify how to pursue desired results.

The Implementation Strategy and Plan complements this NEP by specifying the actions and resources to put the NEP in place, and monitor actual progress against the NEP’sgoals and objectives.

Please download this document and read it. If you have suggestions or changes that you think need to be made please contact your elected representative. A good place to ask questions would be at the campaign meeting now taking place. Keep in mind that this document will affect the cost of living in the Cayman Islands for many years into the future. Let us all do our part to ensure we get it right!

The Cayman Institute, the organization that started the conversation on Energy Security in 2007 with a presentation to Cabinet, is extremley gratified to see the progress that has been made and congratulates the Cayman Islands government for pushing forward with this critical project. Download / Read



Unlocking Renewable Potential in the Caribbean

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The 2013 Asia Pacific Clean Energy Summit and Expo

About the Summit

The 2013 Asia Pacific Clean Energy Summit and Expo will be held jointly with the 2013 Islands & Isolated Communities Congress at the Hawai‘i Convention Center, September 9 - 11.

The event is the preeminent meeting place for international leaders and energy experts at the forefront of the clean energy movement. Securing energy independence and developing a clean energy industry that promotes the vitality of our planet are two reasons why it is critical to reaffirm already established partnerships and build new ones throughout the Asia-Pacific region and the world. The Asia Pacific Clean Energy Summit and Expo and the Islands & Isolated Communities Congress provide a forum for the high-level global networking necessary to advance this emerging clean energy culture. Read our 2012 attendee testimonials at right. More


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Count down to Earth Hour with lessons on climate change The annual 60 minute light switch off is back on 23 March. So why not use the event to teach about climate change? Here are our top resources to help you plan your green lesson

The annual 60 minute light switch off is back on 23 March. So why not use the event to teach about climate change? Here are our top resources to help you plan your green lesson

Every year at the end of March, individuals, governments, companies and organisations switch non-essential lights off for 60 minutes to mark Earth Hour - a global event which aims to raise awareness of climate changeand environmental concerns. It may only be symbolic, but watching iconic buildings such as the Eiffel Tower and Sydney Opera House be plunged into darkness sends a powerful message.

The seventh annual Earth Hour on 23 March, 8.30pm to 9.30pm, is a flash of inspiration for teachers wanting to explore climate change in more depth - from the science of global warming to energy saving and renewable energy. The event is made even more relevant this week afterteachers in England condemned the British government for dropping climate change from the geography curriculum for under 14s.

The Guardian Teacher Network, Environment section and Earth Hour website are rich with resources, interactive multimedia, videos and picture galleries to help you plan your next green lesson. Here are our pick of the best:

One-stop guide to climate change

Not sure where to start? This interactive guide is a hexagonal spider map which will help you find your way around this labyrinthine issue and answer many of the burning questions orbiting this hot topic. Covering everything from science and politics to economics and technology, your class will be able to delve deeper into all the subjects covered by the issue.

World temperature map since 1880

Last year was one of the top 10 hottest on record. But was it a freak of nature or the tip of a slowly melting iceberg? Engage your students in a debate on climate change, exploring the facts and data surrounding the topic, using this animation displaying a progression of changing global surface temperature anomalies from 1880 to 2012. The map clearly shows global surface temperature in 2012 was +0.55°C (1F) warmer than the 1951 to 1980 base period average, despite much of the year being affected by a strong La NiƱa. What does your class think could have caused this rise in temperature?

National carbon calculator

Ask your pupils to play UK prime minister and give them the tricky task of cutting our fuel guzzling country's carbon emissions by 80%, but still providing enough electricity to meet demand. The calculator, which allows students to set policy on energy, transport and other sectors, may have originally been created to tie in with the 2010 general election, but it's still a handy tool to use today, engaging the class in mathematics and political debate.

The big melt video

News stories and documentaries about melting ice caps are worrying, but tales of crumbling glaciers thousands of miles away can often leave pupils feeling cold. Sometimes, seeing is believing and this fascinating video from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows how the Arctic ice retreated over the summer from April to September 2012.

Weather memory bank

Talking about the weather is a national pastime in the UK. And we've had more than our fair share of storms, floods and snow drifts this winter to keep us chatting until summer finally decides to arrive. But is our weather any worse than it was 10, 20 or 50 years ago? Engage your pupils in a discussion about Britain's infamously unpredictable weather by joining a national initiative that seeks to explore and record people's meteorological memories, especially those associated with extreme weather events in the recallable past. The scheme is particularly interested in the way in which memory and experience influences understanding of climate change issues. Pupils can add to this memory bank by interviewing their parents and grandparents.

Scepticism and climate change

Is global warming an inconvenient truth or green wash propaganda? The data in favour of the climate change argument is certainly compelling, but there are some in the scientific community and elsewhere who remain sceptical about the topic. This Teacher Network resource, suitable for citizenship students aged 11 to 18, explores the role, if any, scepticism should play in debates over climate change. More


Monday, March 11, 2013

Climate Change Is the Biggest Threat in the Pacific, Says Top U.S. Admiral [And Caribbean]

North Korea just annulled the 1953 armistice ending its war with South Korea. China and Japan are locked in a dispute over an island chain. But the greatest long-term threat to the peace of East Asia and Pacific Ocean — the part of the world at the heart of the Obama administration’s aspirational defense strategy — is climate change, according to the admiral in charge of U.S. military operations there.

Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III is no smelly hippie. He became chief of U.S. Pacific Command last year after running the maritime portion of NATO’s 2011 war against Libyan dictator Muammar Gadhafi. To Locklear, the consequences of a warming planet are likely to “cripple the security environment, probably more likely than the other scenarios we all often talk about.”

“You have the real potential here in the not-too-distant future of nations displaced by rising sea level,” Locklear told Danger Room pal Bryan Bender of the Boston Globe over the weekend. “Certainly weather patterns are more severe than they have been in the past. We are on super typhoon 27 or 28 this year in the Western Pacific. The average is about 17.”

So the greatest threat in the Pacific region isn’t a military one, despite the fresh provocations fromnuclear North Korea; the Chinese missile buildup; and the hardening responses by the nations that feel threatened by both regional military powers. All this has right-leaning naval analyst Bryan McGrath shaking his head that Locklear’s jumped the shark.

And yet Locklear’s forces frequently have to respond to the destructive weather events that are growing more frequent as the Earth’s climate shifts. Whether it’s a typhoon in the Philippines, a hurricane in Burma or an earthquake in Indonesia, climate change is putting a greater operational strain on U.S. forces in the Pacific than most other threats facing a region experiencing what Locklear recently described as “relative peace.” These are just the immediate-term consequences of climate change, not the ones that will manifest over the coming decades in a region where half the world’s trade occurs.

“I’m into the consequence management side of it,” Locklear told Bender. “I’m not a scientist, but the island of Tarawa in Kiribati, they’re contemplating moving their entire population to another country because [it] is not going to exist anymore.” More


Sunday, March 10, 2013

The drive-thrus are killing more people than the drive-bys

Ron Finley plants vegetable gardens in South Central LA -- in abandoned lots, traffic medians, along the curbs. Why? For fun, for defiance, for beauty and to offer some alternative to fast food in a community where "the drive-thrus are killing more people than the drive-bys."

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Saturday, March 9, 2013

Insurance industry’s climate change dithering could be catastrophic for global economy

Some numbers to keep insurance executives reaching for the Ambien in the dead of the night: Extreme weather driven by climate change cost the US insurance industry $32 billion in 2011.

Superstorm Sandy alone led to some $25 billion in insured losses last year, the warmest on record. And today climate scientists released a study showing global temperatures have hit a 4,000-year high.

So one might think the insurance industry would be leading the charge on climate change, given its multitrillion-dollar exposure to property damage resulting from the hurricanes, droughts, wildfires, and other weather-related calamities that are increasing in frequency and intensity as the planet warms.

Not exactly.

Ceres, the Boston-based nonprofit that promotes corporate sustainability, released a report yesterday analyzing 184 insurers’ responses to an annual climate risk survey mandated by the states of California, New York, and Washington for any insurance company conducting more than $300 million in business.

“In general, almost all companies responding to the survey show significant weakness in their preparedness to address the effects climate change may have on their business,” the report states.

As Ceres notes, the global economy would be paralyzed without insurance lubricating commerce. And since the insurance industry is also a major institutional investor—to the tune of $5 trillion—bad bets on companies exposed to climate change risk could erode insurers’ own balance sheets and their ability to cope with multiple Sandy’s in the years to come. Not to mention liability from litigation arising from customers such as power plant operators whose emissions contribute to climate change.

“A substantial proportion of the revenue generated by insurers is derived from investment returns,” the Ceres report notes. “Just as climate change may substantially increase insured losses, it may also adversely affect the investment performance that insurers rely on to meet their liabilities.”

The study found that only 23 of the 184 insurers have adopted comprehensive climate change strategies as part of their risk management operations. Of those 23 more forward-looking companies, 13 are foreign-owned.

Ceres rated insurance companies’ climate change policies on a 50-point scale. The average score was a rather dismal 7.5 with 17 companies scoring 0 and one insurer taking the highest score of 33. (Ceres withheld the identities of individual companies in the rankings.)

So while Swiss Re collaborates with the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, some US insurers appear reluctant to categorically acknowledge the existence of global warming.

“Allstate is not endorsing, rejecting or expressing any opinion with respect to any particular scientific pronouncement about climate change/global warming,” the US insurance giant cautioned in its response to the survey.

Most insurers have implemented sophisticated strategies to evaluate the risks associated with extreme weather and climate variability, according to CERES. But few are looking at climate change as an immediate threat whose impacts are accelerating with each passing year.

Property insurers, not surprisingly, are at the forefront of industry efforts on climate change. Some life insurance companies, on the other hand, see little connection between climate change and the potential consequences for their business. More


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Small Island States (SIDS) in 2014

Antigua St. John’s - In keeping with the request of Antigua & Barbuda Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer; the United Nations has officially dedicated 2014 as the International Year of Small Island Developing States.

Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer

Prime Minister Spencer tabled the request at the UN General Assembly in September 2012, where he also pointed to Antigua and Barbuda’s role on behalf of the region, in sending a strong message of awareness to the international community on the need for bold action and support for sustainable development, and the pervasive issue of climate change.

“We cannot wait for our lands to disappear before we act. We must act now to respond to the climate crisis, and ensure that not a single country is sacrificed, no matter how small.

“The threat is real, our sea-levels are rising, there is coral bleaching beyond the depths of our shores, and hurricanes are becoming more recurrent and severe,” the Prime Minister told the United nations General Assembly.

National Information Officer with the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) for the Caribbean Area, Amanda Laurence, currently in Antigua, confirmed to local journalists on Tuesday that the year has indeed been delegated as the International Year of Small Island Developing States, and has been added to the UN Calendar for 2014.

She noted that the UN seriously considered Antigua & Barbuda Prime Minister Spencers’ proposal, and agreed that “the focus would be on them (the Caribbean) as requested.”

“I don’t have information on all the activities that will be rolled out for it next year but as those events are identified, the information would sent out,” Laurence said.

Antigua and Barbuda joined with the Small Island Developing States(SIDS) to point out to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) the need for concrete steps in order to protect these, and other exposed countries from the threat of climate change.

“The responsibility to mitigate climate change should be a collective consciousness for both developing and developed countries; however, developed countries should accept their responsibilities as the leading contributor in emitting extremely high levels of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere which are now threatening the welfare of the present and future generations,” Antigua’s Prime Minister said. More


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Study: Sea level rise could severely affect Caribbean coastal wetlands

The World Bank analysis considered a variety of types of coastal wetlands at risk in 76 countries and territories, using a number of databases and satellite maps.

According to the data, about 99 per cent of the coastal wetlands, at elevations of one metre or less in the Middle East and North Africa, could disappear, as well as 77 per cent in sub-Saharan Africa, 66 per cent in East Asia, and 39 per cent in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The World Bank said, in recent years, coastal wetlands have been disappearing more quickly than other ecosystems, mainly because of land development

The Washington-based financial institution said sea level rise from climate change will exacerbate these losses, adding that the rise in sea levels will lead to wetlands being submerged, pushed inland, or blanketed with salt.

"How those wetlands fare will vary, depending on the slopes and water flows in the surrounding area," the bank said.

Susmita Dasgupta, a lead environment economist at the bank's Development Research Group, said the findings are "alarming, because wetlands don't exist just for the birds and plants. People rely on them for water, food, transportation, and other essential goods and services".

Dasgupta, who co-authored the study with colleague Brian Blankespoor and consultant Benoit Laplante, said "we hope our research can motivate steps to protect wetlands, especially since global warming will for sure accelerate the rise of sea levels".

She said the resulting economic losses from coastal wetland destruction will be in addition to other coastal impacts, such as the forced relocation of people and infrastructure.

An earlier study co-authored by Dasgupta predicted that 60 million people in the Caribbean and developing countries would be forced out of their homes if sea levels rise by one metre. More


Sunday, March 3, 2013

Cold Front Passes The Cayman Islands


View from Stenning & Associates, Harbour Centre, George Town,

Squalls, rough seas and cooler temperatures on the West coast of Grand Cayman this morning. Photo taken from the fourth floor offices of Stenning & Associates, George Town, Cayman Islands.