(GUYANA CHRONICLE)CARIBBEAN nations have been offered the scope to access funding for their energy infrastructural projects through the Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change (PACC) 2030, a mechanism initiated by the US to address energy security and climate crisis within the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
The first major climate change adaptation initiative in the pacific region, the initiative will see the US supporting Caribbean countries’ energy infrastructure and climate resilient projects from beginning to end.
US Vice-President, Kamala Harris made the announcement on Thursday, when she met with regional leaders on the sidelines of the Ninth Summit of the Americas underway in Los Angeles, California.
Guyana’s President, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali is leading a delegation, which includes Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, Hugh Todd; Foreign Secretary, Robert Persaud and Ambassador, George Talbot, to the five-day international meet.
The US Vice-President said the climate issue remains an existential crisis for the entire planet, stressing that “the Caribbean is on the frontline of the crisis.”
She said the US will work with Caribbean countries to identify new clean energy projects, and will provide technical assistance to ensure the projects are viable and appealing to investors, a release from the Department of Public Information noted.
“We will bring them (investors) on road shows to showcase, and we will improve access to development financing which will make these projects a reality. We will engage with the private sector at every stage of this work because their involvement is essential to making this productive and meaningful,” Harris assured the Caribbean leaders.
DPI also pointed out that the US Vice-President said when the transition to clean energy is accelerated; economic opportunities for the entire region would be unlocked.
“When we work together to address this urgent threat, it benefits the people of the United States and the people of the Caribbean, and all of us of course benefit by reducing emission.”
The US-Caribbean relation remains a priority, Harris noted. She said while the climate crisis is one of the US’ highest priorities, there are still other issues that are important and must be addressed together.
CARICOM’s Secretary General, Dr. Carla Barnett relayed that energy security in the Caribbean is a critical matter as countries seek to transition their energy systems to more modern, clean and reliable supplies of renewable energy. She said member states are heavily dependent on fossil fuel for energy needs, and are predominantly net energy importers.
“Our position is to optimise our indigenous sources as we make that judicious transition to renewable resources. We are therefore, pleased to have this conversation. We are aware that our own public sector’s fiscal constraints limit the extent to which our governments can finance a transition to renewable resource and therefore the undertaking to provide sources of financing that our private sector can access is very important.”
Dr. Barnett said the devastating COVID-19 pandemic, has also impacted the Caribbean’s energy and resilience and the already fledgling climate crisis.
Guyana has been at the forefront of calls for a more hands-on approach by developed nations in the handling of the climate crisis, particularly since it has damning effects on developing countries.
President Ali has also called on his regional counterparts to contribute to the global solution.
“We have the capacity, we have the capability and we must now work together to find our place and space in bringing global solutions,” he had said at the recent International Energy Conference and Expo held in Guyana in February.