Is Eastern Caribbean Confused and Conflicted on the Environment!

Which is it? Are the Eastern Caribbean states interested in fighting Climate Change or contributing to this burgeoning catastrophe that awaits future generations? Why are some states now collaborating with the Russian Federation to explore for fossil fuels? At the same time, this said group of states have requested billions from the International Community to make the region the first climate-resilient in the World. The two visions are diametrically opposed to each other and the stance reflect a confused and conflicted region governed by person who do not seem to listen to what they are saying; it seems there is no feedback between the mouth and the ears. 

Most Eastern Caribbean Countries are developing policies that are aimed at combating the impact of climate change. However, few has taken concrete steps to reflect and promote these public policies. The most cost-effective approach in this region would be adoption of solar and wind energy as alternative to fossil fuels. In some states, like Antigua, government appears to be embracing the idea of retrofitting existing government facilities with solar panel and adding this alternative to new structures like the new Terminal Building at VC Bird International Airport. Nevis is developing geothermal energy as an alternative and St. Kitts has a growing solar energy industry primarily driven by consumers. The islands of Dominica and St. Lucia are developing geothermal alternatives. Dominica also has hydroelectric power to supplement diesel-driven generators.

These are all necessary and commendable efforts to combat climate change. However, automobiles are a major source of green gas generation in the eastern Caribbean. In the majority of these states, the number of fossil-fuel driven automobiles continues to increase despite dwindling populations in some islands like Dominica. A major factor at work is availability of affordable used Japanese autos which typically would not meet Japanese strict emission and road worthiness standard. Indeed, in many communities in Japan, it is typically more economical to purchase a new vehicle after 5-6 years rather than maintain such units. Unfortunately, for the countries which import these vehicles, fossil fuel use increases as does the emission of 'green house gases' and particulate matter that promote pollution. 

In addition to solar and geothermal energy, these Eastern Caribbean island should be considering flex fuel vehicles (able to utilize ethanol and fossil fluels) and electric vehicles (when these become affordable). Ethanol, especially if derived from sugar cane, may have the advantage net reduction in fossil fuel as cane plants will absorb the carbon dioxide. If sugar cane is grown with re-purposed nutrient rich wast or composted fertilizer and, in the presence of legume companion crops, the nitrogen footprint can be significantly reduced. 

Drilling for fossil fuel is not consistent with climate resiliency. It is time for the Eastern Caribbean Countries to consider abandoning their quest for fossil fuel. It is destructive to environment, health and economy through its impact on their tourism product.
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