December 2015

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Small island states lost out to their larger, more industrialised seniors at COP21.

 

The results of the climate change conference in Paris (COP21) give no reason for small island states to cheer. The agreement reflects many promises and little action.

The one item of concrete action is merely an undertaking to evaluate carbon emissions every five years — and even that has no teeth.

What is not in the agreement is a firm, legally binding commitment to limit average global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Also, not in the agreement is a legally binding commitment to provide developing countries with the funds needed to adapt to, and mitigate against the effects of climate change.

There isn’t even a commitment to a fund, in the sum of US$100 billion a year, that was frequently touted before the conference began.

Once again, the industrialised nations of the world — the worst polluters — took advantage of the weakness of the smallest countries of the world, which are the least polluters and the biggest victims of climate change.

To their credit, though, through the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), representatives of small states did put up a good showing in Paris. Armed with the latest statistics and bolstered by a structured expert report released by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, they argued for the containment of global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, showing that, at 2 degrees, destruction would be widespread and irreversible. But, in the end, despite all the hoopla, applause and celebration, small states lost.

Representatives of AOSIS countries might have been flattered by a brief visit to them by US President Barack Obama, when he declared: “These nations are not the most populous nations, they don’t have big armies, they have a right to dignity and sense of place.” But, while President Obama was undoubtedly sincere in what he said, he also knew, even as he was saying it, that he could not deliver ratification by the US Congress of any agreement that limited carbon emissions or bound the US legally to warming no higher than 1.5 degrees Celsius.

So, the world has a so-called agreement, still to be ratified by the 196 participating countries, that only expresses an objective to limit global warming to “well below two degrees above pre-industrial levels”. The goal of 1.5 degrees Celsius, as described by Amber Rudd, the British minister for energy and climate change, is merely “aspirational”. In making her statement that the target of 1.5 degrees is aspirational, the minister was sending a clear signal to the British industrial world that driving down carbon emissions from fossil fuels is not an immediate objective and therefore will not affect their business.

In truth, the climate change action plans submitted by 188 countries would lead to a temperature rise as high as 2.7 degrees Celsius. And, if that is not bad enough, the signatories to the Paris agreement are under no legal obligation even to meet that objective; they are legally free to enlarge carbon emissions further. So, no cause for small island states to celebrate over that one, and profound reason for them to worry.

At three degrees, the size of islands will shrink, productive areas will be under water, people will have to move habitats inland and many will be forced to migrate, legally and illegally. We have to hope that all the scientists who predict this scenario are wrong.

On the money side, the developed countries declined to insert into the Paris agreement their often-made oral commitments to transfer funds to poorer countries in order to help them adapt. Yet, all the studies show that even the US$100 billion a year that was promised would not be enough to help developing countries build up a power system quickly or cheaply enough on renewable energy sources rather than coal or oil. Incidentally, even if the US$100 billion a year fund was achieved, access to it by small states in the Caribbean would be long and arduous, particularly if the criterion of “per capita” income continues to be applied as it is now by international financial institutions. The portion available to the Caribbean region would be a small fraction of the total sum.

Some may argue that there are two aspects of the Paris agreement that are beneficial to small states, therefore, attention should be paid to them. The participating countries recognised “the importance of averting, minimising and addressing loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change, including weather events and slow onset events”. But, liability is completely ignored because it was opposed by the polluting industrialised countries. Recognition of a problem is far removed from committing to action to cure it.

Then there is the single binding legal requirement in the agreement. Every country is now required to come back every five years with new targets for reducing their carbon emissions. But there is no sanction if they fail to meet their previous commitment, and no sanction if they simply carry on business as usual.

COP21 in Paris may have been a triumph for some nations, but no self-respecting small island State should claim any satisfaction.

That is why each small State, individually and within the many organisations in which they are members — including AOSIS, the Commonwealth, La Francophonie, the Organization of American States and others — must now redouble their efforts to work on the developed country governments, but also to move beyond them to the conscience of the people of the industrialised world.

This is about survival and development — two defining challenges of this century for small states. It is the work of everyone; governments, businesses and civil society, all are involved and all could be consumed.

Jamaica Observer

The clean-energy boom is about to be transformed. In a surprise move, U.S. lawmakers agreed to extend tax credits for solar and wind for another five years. This will give an unprecedented boost to the industry and change the course of deployment in the U.S.

The extension will add an extra 20 gigawatts of solar power—more than every panel ever installed in the U.S. prior to 2015, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). The U.S. was already one of the world’s biggest clean-energy investors. This deal is like adding another America of solar power into the mix.

The wind credit will contribute another 19 gigawatts over five years. Combined, the extensions will spur more than $73 billion of investment and supply enough electricity to power 8 million U.S. homes, according to BNEF.

 “This is massive,” said Ethan Zindler, head of U.S. policy analysis at BNEF. In the short term, the deal will speed up the shift from fossil fuels more than the global climate deal struck this month in Paris and more than Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan that regulates coal plants, Zindler said.
Data Source: Bloomberg New Energy Finance

This is exactly the sort of bridge the industry needed. The costs of installing wind and solar power have dropped precipitously—by more than 90 percent since the original tax credits took effect—but in most places coal and natural gas are still cheaper than unsubsidized renewables. By the time the new tax credit expires, solar and wind will be the cheapest forms of new electricity in many states across the U.S.

The tax credits, valued at about $25 billion over five years, will drive $38 billion of investment in solar and $35 billion in wind through 2021, according to BNEF. The scale of the new projects will help push costs down further and will stimulate new investment that lasts beyond the extension of the credits.

Data Source: Bloomberg New Energy Finance

Few people in the industry expected a five-year extension. Stocks soared. SolarCity, the biggest rooftop installer, surged 34 percent yesterday. SunEdison, the largest renewable-energy developer, climbed 25 percent, and panelmaker SunPower increased 14 percent.

Congress is expected to vote by the end of this week on the tax credits as part of a broader budget deal that also lifts the 40-year-old ban on U.S. oil exports. Oil producers have lobbied for years to lift the ban, but it isn’t likely to significantly affect either consumption of oil or deployment of renewables. Leaders from both parties reached an agreement on the bill late Tuesday.

The 30 percent solar tax credit was set to expire next year and will now extend through 2019 before tapering to 10 percent in 2022. The wind credit had expired at the end of 2014, and the extension will be retroactively applied from the start of 2015 through 2019, declining in value each year.

Wind power has had an especially tumultuous relationship with U.S. lawmakers, who have kept the industry’s credits alive through a disruptive ping-pong game of short-term extensions every year or two. “You open manufacturing plants and then you close them. And then you open them and you close them,” BNEF’s Zindler said. “It’s economically inefficient. This will give them a good five-year line of sight on what the market will look like, and that’s really important.”

Bloomberg

Sir Ronald Saunders

 

Small island states lost out to their larger, more industralised seniors at COP21.

 

The results of the climate change conference in Paris (COP21) give no reason for small island states to cheer. The agreement reflects many promises and little action.

The one item of concrete action is merely an undertaking to evaluate carbon emissions every five years — and even that has no teeth.

What is not in the agreement is a firm, legally binding commitment to limit average global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Also, not in the agreement is a legally binding commitment to provide developing countries with the funds needed to adapt to, and mitigate against the effects of climate change.

There isn’t even a commitment to a fund, in the sum of US$100 billion a year, that was frequently touted before the conference began.

Once again, the industrialised nations of the world — the worst polluters — took advantage of the weakness of the smallest countries of the world, which are the least polluters and the biggest victims of climate change.

To their credit, though, through the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), representatives of small states did put up a good showing in Paris. Armed with the latest statistics and bolstered by a structured expert report released by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, they argued for the containment of global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, showing that, at 2 degrees, destruction would be widespread and irreversible. But, in the end, despite all the hoopla, applause and celebration, small states lost.

Representatives of AOSIS countries might have been flattered by a brief visit to them by US President Barack Obama, when he declared: “These nations are not the most populous nations, they don’t have big armies, they have a right to dignity and sense of place.” But, while President Obama was undoubtedly sincere in what he said, he also knew, even as he was saying it, that he could not deliver ratification by the US Congress of any agreement that limited carbon emissions or bound the US legally to warming no higher than 1.5 degrees Celsius.

So, the world has a so-called agreement, still to be ratified by the 196 participating countries, that only expresses an objective to limit global warming to “well below two degrees above pre-industrial levels”. The goal of 1.5 degrees Celsius, as described by Amber Rudd, the British minister for energy and climate change, is merely “aspirational”. In making her statement that the target of 1.5 degrees is aspirational, the minister was sending a clear signal to the British industrial world that driving down carbon emissions from fossil fuels is not an immediate objective and therefore will not affect their business.

In truth, the climate change action plans submitted by 188 countries would lead to a temperature rise as high as 2.7 degrees Celsius. And, if that is not bad enough, the signatories to the Paris agreement are under no legal obligation even to meet that objective; they are legally free to enlarge carbon emissions further. So, no cause for small island states to celebrate over that one, and profound reason for them to worry.

At three degrees, the size of islands will shrink, productive areas will be under water, people will have to move habitats inland and many will be forced to migrate, legally and illegally. We have to hope that all the scientists who predict this scenario are wrong.

On the money side, the developed countries declined to insert into the Paris agreement their often-made oral commitments to transfer funds to poorer countries in order to help them adapt. Yet, all the studies show that even the US$100 billion a year that was promised would not be enough to help developing countries build up a power system quickly or cheaply enough on renewable energy sources rather than coal or oil. Incidentally, even if the US$100 billion a year fund was achieved, access to it by small states in the Caribbean would be long and arduous, particularly if the criterion of “per capita” income continues to be applied as it is now by international financial institutions. The portion available to the Caribbean region would be a small fraction of the total sum.

Some may argue that there are two aspects of the Paris agreement that are beneficial to small states, therefore, attention should be paid to them. The participating countries recognised “the importance of averting, minimising and addressing loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change, including weather events and slow onset events”. But, liability is completely ignored because it was opposed by the polluting industrialised countries. Recognition of a problem is far removed from committing to action to cure it.

Then there is the single binding legal requirement in the agreement. Every country is now required to come back every five years with new targets for reducing their carbon emissions. But there is no sanction if they fail to meet their previous commitment, and no sanction if they simply carry on business as usual.

COP21 in Paris may have been a triumph for some nations, but no self-respecting small island State should claim any satisfaction.

That is why each small State, individually and within the many organisations in which they are members — including AOSIS, the Commonwealth, La Francophonie, the Organization of American States and others — must now redouble their efforts to work on the developed country governments, but also to move beyond them to the conscience of the people of the industrialised world.

This is about survival and development — two defining challenges of this century for small states. It is the work of everyone; governments, businesses and civil society, all are involved and all could be consumed.

Sir Ronald Sanders is Antigua and Barbuda’s ambassador to the US; an international affairs consultant; as well as senior fellow at Massey College, University of Toronto, and the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, London. The views expressed are his own. For responses and to view previous commentaries:

www.sirronaldsanders.com.

The Observer

The biggest federal policy development of the year for renewables plays out on Congress’ last day of work in 2015.

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Lawmakers in the House and Senate passed a spending package today that includes multi-year extensions of solar and wind tax credits, plus one-year extensions for a range of other renewable energy technologies.

The pair of bills, which included tax extenders and $1.1 trillion in funding to keep the government running for the next year, passed hours before lawmakers adjourned for the holidays.

“May the force be with you,” said Senator Dianne Feinstein, urging her fellow Senators to vote in favor of the package shortly after the House approved the bills.

The force was certainly with renewables.

Under the legislation, the 30 percent Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for solar will be extended for another three years. It will then ramp down incrementally through 2021, and remain at 10 percent permanently beginning in 2022.

The 2.3-cent Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind will also be extended through next year. Projects that begin construction in 2017 will see a 20 percent reduction in the incentive. The PTC will then drop 20 percent each year through 2020.

Also included were geothermal, landfill gas, marine energy and incremental hydro, which will each get a one-year PTC extension. Those technologies will also qualify for a 30 percent ITC, if developers choose. In addition, the bill expanded grants for energy and water efficiency.

Business groups and analysts say the extensions will support tens of billions of dollars in new investment and hundreds of thousands of new jobs throughout the U.S.

“There’s no way to overstate this — the extension of the solar ITC is the most important policy development for U.S. solar in almost a decade,” said MJ Shiao, GTM’s director of solar research.

According to GTM Research, the ITC extension will help spur nearly 100 cumulative gigawatts of solar installations by 2020, resulting in $130 billion in total investment. More than $40 billion of investment will be “directly attributable to the passage of the extension,” said Shiao.

The American Wind Energy Association expects similar growth. The group did not issue precise figures, but said the PTC extension would support tens of gigawatts of new wind projects through 2020.

The legislation also lifts a 40-year ban on exports of crude oil produced in the U.S. In exchange for lifting the ban, Democrats pushed for multi-year extensions of renewable energy tax credits and demanded that Republicans strip out any riders that would weaken environmental laws.

Both sides got what they wanted.

However, Pelosi publicly worried yesterday that she didn’t have enough votes to support the bill. Many Democrats expressed concern about the oil export ban tradeoff, saying it would increase subsidies to fossil fuels and boost carbon emissions.

Congressional leaders and the White House lobbied hard to convince the Democratic base that the bill would be a win for the environment.

“While lifting the oil ex­port ban re­mains atrocious policy, the wind and solar tax credits in the Om­ni­bus will eliminate around 10 times more car­bon pollution than the ex­ports of oil will add,” wrote Pelosi in a letter to lawmakers.

Katherine Hamilton, a partner with 38 North Solutions, called the bill “sausage-making at its most intense.”

“The product should be palatable for most parties in clean energy. Extensions for renewables and efficiency tax credits were key sweeteners. In addition, clean energy R&D funding, land and water conservation funds, and clean energy funds were included in the deal,” she said.

Other independent analysts found that the deal would be a net positive for the climate. Although emissions would increase slightly because of increased drilling activity, they would be easily offset by increasing renewable energy development and decreased coal consumption.

“Our bottom line: Extension of the tax credits will do far more to reduce carbon dioxide emissions over the next five years than lifting the export ban will do to increase them. While this post offers no judgment of the budget deal as a whole, the deal, if passed, looks like a win for climate,” wrote Council on Foreign Relations fellows Michael Levi and Varun Sivaram.

The tax credit extensions cap a big month for renewable energy policy.

In early December, world leaders agreed to a framework for lowering global greenhouse gas emissions — a deal that will leverage hundreds of billions of dollars in private investment for clean technologies.

And earlier this week, California regulators issued a new proposal on net metering that would preserve the retail rate paid to rooftop solar systems. The new rules — combined with the continued federal tax credit — will ensure strong activity in the top solar state.

National groups will now likely reset their sights on local battles around the U.S., said Hamilton.

“The renewable energy industries can turn their focus to state and local policies, siting and permitting issues, and compliance strategies for the Clean Power Plan,” she said. 

President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law today.

Greentech Media

A Jamaica Public Service technician at work seeking to regularize electricity supply in Denham Town, Kingston.

Utility provider Jamaica Public Service (JPS) will offer prepaid service in all parishes next year, but expects power consumption to dip slightly in the process.

The prepaid service will become available to all residential customers who opt for it, but will not initially be offered to commercial customers.

“By the end of 2016, we will offer prepaid meters to all parishes,” JPS President Kelly Tomblin told the Financial Gleaner in a telephone interview this week. “That’s our goal – to focus on residential customers.”

She explained that the service will eventually launch an app that will allow persons to top-up their accounts on their telephones or other devices.

Expectations of reduced revenues

Tomlin said the prepaid meter service is expected to reduce total revenues to JPS because of an expected reduction in consumption. However, the savings should give customers more disposable income to spend or save.

“It will help to grow the economy because if you use less (energy), then you have more money to spend, which helps the economy,” Tomblin said.

JPS introduced a prepaid electricity service as an option as part of the fulfilment of its pledge to find alternative energy solutions for all Jamaicans.

“It is intended for those Jamaicans who have asked us for a payment option that can better assist them in predicting and budgeting for their electricity bills. Although new to Jamaica, prepaid electricity is a standard service product offered by many electric utilities the world over for decades,” JPS said in response to Financial Gleaner queries.

To introduce the service, JPS opted to do a limited pilot of the programme across Kingston, St Andrew and St Catherine, which the company intends to use to tweak the product before a wider roll-out across the island in 2016.

JPS added that the service is currently available to all residential and Rate 20 (general services/small commercial) customers and potential customers across Kingston, St Catherine and St Andrew.

“Prepaid electricity service was never designed, and is not intended, as a tool to fight electricity theft,” the JPS said.” It has, however, proved to be a very effective tool for budget-conscious customers who want more control to tailor their consumption to match how much they have to spend at any given time,” the company added.

JPS made US$23.7 million in net profit over nine months ending September 2015 on revenues of US$583 million, which nearly doubled the US$12.5 million in profit earned a year earlier. The light and power provider said that it requires a new tariff to be approved by the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) as prepaid is a new and different service from the normal post-paid payment solution.

“Designing and developing a new tariff for a new utility service can be a complex matter and JPS and the OUR have been in discussions for many months on the subject,” said the JPS communications department. “This involved JPS making submissions to the OUR, showing different forecasts of what we believe the demand for the new service will be over time and the impact this will have on revenues, depending on the rate and structure of the tariff design,” it added.

The Gleaner

 

Errol Paisley (third left) of Stony Hill, St Andrew, accepts from Joshua Polacheck, counsellor for Public Affairs at the United States (US) Embassy, the $150,000 reward for the community’s winning effort of collecting 1,250 pounds of PET bottles in less than a month during Operation Clean Sweep. Also sharing in the occasion are project director Stephen Newland (second left) and Dr Kwame Emmanuel, global change co-ordiantor, during Wednesday’s prize-giving ceremony at the US, Embassy, Liguanea, St Andrew.

Addressing the issue of global climate change in a meaningful way can begin with small actions which, together, will have a big impact on containing carbon emissions, according to Joshua Polacheck, counsellor for public affairs at the United States (US) Embassy in Jamaica.

“People don’t think about it, but when you take a plastic bottle and just chuck it into the landfill or into the countryside and it ends up incinerated, you are adding to all the other carbons and other greenhouse effects, but if you recycle it, you are actually helping, in your own small part, to keep the global climate within manageable levels,” he pointed out on Wednesday.

“People may think, ‘oh, this is just a small local thing’, a question of beautification and resource use (but), it’s actually part of that small step that each of us needs to take to change our behaviour to help combat global climate change,” the State Department official told the Operation Clean Sweep prize-giving ceremony at the US Embassy, Liguanea, St Andrew.

Polacheck told participants in the recently concluded pilot project, under which community members from Rae Town, Kingston, Stony Hill, St Andrew, and Gregory Park, St Catherine were trained in solid waste best practices, that they needed to make climate change a personal concern.

“We think that for all countries, especially regional leaders like Jamaica and other small island developing states like the rest of CARICOM, like the countries in the South Pacific, it should be a very personal issue. It’s also a very personal issue for the United States,” he disclosed.

While it may not be something that comes readily to mind, the extensive coastline of the United States’ mainland, as well as the location of offshore territories such as Hawaii, makes the country and its citizens very vulnerable to the fallout from climate change, Polacheck disclosed.

He explained that the state of Arizona, which has extensive desert terrain, has had one of the worst droughts in a century, due mainly to the recent increase in global average temperatures.

Reducing The Fallout

With the recent international agreement on reducing carbon emission struck at the Conference of Parties (COP) 21, in Paris, presenting an opportunity for the world at large, the United States of America, which has taken a leadership role, will be looking to ramp up its collaboration with Jamaica on containing and reducing the fallout from climate change, especially at the grass-roots level.

“So the efforts that we’re making globally are going be part of the efforts we are doing on a bilateral level locally, here with Jamaica,” said Polacheck.

Meanwhile, Stephen Newland, project director for the pilot phase of Operation Clean Sweep, commended members from three select communities for their success in putting to good use the training in solid-waste management.

Residents of Stony Hill, St Andrew, took the top prize of $150,000 for the winning effort of collecting 1,250 pounds of PET bottles in less than a month.

With an average of 33 eight-ounce bottles weighing a pound, and 3,300 bottles estimated at 100lb, the number of bottles collected in and around the community since November 13 was mind-boggling.

For their efforts, residents of Rae Town, Kingston, who logged just about 200 pounds of bottles less than the winners, received $50,000, with Gregory Park, St Catherine, being the other community.

Dr Kwame Emmanuel, USAID/COMET 11’s global change coordinator, pointed to the other significant benefits of plastic-bottle collection and recycling beyond the monetary gains.

“For COMET (Community Empowerment and Transfor-mation), Operation Clean Sweep facilitated another opportunity to bolster social cohesion through the implementation of an environmental activity. The project also provided the communities with a social entrepreneurship idea, which will help to tackle the solid waste management crisis. Moving forward, it is hoped that the management team not only takes the consideration of lessons learnt during this short pilot, but also integrates the other two Rs – reduce and reuse – into the project.”

The Gleaner

The Jamaica Public Service Company Ltd (JPS) has made good on its pledge to activate alternative plans to ensure the execution of the proposed 190-megawatt power plant at Old Harbour in St Catherine.

Yesterday, the light and power company said it was now in the final stages of negotiations with an alternate bidder to provide engineering, procurement and construction services, for the plant to be built in Old Harbour, St Catherine.

The original preferred bidder, Abengoa, was selected through a competitive tender process, with the assistance of two international consulting firms, AMEC Foster Wheeler and Power Engineers Collaborative LLC.

In November, the Spanish firm filed for protection from creditors – a possible first step towards filing for bankruptcy.

With the announcement of Abengoa’s financial challenges, JPS has been closely watching the progress of the Spanish company’s financial-restructuring plan.

However, Abengoa has not been able to provide the financial assurances required as a normal part of the process of confirming a bidder.

Kelly Tomblin, JPS president and chief executive officer, said: “We are very close to concluding key terms with one of our alternate bidders. Throughout this time, we have been working closely with the Electricity Sector Enterprise Team (ESET), so they are embedded in the process.”

Commenting on the importance of the project to Jamaica, Tomblin said: “We want to make it very clear that this project is not, and has never been, in danger. JPS shareholders (EWP and Marubeni) are the ones who have committed to bringing equity to the project, and there is keen interest and indicative commitment from a variety of financing sources. I want to make it very clear that the bidder on this project is not the financier. They are an engineering, procurement and construction firm, who will be subject to significant oversight and potential penalties for non-performance. We need to clear up any confusion on their role.”

The Gleaner

Petrojam, the government of Jamaica and Venezuela-owned refinery in Kingston, indicated on Monday that shipments of crude oil crude from Venezuela have increased somewhat, growing from an average 313,886 barrels imported per shipment between January 1 and December 1, 2014, to 344, 000 barrels per shipment this year.

For the 2014 period, 19 shipments were accepted compared to 18 shipments in 2015.

At the same time, however, the company shows that imports from non-Venezuelan sources have also increased over the period.

Petrojam said Monday that imports from source countries outside of Venezuela and including Mexico for 2015 covered five shipments averaging 323, 000 barrels each.

This compared to three shipments averaging 310,000 barrels in 2014 and in 2013 three shipments averaging 348,000 barrels.

The data on Venezuelan crude imports nevertheless runs counter to assessments made by Barclays Bank which says export of crude to PetroCaribe signatories in the region and Cuba had been cut significantly, analysis which has been widely recycled following last week’s congressional victory by the opposition party in Venezuela.

The repetition has accompanied the position that Venezuela might change the arrangement under which 18 Caribbean countries pay into its purses about half of the cash value of oil imports, then remit the rest over 25 years as a loan repayment at one per cent interest charge.

The report said that shipments to the Dominican Republic and Jamaica, which account for about half of the programme, have dropped 56 per cent and 74 per cent compared to 2012.

But Petrojam indicated by way of data that for Jamaica, at least for the last three years, supply from Venezuela has remained consistent in the main.

Andrew Baker, writing for BNamericas online on December 8, and citing new BNamericas Intelligence Series report said oil subsidies to Caribbean neighbours through the PetroCaribe initiative have cost the country US$50bn over the last decade.

He repeated the claim that “Nicolás Maduro, has quietly halved Petrocaribe shipments to about 200,000b/d from 400,000b/d in an effort to slow the bleeding, while continuing to publicly laud the programme.”

Petrojam, while indicating that it is now lifting more crude from other sources outside of Venezuela, showed that supplies have been consistent since January 2013.

Jamaica Observer

Khan … I would say to the private sector, look at investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency.

The new global climate deal, reached after two weeks of intense negotiations, is a signal to the private sector, local and international, of the need to reassess current investment flows.

Jamaican negotiator Dr Orville Grey said the private sector will be critical, given the stated goal of the new deal of “holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 28C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.58C above pre-industrial levels, recognising that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change”.

“The private sector will at some point have to take the lead because the technologies that are likely to take us to carbon neutrality will likely come from the private sector and not the public sector, at least as it relates to technology,” Grey, coordinator for adaptation for the Alliance of Small Island States during the negotiations, told The Gleaner.

If the world is to meet the ‘well-below-two’ target, it will require a significant shift in the current high levels of consumption of fossil fuels, including coal and oil, towards renewables such as solar and wind.

Colonel Oral Khan, chief technical director in the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment, and Climate Change and himself a member of the Jamaica delegation to the talks, was in full agreement.

“The private sector is encouraged under this agreement to support the mobilisation of finance to support adaptation and mitigation,” he said.

On Jamaica’s private sector, Khan said: “The State has submitted its intended nationally determined contribution commitment to [reducing greenhouse gas emissions] to the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) Secretariat. Our commitment is consistent with the goal of our National Energy Policy. I would say to the private sector, look at investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency. In time, I hope that we will see more entities entering into public-private partnerships.”

A Historic Turning Point

Neither Grey nor Khan is alone in their thinking; international leaders in business have echoed their sentiments.

“The business case for eliminating greenhouse gases by 2050 is irrefutable. Indeed, solving climate change presents the greatest economic and social development opportunity of our time,” said Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, in a release to the media on Saturday.

“The new climate agreement is a historic turning point. Now business can and must innovate to lead the transition to a clean economy. Together, it is our duty as human beings, responsible citizens and business leaders to protect the environment. A transition to a clean and green economy will lift millions out of poverty, and ensure the planet’s health for generations to come,” he added.

Arianna Huffington, president and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post, mirrored his comments.

“This is truly a turning point in human history. We now have the chance to advance the well-being of people everywhere, while creating millions of new jobs and ending our reliance on fossil fuels,” she said in the same release.

“This will help us build a safer, more peaceful world for all. This is exactly what business needs in order to thrive in the long run,” added Huffington.

The Gleaner

Screen Shot 2015-12-15 at 14.24.13

The Privy Council in London comforts foreign investors.

THE Court of Appeal yesterday gave lobby group Citizens United for the Reduction of Electricity (CURE) final leave to take its fight regarding the Jamaica Public Service’s (JPS) exclusive licence to the UK-based Privy Council.

The appellate court, in March of this year, gave CURE provisional leave to appeal to the Privy Council, Jamaica’s final court of appeal.

Cure is challenging the Court of Appeal decision, in January, to overturn a ruling by the Supreme Court that the JPS’s exclusive licence to provide electricity across the island was invalid.

In October 2012, Justice Bryan Sykes ruled that the exclusive aspect of the 20-year all-island licence, issued by the then energy minister to JPS in 2001, was invalid.