Category: Research

This 2016 photo shows erosion along the beach in Annotto Bay, St Mary, due to high waves.

A warning has been issued to governments across the Caribbean, including Jamaica, to do more to make countries resilient to climate change as there is a price to pay if nothing is done.

According to a report commissioned by the Commonwealth Marine Economies Programme, the Caribbean is “in the front line” and at greater risk from more severe impacts than many other parts of the world because of its geographic location as most regional states are smaller islands where people live close to and depend on the sea.

The Caribbean Marine Climate Change Report Card 2017, which was conducted by scientists and researchers, said more intense storms, floods, droughts, rising sea levels, higher temperatures, and ocean acidification are major threats to all regional economies and pose a danger to lives as well, both directly and indirectly.

“As the seas, reefs and coasts on which all Caribbean people depend are under threat, much more needs to be done to protect these resources, and the authors recommend building more resilient environments to prepare for, and protect against, climate change,” the report noted.

It has recommended developing a regional network of marine protected areas designed to future-proof marine biodiversity against climate change and stabilise shorelines to preserve natural barriers such as mangroves, salt marshes, and coral reefs.


The scientists warn that while the overall frequency of Atlantic storms may decrease, the strongest hurricanes are likely to increase. Global average sea level is projected to rise by a further 10-32 inches over the coming century a devastating amount for a country as low-lying as Cayman, where it could be even worse.

“In the northern Caribbean, sea-level rise could be 25 per cent higher than the global average due to other physical factors affecting land elevation,” the report states. “This projected rise in sea level and severe storms is likely to increase the risk of storm-surge events for Caribbean states, which will further exacerbate risks to biodiversity, settlements and infrastructure.”

The report also zeroed in on some countries in the region including Jamaica, Belize, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Guyana and St Lucia.

Where fishing is concerned, the researchers noted that if there is no action – permanent fishing camps on low lying offshore cays may be completely submerged by future sea level rise, and these are particularly vulnerable during extreme-weather events.



Jamaica has begun preparations to participate in this year’s international climate talks set for Marrakesh in November, having earlier inked the historic Paris Agreement, which emerged from last year’s negotiations, held in France.

“I know the Government intends to be represented as usual, so discussions have started on the complement of the team to go and how we will fund that participation,” Colonel Oral Khan, chief technical director in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation told The Gleaner.

On Earth Day this year, Jamaica – represented by Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister Kamina Johnson-Smith – was among the more than 100 countries to sign the agreement that was the result of years long wrangling among world leaders and their technical teams.

In signing, they signalled their intent to ratify the deal, which sets out the road map for what many hope will be a climate-secure future, given its goal to hold “the increase in the global average temperature to well below 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, recognising that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change”.

The inclusion of 1.5 in the text constituted a victory for small-island developing states, including those of the Caribbean. The icing on the cake for the Caribbean lobby was the region’s 1.5 to Stay Alive campaign – the collaborative effort of Panos Caribbean; the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre; the Saint Lucia Ministry of Sustainable Development, Energy, Science and Technology; the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States; and the Regional Council of Martinique.

With funding from the Caribbean Development Bank, the campaign ran over five months – from October 2015, ahead of the Paris Talks, through February 2016.


Over the period, artists, artistes, media workers, civil-society organisations and government officials worked together to raise awareness of the importance of the negotiations and their implications for the region.

The key message conveyed was the need for a transparent and verifiable agreement that limits carbon emissions and ensures global temperatures do not rise more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

It also sought to highlight the fact that it is the poorest countries, communities and people who are the most vulnerable to climate change, and that the fight against climate change is also the fight against poverty and for social justice.

Among the products from the campaign were a Facebook page ( and Twitter account (@1point5OK) that attracted hundreds of followers; the 1.5 Selfie Video Challenge (; and a flash mob held in Jamaica and involving Panos’ Voices for Climate Change Education artistes.

There were also a number of creative outputs from artists, including Jonathan Guy-Gladding, out of Saint Lucia, who did a painting that bears the name of the campaign; and the production of a new album titled Earth Inspired that features the 1.5 to Stay Alive campaign theme song – available at – and individual songs by artistes Aaron Silk, Minori Russell, Pam Hall and Lovindeer.

Aaron Silk and another Caribbean artiste Adrian ‘The Doc’ Martinez also attended and performed at the Paris Talks as part of the campaign. In doing so, they attracted onlookers to not only the Caribbean pavilion, but also helped to focus the spot light on 1.5 degrees Celsius as a necessary ingredient in the new climate deal.

Whether this year’s talks – which constitute the 22 Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – will yield anything momentous remains to be seen.

“This COP is not one of the big ones that is going to create a lot of excitement. But we have the Paris Agreement now; we have to keep our vigilance,” he said.


“We are hoping that even one of the larger emitters will sign off [on the Paris Agreement] before Marrakesh. That would give a big boost going into those discussions and could possibly bring along sufficient parties to ensure that the agreement could come into force even before 2020,” Khan added.

Up to August 23, there were 180 signatories to the Paris Agreement.

“Of these, 23 states have also deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance or approval accounting in total for 1.08 per cent of the total global greenhouse gas emissions,” reveals the UNFCCC website.

With only 23 states having so far ratified, the journey to having the agreement enter into force could prove long.

The agreement itself stipulates that it shall enter into force on the 30th day after the date on which “at least 55 parties to the Convention (UNFCCC) accounting in total for at least an estimated 55 per cent of the total global greenhouse gas emissions have deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession”.



 ExxonMobil and others pursued research into technologies, yet blocked government efforts to fight climate change for more than 50 years, findings show

Exxon Mobil
The patent records were among a new trove of documents published by the Center for International Environmental Law, and deepen the public relations challenge for Exxon. Photograph: Jessica Rinaldi/Reuters

Patent records reveal oil companies actively pursued research into technologies to cut carbon dioxide emissions that cause climate change from the 1960s – including early versions of the batteries now deployed to power electric cars such as the Tesla.

Scientists for the companies patented technologies to strip carbon dioxide out of exhaust pipes, and improve engine efficiency, as well as fuel cells. They also conducted research into countering the rise in carbon dioxide emissions – including manipulating the weather.

Esso, one of the precursors of ExxonMobil, obtained at least three fuel cell patents in the 1960s and another for a low-polluting vehicle in 1970, according to the records. Other oil companies such as Phillips and Shell also patented technologies for more efficient uses of fuel.

However, the American Petroleum Institute, the main oil lobby, opposed government funding of research into electric cars and low emissions vehicles, telling Congress in 1967: “We take exception to the basic assumption that clean air can be achieved only by finding an alternative to the internal combustion engine.”

This 1970 patent, assigned to Esso (now ExxonMobil), is a design for a low-polluting engine system.
  This 1970 patent, assigned to Esso (now ExxonMobil), is a design for a low-polluting engine system. Photograph: Handout


And ExxonMobil funded a disinformation campaigned aimed at discrediting scientists and blocking government efforts to fight climate change for more than 50 years, beforepublicly disavowing climate denial in 2008.

The patent records were among a new trove of documents published on Thursday by the Center for International Environmental Law, and deepen the legal and public relations challenge for Exxon.

“What we saw was an array of patent technologies that demonstrated that these companies had the technologies they needed and could have commercialised to help address the problem of C02 pollution,” said Carroll Muffett, president of the Ciel. “They then turned to Congress and said you don’t need to invest in electrical vehicle research because the research is ongoing and it’s robust.”

The findings echo those in the documentary Who Killed the Electric Car?, which explored the deliberate destruction of GM’s first electric vehicles.

Alan Jeffers, an Exxon spokesman, insisted he could not comment directly on the documents as he was unable to access the Center for International Environmental law website on which they were published on Thursday morning.

In an emailed statement, Jeffers said: “The Guardian gave us only a few hours to comment on documents from four decades ago.”

Jeffers went on: “This further illustrates the Guardian’s well-established bias on climate change issues which has been demonstrated previously through its keep it in the ground campaign.”

He said the company believed the risks of climate change were real, was researching lower emission technologies, and engaged in “constructive dialogue” with policy makers about energy and climate change.

Researchers discovered more than 20 such patents filed by oil companies from as early as the 1940s for technologies that could help in the development of electric cars.

However, Ron Dunlop, president of Sun Oil and API chairman, told a joint hearing of the commerce committee in 1967 that government funding of research into electric cars would be misplaced – because the oil companies were so advanced in their research of cleaner cars. “We in the petroleum industry are convinced that by the time a practical electric car can be mass produced and marketed, it will not enjoy any meaningful advantage from an air pollution standpoint,” he told Congress. “Emissions from internal-combustion engines will have long since been controlled.”

Muffett said the findings were the result of three years of research and were not exhaustive.

“The question is what did they do to try to commercialise these technologies, knowing what they did about climate change,” he went on.

The revelations, the second set of documents released by Muffett’s organisation, reinforce charges by campaigners that Exxon was well aware that the burning of fossil fuels was a main driver of climate change – despite its public posture of doubt.

In addition to the technologies with potential for electric cars, Exxon and other oil companies were actively researching methods to cut emissions of carbon dioxide – the main greenhouse gas.

In another historic document that surfaced last month, a Canadian subsidiary of Exxon admitted the company had the technology to cut carbon emissions in half. However, the corporate memo dating from 1977 said it would be prohibitively expensive – doubling the cost of electricity generation, according to the documents obtained by Desmog blog.

New York and 17 other attorneys general, including DC and the US Virgin Islands, are investigating whether the oil company lied to investors and the public about the threat of climate change.

Campaigners plan to further turn up the heat on the company next week when Exxon holds its annual shareholder meeting in Dallas.

Campaigners have argued for more than a decade that Exxon bankrolled a network of front groups and conservative think tanks aimed at discrediting well-established science – confusing the public and delaying governments efforts to cut the greenhouse gas emissions responsible for warming.

Those efforts to put Exxon on the spot gathered pace after Inside Climate News and the Los Angeles Times reported that the company’s own scientists knew as early as the 1970s that greenhouse gases caused climate change.

The attorney general of the US Virgin Islands has subpoenaed Exxon to turn over email, documents and statements over the last decades.

Exxon has dismissed the investigations as politically motivated.

However, the company has reversed its opposition to fuel cell technology. Earlier this month, the company announced it had been conducting a joint research effort on fuel cell power plants with FuelCell.

The initiative, which got underway in 2011, aims to route the carbon dioxide from fossil fuel burning power plants into fuel cells, producing low emissions electricity. The company has estimated it can cut 90% of carbon dioxide emissions.

“At ExxonMobil, we share the view that the risks of climate change are serious and warrant thoughtful action,” Rex Tillerson, Exxon’s chief executive, told the US Energy Association after receiving its annual award.

The Guardian

Warmer and wetter conditions facilitate transmission of mosquito-borne diseases, which may have added to spread, says lead climate change scientist


Zika virus Central South America climate change

Tamires da Costa, 16, who is four months pregnant, stands in a street with standing flood water next to her home in the Parque Sao Bento shantytown of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on 29 January 2016. Photograph: Leo Correa/AP

The outbreak of Zika virus in Central and South America is of immediate concern to pregnant women in the region, but for some experts the situation is a glimpse of the sort of public health threats that will unfold due to climate change.

“Zika is the kind of thing we’ve been ranting about for 20 years,” said Daniel Brooks, a biologist at University of Nebraska-Lincoln. “We should’ve anticipated it. Whenever the planet has faced a major climate change event, man-made or not, species have moved around and their pathogens have come into contact with species with no resistance.”

It’s still not clear what role rising temperatures and altered rainfall patterns have had on the spread of Zika, which is mainly spread by mosquitos; the increased global movement of people is probably as great an influence as climate change for the spread of infectious diseases. But the World Health Organization, whichdeclared a public health emergency over the birth defects linked to Zika, is clear that changes in climate mean a redrawn landscape for vector and water-borne diseases.

According to WHO, a global temperature rise of 2-3C will increase the number of people at risk of malaria by around 3-5%, which equates to several hundred million. In areas where malaria is already endemic, the seasonal duration of malaria is likely to lengthen. Aedes aegypti, the mosquito that carries Zika and other diseases, is expected to thrive in warmer conditions.

As climate change reaches almost every corner of the Earth’s ecology, different diseases could be unleashed. Increased precipitation will create more pools of standing water for mosquitos, risking malaria and rift valley fever. Deforestation and agricultural intensification also heightens malaria risk while ocean warming, driven by the vast amounts of heat being sucked up by the oceans, can cause toxic algal blooms that can lead to infections in humans.

“We know that warmer and wetter conditions facilitate the transmission of mosquito-borne diseases so it’s plausible that climate conditions have added the spread of Zika,” said Dr Diarmid Campbell-Lendrum, a lead scientist on climate change at WHO.

“Infectious agents in water will proliferate with more flooding. It’s clear that we need to strengthen our surveillance and response to a range of diseases. Globalization, the movement of people, is an important factor too. In a world where we are disrupting the climate system we’ll have to pay the price for that.”

WHO estimates that an additional 250,000 people will die due to climate change impacts – ranging from heat stress to disease – by 2050, but Campbell-Lendrum said this is a “conservative estimate”.

“It is based on optimistic assumptions that the world will get richer and we’ll get better at treating these diseases,” he said. “We do need to get better at controlling diseases at their source and we do need to drive down greenhouse gases because there is a limit to our adaption. By moving to cleaner energy sources we will also help relieve one of the largest health burdens we have, which is the air pollution that kills seven million people a year.”

Until now, efforts to push back the threat of infectious diseases has been successful. Malaria, for example, used to be found in the New York area – and there is evidence to suggest it was once present in southern England; much earlier, the Romans used to retreat to the hills at certain times of the year to avoid mosquitos carrying the disease. Vaccines have been developed for a range of diseases including, belatedly, Ebola.

The eradication of threats like these makes wealthy western countries fret over outbreaks like Zika. As the world warms, there may be a lack of preparation for other diseases not currently considered threats.

“This is likely to become an equal opportunity crisis,” said Brooks. “The developing, poorer countries are impacted disproportionately but they deal with these diseases all the time, they are not surprised by them. But in Europe and North America, people have lived in a bubble where we think our wealth and technology can protect us from climate change. And that’s not true.

“The thing that worries me most is a death by a thousand cuts. I don’t think an Andromeda strain will wipe out all humans. But the amount of time, money and effort needed to combat these many different problems can overwhelm a healthcare system.”

So which climate-fueled diseases are likely to pop up next? Some experts believe that water-borne diseases could escalate, which would have significant consequences for countries such as Bangladesh – a low-lying nation with plenty of rivers that has a public health system already struggling to meet its population’s current needs.

“There’s not nearly enough attention paid to diseases that cause diarrhea, crypto spiridium, Hepatitis A,” said Aaron Bernstein, a pediatrician at Harvard Medical School.

“We’ve seen outbreaks of these diseases in the past due to extreme precipitation. The build environment we live in wasn’t designed for the climate we will soon be living in; when you consider half the world’s waterways have been engineered by man, they won’t be able to contain the extra water that will flood them.

“Flooding will certainly lead to mosquito-borne diseases but also cause water-borne diseases and also a lack of drinking water. People in Asia and Africa, particularly those living on the coast, will be very vulnerable, climate change could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back in terms of public health.”

The Guardian

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:

The Observer


Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft [Image source: On, via Flickr]


On the opening day of the COP21 global climate change meeting in Paris, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg have announced they have joined together with other private investors to help fight climate change by investing in renewable energy. The Breakthrough Energy Coalition will provide financial support to companies that take clean energy innovations out of the laboratory and commercialize them, the main idea being to accelerate progress on clean energy development.

“The world is going to be using 50 percent more energy by mid-century than it does today” said Mr Gates on his gatesnotes blog. “That should be good news, especially for the world’s poorest, because right now more than 1 billion people live without access to basic energy services. Affordable and reliable energy makes it easier for them to grow more food, run schools and hospitals and businesses, have refrigerators at home, and take advantage of all the things that make up modern life. Low- and middle-income countries need energy to develop their economies and help more people escape poverty. But the world’s growing demand for energy is also a big problem, because most of that energy comes from hydrocarbons, which emit greenhouse gases and drive climate change. So we need to move to sources of energy that are affordable and reliable, and don’t produce any carbon.”

Mr Gates added that although current renewable energy technologies, like wind and solar, have made a lot of progress and could be one path to a zero-carbon energy future, given the scale of the challenge, the world needs to be exploring many different paths, and that means it also needs to invent new approaches. These energy breakthroughs will be made by private companies, but their work will rely on the kind of basic research that only governments can fund.


Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder of Facebook [Image source: Jason McELweenie, Flickr]


Ways in which to promote clean energy innovation

Earlier in the year, Mr Gates set out on his blog three important ways in which to promote clean energy innovation – incentives, markets and treating poorer countries fairly.

The first of these involves governments drastically increasing their funding for research on clean energy solutions. At present, only a few billion dollars are spent per year on researching early-stage ideas for zero-carbon energy, when really, the world should be spending two to three times as much. Gates said that governments should be doing this for the public good and that the benefits of doing so are “far greater than the amount that the inventor can capture.” Expanded government support for energy research will also lead to more private investment. Gates has invested in companies developing new batteries and other energy storage solutions and also companies developing advances in solar power technology. However, governments need to act quickly on this because these energy transitions are time-intensive.



Windmill Sunset [Image source: Max and Dee Bernt, Flickr]


The second important step is to ensure that energy prices reflect the full impact of emitting carbon. At present, the market does not factor in ‘negative externalities’ – the costs to health and the damage to the environment caused by greenhouse gas emissions. If these costs are reflected in the price, renewable energy will become more competitive with fossil fuels and that in turn will attract more investors to the market. Governments should support this process by creating incentives to develop new solutions while also ensuring certainty in the market so that energy companies can plan ahead and enact the transition to zero-carbon energy.

The third step is to recognize that, at this late stage when climate change is already starting to have disastrous effects on the world, it will continue to hit the poorest people in the world hardest. This means that those countries that have done most to create this problem should spend the most to invest in mitigation and help poorer countries to adapt. The Gates Foundation is now doing this by helping small farmers in poorer countries to adjust to hotter and more unpredictable weather by increasing productivity.

The Breakthrough Coalition

The Breakthrough Coalition consists of some of the world’s top investors who have joined together in the understanding that technology will help to solve the world’s current energy issues, particularly the urgent issue of climate change. This requires an aggressive and urgent global program of zero-emission energy innovation based on a model of public-private partnership between governments, research institutions, and investors. It will involve large funding commitments with a key role being played by governments, with aggressive increases in funding for basic and applied energy research. Current levels of government funding are insufficient.


[Image source:]

The coalition is focused on the creation of a network of private capital intended to drive forward the transition to an advanced energy future. It is doing this by concentrating on providing investment for early stage companies, involving early investment through seed, angel and Series A investments, with commercial capital expected to take over in the later stages once the investments are de-risked. It will invest in a number of sectors, including electricity generation and storage, transportation, industry, agriculture and energy efficiency. The aim is to boost the development of novel technologies and innovations that make existing technologies more efficient, scalable or help to reduce costs. Given that most of these innovations will come through government research pipelines, the coalition has decided to focus its investments on countries participating in the Mission Innovation international initiative.

Mission Innovation

Mission Innovation was also launched on the opening day of COP21. It consists of a commitment by20 countries to invest in clean energy research and its aim is to “reinvigorate and accelerate global clean energy innovation with the objective to make clean energy widely affordable.” The initiative will seek to double government funding for clean energy innovation in each of its member states

The Breakthrough Coalition consists of:

Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft; Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder of Facebook, and Dr Priscilla Chan; Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries (India); John Arnold, co-chair of the Laura and John Arnold Foundation; Marc Benioff, Founder, Chairman and CEO of; Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO, Amazon; HRH Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Alwaleed Philanthropies, Saudi Arabia; Richard Branson, Founder of the Virgin Group; Ray Dalio, Founder, Bridgewater Associates; Aliko Dangote, Founder and Chief Executive, Dangote Group, Nigeria; John Doerr, General Partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, United States; Reid Hoffman, Founder, LinkedIn and Partner, Greylock, United States; Chris Hohn, Founder, The Children’s Investment Fund, UK; Vinod Khosla, Founder, Khosla Ventures, United States; Jack Ma, Executive Chairman, Alibaba Group, China; Patrice Motsepe, Founder and Executive Chairman, African Rainbow Minerals (ARM), South Africa; Xavier Niel, Founder, Iliad Group, France; Hasso Plattner, Co-founder and Chairman, SAP, Germany; Julian Robertson, Founder and Chairman, Tiger Management, United States; Neil Shen, Founding Managing Partner, Sequoia Capital China, China; Nat Simons and Laura Baxter-Simons, Co-founders, Prelude Ventures, United States; Masayoshi Son, Founder, Chairman and CEO, SoftBank Group Corp., Japan; George Soros, Chairman, Soros Fund Management LLC, United States; Tom Steyr, Businessman, Philanthropist, and President, NextGen Climate, United States, Ratan Tata, Chairman Emeritus, Tata Sons, India; Meg Whitman, CEO, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, United States; Zhang Xin and Pan Shiyi Co-founder and CEO, SOHO China, Chairman, SOHO China; and finally, the University of California (UCLA).

The Mission Innovation initiative consists of:

Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the United States.


Interesting Engineering

University of Technology Jamaica (UTech) File Photo


THE findings of a University of Technology, Jamaica (UTech)-led research project focusing on the sustainable production of hydrogen as a fuel for domestic cooking will form the basis of presentations and discussions at an International Hydrogen Conference and Exhibition being hosted by UTech at its Papine campus, November 3 – 4, 2015. The conference is first of its kind in the Caribbean region.

In 2012, UTech, along with research partners from Brunel University, United Kingdom; University of the West Indies; Bureau of Standards Jamaica; and the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy, and Mining began a research project on ‘The Application of Solar-Powered Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (PEM) Electrolysers for the Sustainable Production of Hydrogen Gas as Fuel for Domestic Cooking’. The project is co-funded by the European Union under the ACP Caribbean & Pacific Research Programme for Sustainable Development.

Dr Ruth Potopsingh, Associate Vice- President, Caribbean Sustainable Energy & Innovation Institute in the School of Graduate Studies, Research and Entrepreneurship at UTech, and coordinator of the conference, explains that the issue of hydrogen as a sustainable energy source is particularly relevant to Jamaica at this time.

“The use of hydrogen, whether for cooking at the household or commercial level, clean transportation fuel or utility scale applications, such as power to gas, are options which the Caribbean region needs to further examine,” she said.

Conference presentations by local and international research experts will highlight global trends in hydrogen as a key enabling pathway for renewable energy applications. Thematic areas to be examined include hydrogen from renewable resources, environmental issues and climate change, hydrogen as a transportation fuel, the future of hydrogen technology, hydrogen storage systems, education and public awareness for using hydrogen as a domestic fuel, and case studies on successful hydrogen projects.

Keynote speakers will be:

* Phillip Paulwell, minister of Science, Technology, Energy, and Mining (MSTEM)

* Paola Amadei, ambassador, head of delegation of the European Union in Jamaica

* Prof Maria Kolokotroni, Professor / theme leader for Resource Efficient Future Cities at Brunel University

* Dr Andrei Tchouvelev, Chairman of ISO’s primary technical committee on hydrogen technologies based in Canada.

Other presenters include the project research team led by Dr Earle Wilson, lecturer, School of Engineering, UTech; Dr Zahir Dehouche, Brunel University; Dr Kurt Edward, UWI; Omar Alcock, MSTEM; and Hunstan Hunter, Bureau of Standards, Jamaica. Presentations will also be delivered by representatives from industry and the European Union ACP Research Programme for Sustainable Development.

The international hydrogen conference will also include an exhibition featuring faculty and student research as well as innovations and service providers from the local energy sector. It will be free and open to the public, but participants are being asked to register owing to limited capacity. The public exhibition opens to the public from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm on each day. Further information is available at or via email


The Observer