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By Desmond Brown
"I think the important thing is that in most of these processes there will be winners and losers," John Christensen, director of the Center on Energy, Climate and Sustainable Development at the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), told IPS.
“We must be aware that there are people who are going to lose and that we will have to take care of them so that they do not feel excluded. We must find other ways to involve them ... because otherwise there will be a lot of resistance from groups that have special interests, ”warned Christensen in the framework of the 20th Conference of the Parties (COP 20) on climate change, which began on Monday 1 .
Until the 12th of this month, representatives of 195 countries and hundreds of members of civil society are negotiating the draft of a new global treaty aimed at reversing global warming, which must be signed a year later in Paris.
COP 20 will provide a preview of what can be expected from the Paris Protocol in relation to the long-term phase-out of coal-fired power plants, the rate of use of renewable energy, and financial and technological support to vulnerable countries and countries. less development.
For example, Nieves, a 13-kilometer-long island in the Caribbean, recently announced that it was "on the verge of going totally green." The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Marcos Brantley, referred to the replacement of fossil fuel generation by renewable energy sources, in order to develop tourism.
"In addition to reducing the national carbon footprint, concern about waste management is a particularly difficult issue for all nations," he said. Nieves contracted the US company Omni Alfa to extract energy from its waste and build a solar energy park, he added.
These advances, "together with the development of our geothermal energy sources, promise to make Nieves the greenest place on earth," he told IPS.
Christensen said the Caribbean region could take lessons from Denmark, his country of birth.
Danish shipyards could not compete with those of South Korea and China and “the government for a long time kept pumping money into them to try to keep them afloat rather than trying to transition to something else. Now they produce windmills and other things with a better future ”, he explained.
Many Caribbean countries use fuel oil or diesel for power production, as well as gasoline for cars, all of which is imported, Christensen noted.
But few of the island countries have the financial resources to pay for fuel imports each year, which is "quite expensive," he said.
These countries should take advantage of their geographic location, which offers "lots of sun, potential for biomass and wind," he suggested.
Cuba "made an important transition to solar energy in the energy sector," said Christensen, and other Caribbean countries are betting on conserving forests and taking advantage of more environmental resources that they previously considered worthless.
“Now we have to talk about what will happen if the countries don't move forward. Like all islands, its flood risks will increase. So, in the green transition, countries have to find a way to be more resistant ”, he stressed.
"There are ways to improve efficiency, because the climate is getting warmer and where you are, you need to look for new opportunities in the green economy that will also protect you from climate change in the future," added Christensen.
The Climate Technology Center and Network (CRTC), the operational arm of the Technology Mechanism of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), fosters the accelerated, diversified and gradual transfer of ecologically viable technologies for mitigation and adaptation to climate change in the developing South, in line with its sustainable development priorities.
The CNMUCC stars in its 20th annual conference of the parties in Lima, which since 2005 has the Kyoto Protocol as its instrument in force, which must be replaced by the Paris Protocol from 2020.
"The CRTC is an engine, a vehicle to help countries achieve green economies," Jason Spensley, its climate technology manager, told IPS.
"In the next few days we will see a request from Antigua and Barbuda regarding the development of renewable energy, and specifically wind energy ... the price of energy there is very high," he explained.
The Dominican Republic is also negotiating with the CRTC the presentation of a request for renewable energy production.
In recent times, the Caribbean Development Bank, the largest credit institution in the region, redoubled its efforts to attract investment in renewable energy projects and adaptation to climate change in the area.
Its president, Warren Smith, said that much of the eastern Caribbean, which includes the smallest countries, has great geothermal potential that could drastically reduce the import of fossil fuels and even convert them into energy exporters, given the proximity of nearby islands without these resources.
Smith is confident that countries are embracing the idea of transforming the region into a thriving green economy that reduces debt, improves competitiveness and begins to deal with climate risk.
Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, at COP 20 urged the 12,400 attendees to aspire to great heights and proposed several fundamental lines of action.
"First, we must bring to the table the draft of a new universal agreement on climate change and clarify how national contributions will be communicated next year," he said.
"Second, we must consolidate progress in adaptation to achieve political parity with mitigation, given the urgency of both equally," he continued.
“Third, the provision of finance must be improved, particularly for the most vulnerable. Finally, we must stimulate increasing action by all stakeholders to broaden the scope and accelerate solutions that move us all forward, faster, ”concluded Figueres.
Edited by Kitty Stapp / Translated by Álvaro Queiruga
Inter Press Service - IPS Venezuela