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Editorial: What Are We Doing To Fight Climate Change?

The words were ominous: “How will we continue to exist?”

They were spoken by Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis as he addressed the United Nations General Assembly last week, warning that the beauty and the very existence of The Bahamas is under grave threat from climate change.

The truth is that this is not news. It’s certainly not a new line from representatives of The Bahamas at international events.

In 2009, then Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham told the UN Convention on Climate Change that “Climate change is a serious threat to our economic viability, our social development and our territorial integrity”.

Six years later, the prime minister may have changed, but the message had not. Perry Christie was the PM when he told the UN in Paris that the world’s nations had to “send a clear message that we will fight for countries like The Bahamas to stay on the map into the next century”.

He spoke of climate change as an “existential threat”.

Well, here we are, in 2019, a full decade on from Mr Ingraham’s warning of a threat to our nation – and in the aftermath of a storm that may well have been made more powerful through the effects of climate change.

“It is a threat which we did not cause,” said Dr Minnis when he addressed the UN last week.

That sounds like there’s nothing we can do about climate change – but is that true? Certainly, our contribution to climate change is dwarfed by that of larger nations, but on a basis per head, is that still the case?

What are we actually doing to avoid being a contributor to climate change?

Last week, it was reported that the government would be purchasing a new 30MW for BPL after a summer plagued by power outages. Now that may be good news for ending the cuts that have made life such a misery this summer - but our dependence on fossil fuels, a contributor to climate change emissions, doesn’t appear to be ending any time soon.

In fact, in today’s business section, we report that renewable energy providers are frustrated that new guidelines requiring renewable energy projects to sell all their power to BPL then buy it back is likely to shrink such efforts even further.

Here we sit, in a country famed the world over for its sunshine, and seemingly completely unable to capitalise on solar power in a significant manner.

Reconstruction in Abaco and Grand Bahama has already had renewable energy ruled out as a replacement power provision too - while the residents of Ragged Island are still waiting for the promised green revolution of renewable energy for its rebuild after Hurricane Irma in 2017.

There is one promising sign - the move to ban single use plastics from the end of this year, with plastics a contributor to greenhouse gas emissions from its production through its refining and in the way it is handled as waste.

But is that it? In the face of a threat that successive prime ministers - no matter what their political leanings - have described as a danger to our existence, is that all we are doing?

Year after year, we have gone to international meetings calling for others to do what must be done in order to tackle climate change. Is it not our responsibility to take such actions here at home too?

There are things we can do. The plastics ban is a good start - but we seem to have taken a long time to start.

We can look wherever possible to reduce emissions - and encouraging consumers away from gas guzzling vehicles to more efficient vehicles.

We can launch a public information campaign on ways to save energy in the home - turning off appliances rather than leaving them on standby and adjusting air conditioning settings. This one saves you money too.

We can look to recycle more - rather than everything going into one waste container - and we can seek to reduce the amount of packaging that is used in businesses.

Reducing meat consumption can help - but so can eating local where possible, to reduce the amount of emissions used to transport food to your plate.

All of these are steps we can take even before looking towards such steps as solar power generation or widespread planting of trees - though why not look at those too?

“How will we continue to exist?” was a question about our future existence as a nation - but let’s ask it of our own future behaviour too. How will we? Will we continue to contribute more than we need to greenhouse gases? Or will we make a change here at home too?

Comments

Ton_Heijnmans 2 weeks, 2 days ago

There existed the opportunity to make a statement to the Nations that would have actually demonstrated the penny had dropped for you all.

Doktor Minus could have made the decision to announce the whole sale phasing out of carbon emitting machines on those islands for a Pilot Scheme.

The article writes: "we should re-cycle more (waste)" etc.

You could also simply cycle more, full stop

How many persons seriously wounded in RTAs while traipsing the public highway when text-messaging?

How many killed to the death? It may have been too much for the locals' police sheriff to come clean on the autopsy report of the Royal Marine killed to death in one of those metal machines the morning past, 6AM? ... Two males...? Young males. No brake tracks. High speed (that metal contraption was wrapped round that pole), and no seat belt!

Thus .... these are all known knowns. Folk be all traumatised. The Banshee be ringing round their heads, stealing the sleeps from under their nose. Folk be looking to escape that after a Mega Catastrophe.

All known knowns. Same time you all got the mountain of lard be growing in those little children not already killed in RTAs, bringing all kinds of widespread public health burdens ontop of all your heads.
Chicken wings, pigs livers, boiled heads, cows tongue, diced kidney giblets? Man? That stuff is from the days folk ate once a day and spent from dusk til dawn picking them Potatoes... working hard in the fields rain, hail and shine. Pure Irish, your culinary heritage plainly is. Making an art of cooking- up whatever you could possibly get hold of.

They're even fatter than the average Sheriff Quimby you have down your way nowadays. All eating that Victorian garbage and working in Google, Facebook, Linked-In, Intel, and ak the other hundreds of tech firms. Sitting on their **** behind a screen all day.

Bicycles solve all that. The health side. Guarantees more Olympic medals too. Just look st the stats versus population comparison. Ever see a fat Dutchman? They've got no mountains neither. Saves gazillions not having to import that black muck.

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Porcupine 2 weeks, 1 day ago

This editorial fails to mention the idea that it is education on these matters that raises awareness and consequently instills the recipe for change. This paper, along with most media and schools in this nation has given way too little emphasis and focus on this matter. From the perspective of most educated people on this subject, the best thing that Bahamians can do for their children is to buy property in another country that has more and higher land. If you consider the many impacts which WILL be occurring in the coming decades, you would realize that The Bahamas is screwed. No it wasn't entirely our doing. But, we haven't seemed to give a damn about anyone other than ourselves since independence. Why, all of a sudden, should the world give a shit about us now? We are still intellectually at the bottom of true understanding of what is coming our way. Harsh but true.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 2 weeks ago

Absolutely true and very well said.

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joeblow 2 weeks, 1 day ago

What we are doing is insignificant and of absolutely no net value if China is not doing what it should.

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ColumbusPillow 2 weeks, 1 day ago

This climate change hysteria is nonsense. Carbon dioxide is plant food. More carbon dioxide more food! Global temperature has been dropping over the last 20 years. Regarding re-newables, solar panels must be replaced at ungodly costs to the environment by toxic chemicals. Bahamas salty air is very corrosive making solar panels unacceptably expensive. Windmill electricity is unreliable. So what's the next choice??.

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Porcupine 2 weeks, 1 day ago

The next choice is to be honest. You're not. "global temperature has been dropping for the last 20 years." No, it hasn't. Where you getting your "facts"?

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proudloudandfnm 6 days, 11 hours ago

Obviously he gets his facts from rush Limbaugh....

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