H.E. Raymond Wolfe,
Ambassador/Permanent Representative of Jamaica in
Thematic Plenary III: “Innovating a climate-friendly world –
the role of technology and its dissemination”
during the High-level Event on Climate Change
24 September 2007
Ladies and Gentlemen
The debate on the causes of climate change and its potential impacts is over. The IPCC in its Fourth Assessment Report has stated unequivocally that climate change is happening and that human activities are the cause. It is now time for concrete action.
This action has to take two forms:
i. Deep and rapid reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by major emitters within the next 10 – 15 years, in keeping with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capacities; and
ii. the provision of assistance and support to vulnerable countries to cope with the impacts of climate change.
The discussions in which we are engaged are therefore timely and relevant, given the intimate link between the attainment of the MDGs and addressing the developmental challenges associated with climate change. For this reason, Jamaica wishes to join in expressing appreciation to the Secretary-General for having convened this High-level event.
As a small island developing state (SIDS), Jamaica is vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change, particularly sea level rise and beach erosion. We have over the past decade suffered tremendously from severe weather events, with 5 major hurricanes impacting the island since 2004 and as recent as last month with the passage of Hurricane Dean. These circumstances serve to highlight the vulnerability of Jamaica to climate variability and change, and reinforce the urgent need for the conduct of a comprehensive vulnerability assessment, and the implementation of adaptation strategies. Consequently, while mitigation measures are clearly important to Jamaica, it is adaptation and related technology that is critical to countries like ours. Presently, Jamaica is one of ten countries in which a community-based adaptation project is soon to be implemented under the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme to reduce vulnerability and enhance the capacity of selected communities to adapt to climate change and variability.
We are making efforts to increase the contribution of renewable energy –wind and solar- that currently contributes approximately 6 percent of our total electricity requirements to 10 percent by 2010 and 15 percent by 2020. The Wigton Wind Farm with a capacity of 20.7 Megawatts of power and a registered CDM project is one of the examples that Jamaica is serious about renewable energy sources. We have also been responding to the need to achieve energy security in a variety of ways, including through the supply and pricing mechanisms utilizing a US$10 million energy fund to promote increased energy efficiency and to develop alternative energy sources. But for us, as I stated previously, the ability to effectively combat the challenges associated with climate change lies in adaptation and related technology.
For this reason, my delegation wishes to underscore the importance of ensuring that small island states like ours in the Caribbean are given priority in any support programmes that are developed by the international community. An integral component of this support is the need to ensure that emerging mechanisms are sensitive and able to respond to the needs and capacities of our countries. We find that many of the current mechanisms effectively discriminate against SIDS given our limited technical capacities.
There should also be greater efforts towards ensuring the development and transfer of new climate-friendly technology to developing countries, rather than a focus on transferring obsolete technologies that prove ineffective and costly to maintain. In particular, there is the need for the development, improvement and dissemination of both mitigation and adaptation technologies.
SIDS can make a contribution to the global effort in this regard utilizing proven and available low carbon technologies. Accordingly, SIDS should be encouraged and supported by the international community through means of research grants, for example, to develop research and development capabilities so that they can become integrally involved in the process and not just be the recipients of these new technologies. Specific support for the development of institutional capacity at regional Climate Change Centres and the University Consortia is required as a matter of urgency.
Additionally, increased international cooperation in technology between developed countries and SIDS has a vital role to play in promoting and supporting public and private investment in low carbon technology and other technologies for adaptation. Greater international cooperation is also necessary to drive innovation and the development of such technologies. New mechanisms and financing instruments may be necessary for meeting these challenges.
In concluding, my delegation wishes to reiterate that climate change requires new thinking, new action. For Jamaica this remains an imperative. We continue to count on the support of the international community in this regard and reiterate our expectation that our discussions in Bali in December will advance this objective.