Minister of the Environment Dr Denis Lowe is challenging United States (US) president Donald Trump on climate change, suggesting the American leader did not fully appreciate the consequences of his position.
Trump has said that climate change was a “hoax”; and has signed an executive order nullifying President Barack Obama’s climate change efforts while he has moved to revive the coal industry.
The American president made clear that the US had no intention of meeting the commitments that Obama had made to curb planet-warming carbon dioxide pollution, and he has directed the Environmental Protection Agency to start the complex and lengthy legal process of withdrawing and rewriting the Obama-era clean power plan, which would have closed hundreds of coal-fired power plants, frozen construction of new plants and replaced them with vast new wind and solar farms.
“To suggest that the coal industry is a major driver in the creation of jobs is to perhaps not understand that coming along with the coal industry is a whole plethora of perils, some of which are health-related, most of which is the threat to our environment,” the Barbados Government Information Service (BGIS) quoted Lowe as saying in an interview.
“The moment has come. The president of the United States of America has determined that climate change is really a hoax, and that any notion about climate change science is based on false belief, and that there is no clear justification that this phenomenon called climate change exists,” Lowe told the BGIS.
The minister said while the US president was “decrying” the legitimacy of climate change, 2016 had been labelled as the warmest ocean temperature year.
He also warned of a significant reduction in funding from the United States to United Nations agencies such as the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Green Climate Fund, as well as other activities driven by US funding.
However, Lowe stressed that Barbados could not allow itself to be “hemmed in” by what might or might not occur relating to international funding. He gave the assurance that Government would continue “to plough” ahead and look for unique ways to fund the island’s coastal rehabilitation green energy programmes.
“We stand ready to do what needs to be done. Our ministry continues to work with our stakeholders to look for ways to continue to press ahead with our climate change agenda. We ask Barbadians from all walks of life to assist us in adopting and practising habits that would reduce the impacts of climate change on us as it relates to our water supply, our conservation effort, and our preservation efforts in terms of our spaces around the island that would be of importance,” Lowe urged.