Former United States president Bill Clinton Tuesday said Caribbean countries could lead the global initiative for developing cleaner energy, reducing the threat of climate change and improving the economies of developing countries.
Clinton, who arrived in Dominica for talks with prime minister Roosevelt Skerrit and members of his administration, said Norway has been instrumental in assisting his foundation in developing the new energy initiative.
“They believed when we first asked them that Dominica in particular and the Caribbean in general could lead the world to a whole new way of producing clean power, reducing the threat of climate change and improving the economies of developing countries.”
Clinton said he also bought into the idea that the Caribbean could become the first sustainable region in the world and is supportive of Dominica’s efforts to become the first totally climate resilient country.
Skerrit, who spoke alongside Clinton, said that discussions had already started with the foundation “to develop a rapid integrated resource plan for the island’s energy sector.
“I look forward to working with president Clinton and the Clinton Climate Initiative as we transform Dominica’s energy sector into a model of resilience that the entire region and world can follow,” Skerrit added.
Clinton is visiting Dominica and other countries that were battered last September when hurricanes Irma and Maria, two category 5 storms passed through the Lesser Antilles.
Clinton was among leaders who attended and addressed an international donor conference held in New York last November to mobilize resources for the affected countries.
He said the Clinton Foundation will be launching an Action Network on Post-Disaster Recovery, following a meeting Thursday with officials from the islands, as well as leaders from business and civil society.
The action network will formally convene for a meeting on April 3 at the University of Miami, where stakeholders will continue to work towards commitments to action to address the ongoing immediate response needs, as well as the long-term recovery in the region.
The network builds on the successful Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) model, where leaders from across sectors convene to mobilize resources and implement solutions to addressing pressing global challenges.
Clinton said he appreciated the “heroic efforts” of Dominicans in seeking to rebuild their country following the hurricane, adding that he was also pleased they were seeking to take “advantage of the moment to position the country to handle the net disaster better and to respond in a way that will improve both your chances of surviving the climate change . . . and prospering from it.
“Our job here is to help you develop the last touches of your integrated resource plan . . . and to help you work with your utility, DOMLEC, the Independent Regulatory Commission and our partners at the Rocky Mountain Institute,” Clinton said.
The former US president said young people now have a chance to prove “beginning in Dominica that the Caribbean can be more prosperous by building resilient homes and structures, more prosperous with more plentiful wind power sold at lower costs which will actually make the utility more money because you will have more users.
“In other words you can change the whole pre-conception,” he said, adding, “I have watched country after country in the Caribbean held back with the highest electricity rates in the world because they insisted on continuing years after they should have the old model of importing heavy oil or diesel when they were ample solar, wind and in your case geothermal.”