Clive Hawigen - SPREP
Apia, Samoa - Transforming the energy sector from one that is petroleum dominated and highly inefficient in the use of energy into one that is based on renewable source and used efficiently can become a generator of financial resources to support adaptation. This in turn can be the foundation for sustainable development especially in Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
This was argued by Dr Al Binger, science advisor for the Alliance of Small Islands States based in New York, USA in his presentation yesterday at the lessons for future conference at the Tanoa Tusitala Hotel in Samoa, yesterday. Dr Binger is also the Energy Advisor for Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC) in Belmopan, Belize.
|Dr Al Binger|
He said the quality of life in a society is directly proportional to the availability of energy resources and the efficiency in which energy is converted to goods and services.
Dr Binger pointed out that the current energy sector in SIDS has little synergies with other sectors such as agriculture, water, waste management in SIDS.
He also said in excess of 200 million barrels of liquid petroleum are imported by SIDS to provide energy services but this energy is inefficiently used with an estimate of 60% of the total imports wasted.
Dr Binger also stated that SIDS fail to exploit the vast renewable resources found in these island countries.
He gave examples pointing out sugarcane as a potential energy source and the Ocean Thermal Energy Consumption (OTEC), technological system able to provide vast quantities of energy services for SIDS. OTEC that produces energy from the thermal differences between ocean surfaces and deep cold adding that small island states have the best sites to use OTEC
He said: “There is significant uncertainty about the degree of resilience of the current economy to the impacts of Climate Change and therefore the ability of the present economy to continue generating the financial resources to pay for the imports of energy resources to provide energy services for the population and the national economy.”
Dr Binger emphasised that effective adaptation is critical to the provision of sustainable livelihoods and protecting the national economy however he added that effective adaptation would be very difficult without transformation of the energy sector to make significant financial resources available.
He said SIDS livelihood and economy are dependent on environment resources more than any other groups of countries.
“SIDS economies and livelihoods are dependent on very limited number of economic activities and are considered to be the most economically vulnerable of any groups of countries. This vulnerability is being further aggravated by the impacts, changes in weather, changes in marine ecosystem and sea level rise,” said Dr Binger
He concluded by saying: “The best option under these circumstances is to develop vast renewable energy resources that would reduce the cost of energy imports thereby generating financial resources to invest in adaptation.”Dr Binger said that such an energy sector can generate significant financial resources to support economic development.