Paris Agreement On Climate Change Coming Into Force

Nov 04, 2016

I was present in the Conference Centre in Le Bourget with the delegation from The Bahamas led by Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie nearly a year ago to witness the historic adoption of the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Today, this landmark Agreement which accelerates universal climate action comes into full legal effect. This means for the first time, nations are bound to curb their carbon emissions with their agreement to limit global warming to well below 2˚Celsius acknowledging that some nations will experience the adverse effects of global climate change at an increase of 1.5 ˚Celsius. Indeed, SIDS continue to advocate that we need “1.5 to stay alive”.

Climate change is real and for those of us who live in Small Island Developing States like The Bahamas we are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Scientists unanimously agree that without immediate intervention, the continuing temperature rise endangers human life, threatening a wipeout of populations as sea levels rises. A recent study conducted by researchers at the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) examined among other things, the correlation between intensity of Atlantic hurricanes and climate change. The study concluded that climate change is causing hurricanes to become more intense and to have higher rainfall amounts. This intensity was evidenced nearly a month ago when Hurricane Matthew hit The Bahamas leaving widespread devastation from winds and water surges that reached up to 15 feet in some areas. Undoubtedly, we have a great stake in the global conversation about climate change, its effects, remediation, loss and damage and the course of action to address it.

Towards this end, the Government of The Bahamas submitted its climate action plan to the UNFCC in 2015 which underscores our environmental stewardship. We have already taken concrete steps to move forward and build our national capacity to combating climate change. We have passed legislation, advanced policies and programmes to ensure that this country does its part to reduce its emissions, though we are low emitters of carbon, on the global scale. In addition, we have reduced and/or eliminated tariffs on solar systems including panel inverters and LED components and energy efficient appliances. We have joined a number of international organizations that are focused on increasing the use of renewable energy such as the International Renewable Energy Agency for which I serve as the Chair and the Carbon War Room.

This Government has also formulated The Bahamas National Energy Policy which serves as a road map to a secure energy future by the year 2033. The Residential Energy Self Generation Programme (RESG) and Renewable Energy plans are now being reviewed by Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority (URCA) for execution and implementation. We are hopeful that URCA will advance this programme with some urgency.

Further, recognising that we have to act now, the first-of-its-kind Youth Environmental Corps was established last month. The Corps not only trains young Bahamians in the conservation of our natural resources but the Corps promotes individual environmental responsibility. Our apprentices are made aware of what is causing climate change and what they can do now to alter the course of climate pollution and how important this is for their future and the future of our planet.

The Paris Agreement hence unifies the global community in its fight to stop global warming, marking a turning point in history.

It is now up to the nations of the world to follow through on commitments made in this Accord. My ministry played an integral role in The Bahamas ratifying the Agreement on August 22 of this year and the Government of The Bahamas is steadfast in its commitment to taking definitive action to save the planet. Currently, The Bahamas negotiators, led by Minister Mitchell are in Marrakesh, developing rules and modalities for successful implementation of the Paris Agreement.

My ministry is proud to be at the forefront of this historic step forward that will positively improve the lives of generations of Bahamians.

The Paris Agreement gives us a means to hold larger developing and developed countries, who are the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gas, accountable.

This begins a new era of action and results.

Thank you.

Newest Articles

Minister Ferreira calls on Bahamians to join Keeping Our Bahamas Beautiful initiative
NASSAU, Bahamas (August 29, 2017) – While appearing as a guest on Ed Fields Live, Kiss FM 96.1 radio show on Monday evening, the Hon. Romauld Ferreira, Minister of the Environment and Housing touted the Keeping OUR Bahamas Beautiful initiative and called for Bahamians to join together to get New Providence clean. “We are proposing that ahead of Heroes Day, we reflect on the national heroes of this country, our forebears who have sacrificed much for us, that we do them honour by ahead of that, cleaning the place up and we want to start now,” said Minister Ferreira. The Environment and Housing Minister called the state of uncleanliness on the island of New Providence a very serious and vexing problem. “New Providence is filthy, “ he said, “New Providence did not get to this state overnight and it will take the collective effort of all right thinking Bahamians to do something about it.” The first step in cleaning up the island he said was getting Bahamians onboard through an aggressive public awareness campaign. In the first instance he said he wanted to appeal to communities and neighbourhood associations who want to organise themselves. “If you are a community organisation, a church, a school, a neighbourhood association, or just an army of one, or an army of your family and you are sick and tired of the state of affairs of New Providence we’re talking to you,” he said, “And we’re saying ‘“look the Ministry of Environment, we want to help you to clean this place up, call us for assistance.’” He said a mindset existed among many Bahamians that someone else should come behind them and clean up after them.   He said he understood the expectations of persons looking to the government to keep the country clean but expressed that it is the responsibility of each individual to have clean surroundings. As the Minister of Environment he said his ministry was taking the lead in being the drivers behind the cleanup initiative with the hope of all Bahamians buying in to the campaign with little enforcement. “I think once in every generation there is an issue that falls on all of us to do collectively and certainly from an environmental point of view, this is one of them,” said Minister Ferreira. Minister Ferreira encouraged listeners to call the ministry for more information and for necessary equipment such as dumpsters to start the initiative in their respective areas. He said while the state of New Providence did not happen overnight and will not be cleaned up overnight, collaborative efforts will bring about the end goal of a clean island and nation. “There are some things that bind us and the environment is one of them and in order to clean it up we all need to hold hands, lock arms and take one step forward,” he said. ###
Continue Reading
Environment and Housing Minister discusses portfolio on radio show and outlines plans going forward
NASSAU, Bahamas (August 29, 2017) – In his first sit down interview since assuming office, Environment and Housing Minister Romauld Ferreira as a guest on Ed Fields Live, Kiss FM 96.1 radio show on Monday evening, described his ministry as very large with a dynamic portfolio and discussed the myriad of challenges and outlined plans for going forward. Minister Ferreira called both environmental rights and affordable housing a subset of basic human rights. Touching on housing he said, “Affordable decent housing gives people a chance to live with a certain amount of dignity in their lives and it gives them a chance at the Bahamian dream which is home ownership.” The biggest challenge for home ownership he pointed to on the island of New Providence was the availability of land to meet the needs of the thousands of applications for homes. The other challenge he said was affordable housing whereby the average Bahamian could afford the home. He said the ministry was faced with the need to introduce new technologies to bring down the price of housing by delivering houses at effective price points while simultaneously adhering to building codes. Said Minister Ferreira, “There are literally thousands of people wanting a home so this desire to have a home is a deep and fundamental desire in the hearts of most Bahamians and my job, our job as a government, is to give effect to those desires and those hopes and dreams.” In addressing the environment, one of the many challenges Minister Ferreira explained was the current state of affairs whereby interlocking issues seemingly on name alone appeared to be under the Ministry of the Environment and Housing, when in fact antiquated regulations prevented directives from his ministry. Minister Ferreira used the real problem of oil seeping into the waters at Clifton Pier Power Station as an example. He explained: “The power station is operated by BPL. The oil comes there, it leaks into the ground. Once it hits the water table that water is actually owned by the Water & Sewage Corporation. It migrates through the rock, hits the ocean. The cleanup at the ocean level is actually the Ministry of Transport. If it hits the seabed then you’re dealing with submerged lands, that’s the Office of the Prime Minister. And if there were any kind of excavation involved to get it, you need an excavation permit, that’s the Ministry of Works, that’s Conservation and Protection of the Physical Landscapes of the Bahamas Act. And if you were to build something to help remediate it or recover it then that’s the Building Controls Officer.” Minister Ferreira emphasized that “nowhere in that scenario is a permit issued from the Ministry of the Environment.” He said, “And so we’re in a situation where we need to bring forth into the 21st century the regulations as it speaks to the day to day operating procedures to guide these things from the Ministry of Environment.” Speaking on the New Providence Landfill, Minister Ferreira said the ministry was in the process of issuing Requests for Proposals once again to bring remediation to the problem as only two groups responded to the initial requests made by the previous administration. He said one of the proposals was a waste energy proposal and the other presented a tipping fee scenario where fees would be charged for use of the landfill. He said the ministry will develop terms of reference for the new RFPs and give people sufficient time to understand the processes, to understand the dynamics of a RFP including a financial component and adequate time to submit a comprehensive proposal that would be similar and not incongruent as the two previously submitted. “And as we said before the residents around the landfill have endured a great deal so there’s some human rights issues there that you need to be sensitive to and on top of all of that the landfill is a national asset whether we accept it as such or not,” said Minister Ferreira. Added Minister Ferreira, “I feel very honoured and privileged to have this opportunity to serve as Minister of Environment and Housing. I am an ecologist and attorney. I have devoted my whole life to these issues.” ###
Continue Reading
Minister Ferreira forms New Providence Cleanup Planning Team
NASSAU, Bahamas (August 1, 2017) – After several meetings, Environment and Housing Minister, Romauld Ferreira, finalised on Monday a planning team with public and private partners to organise an island wide New Providence cleanup campaign. The Keeping OUR Bahamas Beautiful initiative will be launched on National Heroes Day, Monday, October 9 and will encompass a phased cleanup approach with the island being divided into five zones. The scope of the cleanup will involve removal of derelict vehicles, lot clearances, removal of white waste which are household appliances, and will also incorporate rodent control. “We are determined to educate our people, enforce our laws, and constantly monitor our communities to bring about sustained change in the way our surroundings are maintained,” said Minister Ferreira. The cleanup of New Providence will be supervised by Inspectorate and Solid Waste Management Staff of the Department of Environmental Health Services. “We understand that the aesthetics of litter free communities, clean green spaces and the like  will not occur overnight but we are unwavering in our efforts to make a forceful impact and invite all residents to partner with us in Keeping OUR Bahamas Beautiful” he said. The Ministry of the Environment and Housing in the coming weeks will announce the plans for the launch of the Keeping OUR Bahamas Beautiful campaign. ###
Continue Reading
© 2021 The Official Website of the Government of The Bahamas.
All rights reserved.