On April 15, energy ministers from across the Americas gathered in Washington, D.C., to discuss the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas, or ECPA. Initiated last year by U.S. President Barack Obama, ECPA brings together countries to collectively pursue voluntary initiatives covering renewable energy, energy efficiency, infrastructure development, and similar issues.
Last week’s meeting received supporting statements from several high-ranking officials. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton outlined seven U.S. priority areas, from legal and technical advice for Caribbean states, to scientific research on oil shale, to financial support of urban development projects. The president of the Inter-American Development Bank, Luis Alberto Moreno, announced plans for an additional US$3 billion a year in renewable energy and climate projects by 2012. And various countries have pledged to participate in projects ranging from rural electrification to research and technology transfers, with many more projects expected to be formally organized in the near term.
All of these announcements highlight the importance of the Americas in leading the way to a clean energy strategy that addresses climate change—with or without a binding international climate agreement in place.
Here at Worldwatch, we have been thinking about these underlying issues for the past year and recently launched a new effort to partner with Caribbean countries to develop low-carbon roadmaps. The projects will include renewable resource mapping, technical and economic assessments, and, perhaps most importantly, an analysis of existing and proposed policies and regulations. The roadmaps will help countries coordinate their ongoing activities and increase international confidence and investment in low-carbon development strategies in the region.
Up first in this effort? The Dominican Republic, which has shown excitement for the project at all levels, including from the nation’s Energy Commission. We plan to start our work there this summer. The second country will be Jamaica. Last week, we met with the Honorable Laurence Broderick, Minister of State in the Ministry of Mining and Energy of Jamaica, and he invited us to visit his country and begin working on the issues. We then hope to extend the project to Haiti, providing coverage of the major islands of the Greater Antilles. Read more about these projects as they unfold, here on the ReVolt blog.
Photo of the Dominican Republic by Flickr/ Beadmobile