U.S. Energy Sec’y: Island States Will ‘Disappear’ if Climate Change Not Dealt With
President Obama and his Energy Secretary warned of the drastic consequences climate change can cause, especially to small island nations.
Attending the fifth Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago, along with U.S. President Barack Obama, Energy Secretary Steven Chu told reporters on Saturday that if climate change is not dealt with properly “some island states will simply disappear.”
Chu called the potential for disastrous hurricanes and rising oceans caused by an increase in temperatures “very, very, scary.” Climate change is “a demonstrable fact,” he said.
He cited “very, very convincing evidence” that climate change “was caused predominantly by greenhouse gas emissions.”
Polar ice is melting “considerably faster than anyone predicted” just a decade ago, he said.
Obama, during his address to the summit in the island’s capital, Port-of-Spain, on Friday, was also extremely vocal about climate change, and the need to develop sources of renewable energy.
In order to combat the effects of climate change, such as those Mr. Chu alluded to regarding islands beginning to ‘disappear’, the President proposed the creation of a new Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas “that can forge progress to a more secure and sustainable future.”
Trinidad and Tobago is one of the wealthiest Caribbean countries and lies just 11 miles off the coast of Venezuela. The island is quite small – slightly less than the state of Delaware.
“It’s a partnership that will harness the vision and determination of countries like Mexico and Brazil that have already done outstanding work in this area to promote renewable energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Obama.
“Each country will bring its own unique resources and needs, so we will ensure that each country can maximize its strengths as we promote efficiency and improve our infrastructure, share technologies, support investments in renewable sources of energy. And in doing so, we can create the jobs of the future, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and make this hemisphere a model for cooperation,” he said.
Obama said that the threat of climate change is a real one and needs to be dealt with collectively. “The dangers of climate change are part of a broad range of threats to our citizens,” he said.
“We must come together to find new ways to produce and use energy so that we can create jobs and protect our planet,” he said.