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Saturday, November 6, 2010

Gore: Trinidad & Tobago can be Green Center of Caribbean

Al Gore, the 45th US Vice President says Trinidad and Tobago has an abundance of natural resources that would allow it to engage in alternative and renewable energy development as part of the country’s diversification and economic thrust, while assisting to reduce adverse environmental effects.

Gore, a Nobel Laureate and one of the world’s most influential voice on climate change, advised T&T that now is the time to maximize on these resources as the country’s major revenue earner gas and oil would not last.“You have unparalleled resources of sunlight and good wind resources and I know you also have cheap energy,” he said.

He added that since T&T was geographically located just a few kilometers from the world’s best supplier of pure silica, the country could take advantage of this proximity by purchasing the silica to create solar cells. Gore explained that T&T could gain the potential competitive advantage in the production of solar panels due to its manufacturing capabilities, low-cost energy environment and its strategic location.

He stated that the country had the potential of becoming the green center of the Caribbean and in the northern part of South America if it had the will to do so.“If you could create a centre for manufacturing, research and development for solar panels throughout the Caribbean and the northern part of South America creating new jobs...if you chose to do so, you can also become one of the country’s best known for wind power,” he said.

Gore was speaking on Thursday night on the topic of climate change titled “Thinking Green: Economic Strategy for the 21st Century” at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA).The event, hosted by the T&T Manufacturers Association, was aimed at providing practical guidance to the business community, Government and the population as to how they can make choices to save the earth, while stimulating sustainable economic growth by meaningful engagement in the pursuit of alternative energy.

This is his first visit to T&T and he complimented the country for being so dynamic. He also stated that he has never been in an auditorium as lovely as NAPA in the Caribbean and some countries in which he has spoken.

Gore said climate change presents a time of danger and opportunity and he said he believed that the world was entering an era of consequences but it was also a time to act. Blaming mankind for its own destruction, he said, “We continue to put 90 million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere and everyday it keeps growing.”

He said, according to scientists, this was contributing to the rise in sea level, increase in heat/drought and stronger hurricanes which have begun to result in the emergence of climate refugees. Gore called on Trinidad & Tobago to become a leader for change as it possessed the power and influence in the Caribbean to take that lead.

“We are facing a climate crisis that people would like to ignore. You are a leader of great influence and I want to recruit you...I need you,” he said. But being an advisor to leaders in the US Congress and global Heads of State, he was asked by a patron during the question and answer segment, why the US has not ratified the Kyoto Protocol, (which is an international agreement linked to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change).

He said he was greatly disappointed in his country but would continue to do what he can to influence minds and change hearts because about 60 per cent of the US citizens supported the law while some independently embraced the protocol.   read full story

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