You’re visiting our island from… the UK? the US? Europe? Maybe somewhere further afield. Barbados might seem far away, but we’re actually much closer than you think – we all live on one planet, we’re all facing the same global challenges, and we all have a shared responsibility to take action. We hope you’ll join us while you’re here.
On the global scale we’re being told by scientists that we need to reach ‘net zero’ by 2050 – a state of carbon neutrality. That means that any carbon dioxide emissions that we can’t stop, need to be balanced by removing them from the atmosphere.
Small Steps Towards a Big Goal
Barbados’ Prime Minister, the Honourable Mia Amor Mottley, is a bit of a climate change rock star on the global stage. She’s made global headlines at COP26 and the UN. And here in Barbados she has challenged us to transition to 100% renewable energy by 2030. That’s a big target, but we’re making progress.
In 2021 Barbados produced 84.5 million KWH of energy from renewable sources. That represents 9.3% of our total energy production. We still have a long way to go, but we’ve actually come quite a long way. In 2013, we produced 5.3 million KWH from renewable sources, so only 0.6%. So, we’re making steady progress.
The focus for renewable energy production has been on solar photovoltaics, but there are also big plans for wind, offshore wave energy, biogas and green hydrogen. All across the island you’ll see big and small initiatives that add up to us moving closer and closer to our goal. Here are just a few examples of what’s going on:
Barbados now has the world’s biggest fleet of electric buses per capita, with 49 Barbados Transport Board buses on the road. Look out for the big quiet blue buses passing with a whisper! MegaPower 365, supplies these buses, as well as electric cars and commercial vehicles and other car dealerships have also come on board.
Refrigeration and Cooling
In September 2022 Barbados published its National Cooling Strategy for the Refrigeration and Cooling (RAC) Sector. With global warming and rising temperatures there is an increased demand for more efficient refrigeration and cooling equipment. The strategy is ambitious and wide-ranging. One of the main objectives is to reduce electricity waste from cooling-related activities. Did you know that if you set the AC in your hotel room to 23°C instead of 18°C it makes an exponential difference to the energy consumption?
And of course it’s not just about carbon. We need a holistic approach to tackle all aspects of regenerating our environment and working towards a more sustainable and equitable society.
Barbados is a water scarce nation, with most of our potable water coming from underground aquifers. The Villages at Coverley, a residential community with over 1,000 homes, has installed a state-of-the-art water reclamation project. Using the latest membrane bioreactor (MBR) technology it can treat up to 450,000 US gallons of wastewater per day. This reclaimed water is chlorinated to kill bacteria and used for irrigation, toilet flushing and other non-potable uses in their homes and offices, greatly reducing the need for potable water usage.
The Nature Conservancy and the Government of Barbados recently signed on a Blue Bonds project that will refinance approximately $150 million in national debt and unlock up to $50 million for marine conservation. As part of the project, Barbados will greatly expand its marine protected areas, to approximately 30% of the country’s ocean area. The project comes at a critical moment for Barbados, with a high debt burden combined with a tourism-led economy that was disrupted by COVID-19. The Blue Bond will alleviate debt and support the economy, while funding permanent protections for coral reefs, fish, sea turtles and other marine life – a win-win for people and nature.
We have a national challenge to plant One Tree for Every Bajan – protecting the environment, providing food and building climate resilience. That’s 285,000 trees to be planted. At the time of going to print, we’re at 110,394. Maybe you can add a few trees to that figure during your visit? Or contribute in another way – we thank you for getting involved – for Barbados, and for us all.