Cayman’s combat with climate change: A bunch of hot air

In the wake of December’s much-celebrated world summit in Paris, which concluded with 195 countries committing to mitigate the effects of climate change, environmental officials in the Cayman Islands are pushing for reviews of our territory’s corresponding regulations.

Department of Environment Director Gina Ebanks-Petrie said, “To date, actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change have not been a focus of national policy.

“This will need to change if we are to make any meaningful progress on the issues surrounding climate change.”

We hate to throw cold water on Cayman’s “anti-global warming” aspirations, but here’s a bucketful from the still-frosty Antarctic ocean: Any second that Cayman spends on attempting to combat climate change will constitute a waste of time, energy and money.

Consider the arithmetic: Let’s say about 60,000 people live in Cayman. Out of the roughly 7 billion people on Planet Earth, our country accounts for approximately 0.0009 percent of the global population, which, in statistical terms, is equivalent to zero. And that is precisely the net impact that Cayman could ever have on the global environment, no matter how we choose to live, commute or consume.

To believe for even a moment that moderating Cayman’s output of carbon dioxide could have any tangible result — other than harming our economy — can only be attributed to poor number sense, a lack of common sense, or sheer egotism.

Remember that Cayman is a society whose existence, as we know it today, is founded upon the burning of fossil fuels, whether it’s used to electrify our homes and businesses, or to power the planes and ships that bring people and goods to our shores.

“Policies relating to energy security and climate change are intimately linked as they both seek to reduce our current reliance on carbon-based energy production, and for the Cayman Islands, one is as essential as the other,” Environment Minister Wayne Panton said.

We disagree. While energy production is indeed linked to theories of climate change, in Cayman the idea of “energy security” is so much more significant than climate change that on a practical level there is no relationship.

We mentioned above that Cayman is utterly dependent on fossil fuels for the generation of electricity. That is probably not the most ideal situation for our country. This Editorial Board is always in favor of promoting increased competition in all areas of the private sector, and that includes energy production.

That cannot be achieved effectively or efficiently through the government’s setting of arbitrary targets for renewable energy. Rather than trying to reduce or eliminate Cayman’s carbon footprint, our officials should aim to reduce or eliminate taxes on all forms of energy — whether it’s diesel, natural gas, coal, geothermal, solar, wind or wave-generated. Then, let the people (after examining their pocketbooks and their consciences) decide what they want to consume.

When it comes to the free market and consumer choice, our officials should formulate policy based on the consideration of Cayman’s economy, and never on fanciful notions about the global environment.

(Editor’s note: We often find ourselves disagreeing in print with the actions of Environment Director Gina Ebanks-Petrie. Allow us to take a moment to give her some well-deserved credit. Just before Christmas, the government announced a new agreement with U.S.-based company Maxey Cosmetics to harvest the tips of sea whip coral in order to extract an ingredient that promotes the growth of eyelashes. Ms. Ebanks-Petrie was quoted as saying that Cabinet granted Maxey an exemption to the ban on coral harvesting because the cosmetics company agreed to her department’s recommended conditions. As part of the deal, Cayman’s government will receive a royalty of $25,000 per kilogram of harvested coral, plus an additional royalty for the extracted oil, which will be deposited into Cayman’s Environmental Protection Fund. In this instance, Ms. Ebanks-Petrie and her department put the interests of Cayman’s people before qualms over coral, and we congratulate them accordingly.

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  1. This island should be mostly solar for electric. We are in the sun. How can anyone say that importing oil is good for the country?? My strata pays over $100,000 a year for electric and that does not include the homeowners. Can you imagine how much more money would go into the economy and how many more jobs would be created if that money was not wasted on electric bills

  2. Ironic that Cayman will be one of the first countries under water in less than 100 years as sea levels rise.

    I guess if the theory of "I’m too small to make a difference" is justifiable, then individually we should all quit making an effort to reduce, reuse, recycle.

  3. Mr Editor, your comments are so ridiculous that I can only assume that you are trying to initiate a debate.
    The issue is global, the response should come from all, and particularly from those low lying populations that will bear the brunt of inaction. Yes,statistically the effect is small because the population is small, but we all know that the effect is cumulative and we cannot opt out.
    You seem to suggest that our excuse for inaction is because energy security is more important than pollution. If it were a case of either security or pollution, then maybe you would have a point, but it is not. We have enviable amounts of sun, and almost constant wind, sufficient to provide almost all our needs, and alongside much reduced use of oil we have security for the periods when natural sources are absent. Few populations have these advantages, so, unless you are denying the requirement for any action at all, (you speak of "theories" in relation to climate change), you should reconsider this absurd editorial.

  4. It may not be socially fashionable, but the editorial board is entirely correct. As a world community, we cannot technologically effect global temperatures enough to make a difference. If we ever actually need to reduce sea levels, we could actually accomplish that by making it snow over Antarctica. Otherwise, we just need to accept that us humans can’t control everything and just need to react to the environment instead of trying to control it.

  5. Mr Massari that is nonsense. Down the years there have been loud voices , particularly in the US, denying that we can affect the issue of climate change. In the Paris talks just held, and for the first time, there were almost none of those deniers left, even the US now reluctantly agree that we must reduce fossil fuel use. Whilst there are other influences, say major volcanic eruption that by far exceed our own activity, that is no excuse for adding our own avoidable mess. It took billions of years to create the fossils fuels, it should be no surprise that burning it off in say a hundred and fifty years will not have the effect it does.

  6. The editorial board is 100% correct. Further anyone that wishes to put their liberally infected political emotions on the side for a moment and actually looks for the data. the global has been COOLING since 1994. This is a FACT that even the global warming ecofreaks have admitted to and termed "The PAUSE". This is a fact, and it is undisputed. Please research it. Also research Climate Gate while you’re at it.

    But the sad reality is that most people that read the news are either gravely misinformed, easily manipulated emotional mental zombies of the politically correct machine pushed by most media outlets and the US administration at the moment, or are just plain stupid and as such easily brainwashed by the guy echoing this utter idiotic liberal nonsense of man altering the earth’s climate for the worse.

    If you questions this last statement, ask yourself these questions.

    1- "What is, and what has been the *correct* temperature of the earth?"

    2- What is the correct amount of climate change during these year?

    The reason this is important is because when they realized that global warming, actually wasn’t warming the earth nor creating enough droughts and damage around the earth, it was re-branded back in 2005ish as "Climate Change". This re-marketing effort would provide a better vehicle to sell their cult of fear-mongering to low information victims, to claim man was destroying the earth no matter what the temperature was.

    The climate ALWAYS changes, this is why its called the CLIMATE! We have had numerous ice ages, melt downs, ice ages again, and anyone who has visited Cayman Brac, the science of this should hit you square in the face as you observe the caverns on land created by the once waves crashing there……

    But unfortunately no. Most people out there are caught up trying to feel good about themselves and be good samaritans to recycle grocery plastics bags in hope to save future generations air, crops and livelihood and obey the political correctness cult of which climate change is a huge part of.

    Why is climate change such an important cult worthy to be pushed on to low information victims easily influenced by emotional diatribe as as those who believe and peddle this idiotic pseudoscience you ask?

    MONEY! Trillion and Trillions worth of taxes on form of energy. Billions worth of climate research grants. More than 300 Billion spent of climate change research by the United States alone. Billions worth in climate reparations to poor countries claiming to you (you gas guzzling polluter) has killed their ability to grow crops and therefore are liable. This is happening now and will continue to get worse.

    Climate change is a tool designed to sucker the easily fooled low information person via an emotional fraud out of your tax dollars, and you’re falling for it! Jokes on you except it isn’t a very funny joke.

    Every time to buy a plane ticket, put gas in your car, buy a loaf of bread, go to the movies you pay some institution a ransom on your lifestyle.

    What a bunch of utter ignorant morons we have become.

    Want to actually influence the environment? Stop throwing your trash out of the window I see all over the place!! Stop poaching! Stop contaminating the waters with your garbage! Stop being pigs!

  7. Ok, I’ll take the bait. What a horrible editorial! What a horrible position! We are too small to make a difference so do nothing (or even worse continue to perpetuate the problem).

    Let’s follow that same logic a little further. One person will not sway an election so there is no point in any individual voting (or even worse, convince others to not vote). We do not have enough money to solve world hunger so one should never give to any charitable group feeding hungry children or families (or worse, let’s perpetuate world hunger any way we can).

    I have never in my life read an editorial so illogical.

    Responsible humans (in vast numbers and considerably more intelligent than the editor) are working together to curb the rising tide of global warming which will in way or another determine the fate of this island. How counter-intuitive is it of this small island to oppose (and further work against) the efforts of those who indeed are making a difference.

    Consider retracting this or writing a follow up editorial to explore an alternative position.

  8. its stunning how ignorant and so easily emotionally manipulated we’ve become. We seriously need to revise how we teach geology and climatology (if we even each that anymore). Just a bunch of clueless PC mental zombies.

  9. I think that the Cayman Compass Editorial is correct :A bunch of hot air. Many Scientists have said that global warming is a scam, look at how many people have become rich and richer because of it. I agree that the only thing that Cayman need to do is cut from the old diesel electric company.

  10. This editorial is just a sad indictment of the editor’s common sense nothing more.

    Im not going to spend much time in debate if climate change is happening or not with my response. That at least is a "somewhat" legitimate debate. If a few people want to deny the vast and overwhelming mountain of scientific research and consensus that humans (via burning fossil fuels, agriculture, etc.) are negatively affecting the climate by all means do so, you have a right to your opinion and a right to be wrong. Reality doesn’t care about opinions.

    The arguments about "money" being behind the efforts towards climate change mitigation and a move towards reducing our carbon emissions (via clean energy, etc.) is completely laughable to me.

    The big money side of this debate is VASTLY in favor of the climate change deniers and the fossil fuel cartels who fund it. Their trillions in profits, tax payer subsidies and lobbying efforts dwarf anything the climate scientists, advocates or clean energy companies can bring to the table. So lets be clear folks, the big "Money" is in maintaining the status quo and denying climate change, NOT the other way around.

    So lets get to the heart of the problem with this editorial. Its the logic and hypocrisy. First a few simple facts…Cayman is one of the highest carbon emitting countries in the world per capita. No country in the world can single handedly deal with climate change. Outside the large economies of North America, Asia and Europe the rest of the world are percentages of carbon emissions.

    Climate change is a problem (like so many "big problems") that inherently will take collective effort (and arguably the most collective effort of any problem human beings have yet faced in our existence to date).

    So the editor would have you believe that for a big problem like this it just makes sense for everyone else to do their part while we do nothing.

    Its poor logic in solving ANY material problem which inherently takes collaboration among various persons/entities.

    What if we took this approach in raising money to cure diseases? Im only 1 person what can I do, nothing. What about elections? Im only 1 vote what could I do, nothing. How about close to home…what about hurricane Ivan? Each of us should have done nothing given the massive scale of the problem according to the editors logic. I (and you) should just look out for myself and my home and forget about the collective efforts needed to solve the problem.

    Its pure nonsense, the whole editorial.

    Cayman has a moral, economic, social and enviromental responsibility as a high carbon emitter (per capita), as a member of the global community and as a front-line recipient to the negative effects of climate change to be aggressively trying to reduce our carbon emissions.

    To expect everyone else to do it for us, large and small and who also have tons of excuses themselves for why they should do nothing (economics, size, etc.) is pure hypocrisy and moral ineptitude.

    I wonder who is going to be around to read the editors daily writings when sea level rise has destroyed the very industries that bring people to the islands and provide a high quality of life for the local population because so many other countries took his advice?

    Ahh well, there’s always the history books.

    ***Editor’s Note: Commenter James Whittaker, chairman of the lobby group Cayman Renewable Energy Association, and Cayman Compass reporter James Whittaker are not related.***

  11. It’s not unbelievable to me that an editorial like this should appear in a country where the government has just signed up for 25 more years of diesel energy production when the rest of the world is moving away from fossil fuels in droves. When our Premier goes on radio and makes the comment that diesel is cheaper than solar energy for producing electricity – we are all lost or we have to make a quick change of governments, to one that has at least the slightest understanding of what is happening in the world of energy.
    Our editor was afraid for his life a short time back and left Cayman as I recall but proof is readily available that shows that all of our lives are at risk. Diesel particulate in the air contributes to a 70% increased chance of contracting cancer. Yet he doesn’t want to make any moves to reduce the $185,000,000.00 fuel charge that we paid last year for electricity. The editorial suggests that we shouldn’t invest anything to change and instead of doing something about the health of our people and the escalating cost of living that makes it so hard on people and businesses here, that we keep burning diesel and increasing everyone’s lives more difficult.
    We’ve been living on solar energy for 7 years now and hundreds of other families and businesses are also joining the effort – not only to save money but to do our small part to protect our environment. I ask all of you to disregard the ignorance of this editorial and the inability of the current government to take the appropriate actions for the people of this country. They won’t be here much longer – change will come!

  12. If the argument of money being a large influencing factor in Climate research is laughable, then common sense must also be laughable. Considering that it is indeed a FACT that trillions upon trillions is and will increasingly be levied via carbon taxes on ALL forms of energy (including "green" forms of energy) is a FACT, it is verifiable and not disputable. What is also a FACT is that the United States has spent over 347 Billions in climate research thus far, figures available here and from the Whitehouse here

    What is NOT a fact, is that all man-made climate skeptics are somehow profiting from questioning this highly non-scientific based theory. Interestingly speaking of profiting, it is a FACT that green energy providers are now profiting more than ever on selling green technologies. Get real on who’s profiting on climate change!

    Climate change does NOT follow the scientific model. This is why they (the well-funded scientists) have to come to a CONSENSUS, because the man-made climate change THEORY is not provable and isn’t falsifiable. You cannot show, that climate change would NOT occur has humans not been here. PERIOD.

    Also, it is important to note that all forms of carbon based organic materials produces greenhouse gasses when decomposing. EVERY SINGLE FORM. In this case methane is produces by virtually all life forms, all oceans, all swaps and wetlands like the Amazons, decomposing animals since the dinosaurs, Ocean floors, volcanoes, natural oil reserves (very massive). Virtually anything that decomposes will produce methane gases and all animals on earth. Methane and Carbon dioxide is a natural occurrence of this planet. What the global warming cult has managed to do is to convince people that the flatulence (farts) of farmed animals, crop farms, far outweigh the natural production of greenhouses gases, that coupled with the harvesting of fossil fuels (fuels produced by the earth by the way) will literally destroy the earth and flood our cities.

    Well to those who still believe that the earth is about to come to an end because of your meat diet, farmed vegetables and SUV, I propose you to read about Occam’s Razor.'s_razor. What is more plausible?

    1- That humans are destroying the earth’s atmosphere which: Has been around for BILLIONS of years and seen millions of volcanic eruptions far far more destructive that anything we can do, seen asteroids crashed causing massive amounts of atmospheric destruction, 1,100 massive oil fields burning for more than a decade (remember the first gulf war), etc.. THEN in a matter of three centuries will destroy our *correct climate* and the civilization as we know it…


    2 — Liberal politicians like Al Gore found a a way to blame people in general for a man-made disaster which can generate carbon tax revenues in the trillions and provide hundreds of billions in climate research to perpetrate this fraud?

    Please also research:
    Acid rain that was going to destroy all vegetation – Fraud
    Ocean acidity and Mercury levels were going to destroy all marine life – Fraud
    Global cooling/New ice age pushed by Al Gore in the 70’s – Fraud

    These same bunch of leftist political ideologues have a history of defrauding the public. Some are just to plain mentally zombified to recognize it.

  13. Climate change has become a politically correct rule of religious law, pushed by self righteous cult-like zealots who chastises and intimidates people into conformity to their ideology rather than having honest debate on the subject matter. Its certainly not science.

    Its a sad fact but true.

  14. Well Mr Ebanks, your cage is definitely rattled!
    Isn’t it strange that anyone espousing these theories (climate change etc) are deemed "liberal", left wing, and so on. Rather like the deep South US citizens who take that line on all that say that , for example Darwin was wrong, and maybe also the flat earthists! Well, this is becoming a bit like discussions with Apartheid era South Africans, never the twain will meet because they are catching trains from different platforms, so I will bow out, certain however, that the now overwhelming evidence that burning fossils that accumulated over billions of years, in just a hundred or so years, is bad for the climate.
    Mr Ebanks, you have immersed yourself in a bunch of so called expertise that suits your preconceived notions, I will waste no more time with trying to convince you that what the overwhelming majority see as true, is so!

  15. Some quick facts for AJ Ebanks regarding which side the "big money" is on this debate.

    Fossil Fuel Industry (as at 2014, reported in 2015):
    + 257 Billion Profits – US/Canada only and not including private companies not including any international companies, source Bloomberg
    + $5.3 Trillion in Global taxpayer Subsidies – source IMF.

    I could go on and on and add in more international figures and actual investing in the fossil fuel sector globally (versus just profit) but I might as well just stop there at the measly $5.5 trillion they pulled in just a year ago.

    So you say $347 billion on climate research? Well I can add that to the global investment (not even profits) of renewable at $270 billion (source Bloomberg) and your still not even close to disproving the point that’s been made.

    The big money is on the side of keeping the status quo. Period.

    ***Editor’s Note: Commenter James Whittaker, chairman of the lobby group Cayman Renewable Energy Association, and Cayman Compass reporter James Whittaker are not related.***

  16. AJ Ebanks, there is no sense in arguing directly with you as you are obviously ideologically blinded.

    However for the benefit of other readers I will rebut three of your arguments.

    1. Climate change isn”t falsifiable and thus can”t be proven true: In fact the easiest way to rebut this is to just state that it”s based upon the most simple principles of physics, chemistry and thermodynamics. We know that certain gases cause a "greenhouse effect" which allow energy from the sun in and absorb and hold radiated energy from our surface, thus warming the planet above what it would be in absence of those gases. We owe our entire existence on this earth to this fact, as without the greenhouse effect our atmosphere would provide no additional warmth and our planet would be much like Mars. The greenhouse effect is proven merely by pumping the gases in a balloon and taking internal temperature measurements over time and comparing to a balloon filled with normal atmospheric gas.

    We also know which gases primarily cause the greenhouse effect, CO2 being one, methane and water vapor as others, and can go back millions of years to see the levels of these gases in our atmosphere and compare to current levels, showing they have increased significantly. As well we can observe the geologic history of earth to estimate the temperature, ocean levels, and general climate during various periods in time to have an understanding about what levels of greenhouse gases cause what type of climate characteristics.

    If you want a longer version on the falsifiability of climate change theory, I suggest reading here

    2. Cooling/pause have been thoroughly discredited as well. They essentially amount to cherry picking data points as well as ignoring ocean heat absorption (the thing that is causing sea levels to rise). Surface and land temperatures can and do fluctuate but in general have been on a steady rise for the last 100 years. However 70% of the earth”s surface is ocean and it is a massive heat sink. Funny how people use this argument though – there”s a similar phenomenon that occurs when smoking a pork shoulder. A few hours in the temperature of the meat stops rising and even drops, leading many amateurs to think something is wrong. This is due to the meat releasing its moisture – or sweating. Give it enough time though and the water in the meat can do no more and the cooking resumes, just like when our oceans can do no more, the cooking will resume.

    More detailed explanation here:

    And the global cooling claims from the 70s are basically a cherry picked quote from a scientific report stating an ice age could appear in 20,000 years and that dramatically higher aerosol gases could contribute to cooler temperature in the near term. This scientist also knew that greenhouse gases could offset that cooling effect. This was picked up by a couple of magazines and suddenly now everything thinks the entire scientific community was convinced of a new ice age.

    More here: