Response to Jan. 6 editorial

The Cayman Renewable Energy Association (CREA) wishes to address the editorial of Jan. 6, entitled “Cayman’s combat with climate change: A bunch of hot air”. It behooves us to provide a counter point to your readers who are at risk of being misinformed by the opinions expressed on the importance of climate change to all countries and about the realities of climate change itself.

CREA believes your readers should be made aware that man-made climate change and its negative global affects are agreed by a vast majority of the global scientific community. Those who deny climate change exists rest squarely on the fringe of global consensus and have very little evidence to support their position, despite being historically well funded by the multi-trillion dollar fossil fuel industry.

Denying of climate change aside, perhaps the most alarming and disappointing aspect of your editorial is the apathy and hypocrisy shown towards Cayman’s responsibility to fight climate change and reduce our carbon emissions. Essentially the editor’s position is that we are a small country and as such we should do nothing while expecting others to do it for us. In this country we see similar attitudes regarding the importance of renewable energy by our elected leaders as well, so this is not new albeit unfortunate.

If we as members of a local, regional and global society took the editors point of view it would make no sense for any individual to help solve problems that take collective efforts to solve. Why vote in elections, you’re only one vote. Why donate to worthy causes like cancer research or feeding the poor, you are just a small contribution. The examples could go on and on but hopefully the point is clear, big problems often take collective effort, large and small.

As a low-lying island nation that is on the front line of the negative affects of climate change, as a member of a regional and global community and as one of the highest carbon emitting countries in the world per capita; Cayman has a moral, economic, social and environmental responsibility to do our part in reducing our Carbon Emissions.

Economies outside North America, Asia and Europe make up a small percentage of the total global carbon emissions, but that’s no excuse for not doing our collective part to solve this global problem.

To be fair big economies and small have made a plethora of excuses as to why they should do nothing or at most make minimum contributions while expecting others to do more; so the editor doesn’t have exclusivity over this unfortunate line of thinking.

That said, its that kind of apathy which is a major reason why this problem has reached epidemic levels and why only collective collaboration, as evidenced by so many countries (including Caribbean nations) at the recent COP21 is the only viable way forward.
CREA believes the Secretary-General of the United Nations may have said it best “Climate change does not respect borders, it does not respect who you are – rich and poor, small and big. This is what we call a global challenge, which requires global solidarity”.

James Whittaker, chairman, Cayman Renewable Energy Association

Editor’s note: Letter writer James Whittaker is not related to Compass reporter James Whittaker.