You will know that Climate Change is among the most significant challenges impacting countries and Governments worldwide. At the forefront of this challenge are discussions on how we can reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere.
To that end, this Government, like many others across the globe, has been working to implement measures to reduce Bermuda’s carbon footprint.
Climate Change Competition
I am very proud of the work done to reduce the island’s carbon footprint and eager to share our progress with the world.
To that end, in November, in a matter of weeks, I will be attending COP26, the United Nations Climate Change Conference held in Glasgow, Scotland. Bermuda will be a part of a contingent of Overseas Territories whose attendance and involvement with the Conference is being facilitated by the United Kingdom (UK) Government.
The UK Overseas Territories represent 94% of the United Kingdom’s marine diversity and the fourth largest marine estate in the world. To put it mildly, we small island states punch way above our weight and are a significant part of the planet’s biodiversity. We are also on the frontline of the adverse impacts of Climate Change. Our presence at this Conference is essential to ensure the interest of all small island states is not ignored and factored into the crucial decisions expected to be made to avert the worst impacts over the decades to come.
This Government understands that many of our decisions are not about today but about shaping the best possible future. I know that the decisions made by our leadership particularly impact the youth and those yet to be born. Future generations will inherit the decisions we make. We have seen here in Bermuda and worldwide children and young demand a voice to protect the future of our planet. I want Bermuda’s young people to know this Government has heard you.
On Bermuda’s journey to COP26, I want to invite our young students to share their thoughts on climate change with an international audience. Today, I set a challenge and an invitation to students 18 years of age and younger to submit written pieces up to 100 words, picture and graphic, or video up to 60 seconds on one of the following topics:
•Climate Resilience or
The winner from each topic will be considered for inclusion in the message from Bermuda that I take to COP26.
The deadline for submission is 22 October 2021. Video entries must be posted to the Bermuda Government’s Instagram page with the hashtag #BdaClimateChange. Pictures, graphics, and written work must be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. The winner from each topic will be announced on 26 October.
I look forward to receiving many creative, thoughtful submissions from our students and the opportunity to share them with the world.
The Bermuda Government has been doing a significant amount of work to mitigate the long term impact of Climate Change on our environment. Although work to raise the level of environmental protection has been done by successive Governments. I want to remind everyone that the Energy White Paper Policy of 2011, created by the then Government, forms the foundation for our current renewable energy policy and goals to eliminate the generation beyond 2035. Also, since 2017, this Government has made a clear policy commitment to enhancing environmental protection on land, sea and air.
Led by the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Bermuda Government continues to encourage the adoption of solar technologies and energy efficiency by offering duty relief for solar thermal technologies and end-user duty relief for businesses importing goods that contribute to demand-side management. The Bermuda Government as we speak though the Ministry of Public Works is installing considerable amount of PV Solar on government real estate. We understand the responsibility we have to show the community to be more energy efficient and lower costs.
We are creating a new renewable energy industry, and as a country, we must develop a well-trained workforce with the ability to install and maintain these new solar technologies. The Level 1 Solar Installer course and the upcoming NCCER training with the Construction Association of Bermuda, this Government is committed to that objective.
Government is moving forward with electrification of the government fleet. The Ministry of Transport has ordered electric buses , the charging infrastructure is being installed and other government vehicles will be replaced with electric options. I am certain the related Ministries will keep us abreast of progess.
Elimination of Single-Use Plastics
Plastics are a recognised threat to clean oceans, and plastic pollution poses a risk to human health. The Government is currently consulting the community on a phased approach to the elimination of Single-Use Plastics or SUPs. As of 1st September, the public consultation and policy paper titled “Regulating Single-Use Plastics in Bermuda” has been available online at forum.gov.bm for members of the public to review Government’s direction towards eliminating single-use plastics and contribute to the solution. The consultation period ends on 31st October, so if you have not reviewed the information or provided your feedback, I urge you to do so.
Sustainable Building Designs
Designing buildings in a sustainable, energy-efficient manner is essential to reducing Bermuda’s carbon footprint and can have significant long-term cost benefits. In light of this, the Department of Planning has put in place planning policies that advise new developments be designed to incorporate energy efficiency measures, water conservation, green building materials and other sustainable design measures into the building design and site layout.
This Government is committed to reducing our carbon footprint, and I am extremely excited about this opportunity to engage Bermuda’s young people on this critical issue, which will impact their future and the world.
Our young people have emerged as a strong voice in the global environmental movement and deserve an opportunity to be heard. This is especially true now as the leaders of today make the decisions that will impact tomorrow. We look forward to hearing their thoughts, ideas on the topics and sharing their message with the world leaders this November in Glasgow, Scotland.
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