WASHINGTON, D.C.: The Caribbean Climate Innovation Centre (CCIC), a business hub inaugurated on Monday, will support the growing number of clean energy and climate technology ventures in the Caribbean, according to the World Bank.
The U.S.-based financial institution said the CCIC, the first of its kind in the region, would help reduce the significant threats posed by climate change through the creation of new green businesses.
The World Bank said climate change can have “a serious impact on the Caribbean”, pointing to a recent study it conducted that highlights how an estimated four degrees Celsius increase in global temperatures “would have disastrous consequences, including increased frequency and intensity of storms, coastal erosion and decline of fresh water resources”.
The World Bank said additional research estimated that the cost for the Caribbean could be up to US$11 billion annually by 2025.
It said in order to address the economic impact of climate change in the region, the CCIC will help local companies by working in solar energy, energy efficiency, water management, resource efficiency and agribusiness to become successful “green ventures through financing, training, mentorship and other services”.
“The new CCIC will help turn climate challenges into economic opportunities,” said Sophie Sirtaine, World Bank Country Director for the Caribbean. “Companies in the Caribbean have the skills and experience to innovate and find environmentally sound and profitable climate solutions the region needs. The CCIC will work with them to make this happen.”
Sirtaine said numerous domestic natural resources, such as solar, wind, geothermal and biomass, can be tapped to move the region away from fossil fuels.
By supporting local climate technology companies that make use of these natural resources, Sirtaine said the CCIC is expected to cut 20,882 metric tons in greenhouse gas emissions in its first six years of operation, which is equivalent to the exhaust emissions from 4,500 passenger cars per year.
“We believe biodiesel could play an important role in the energy landscape of the Caribbean,” said Elliot Lincoln, founder of Themba Biofuels, based in Antigua. “We aim to replace 10 per cent of imported diesel fuel with biodiesel and create more than a hundred jobs. I look forward to the support of the CCIC as we scale our operations and develop new markets.”
The World Bank said the CCIC would have facilities in Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago, as well as satellite hubs in other Caribbean islands. It said the CCIC would be part of a global network of eight Climate Innovation Centers located, among others, in Kenya, India, Vietnam and Ethiopia. The CCIC will complement other ongoing World Bank and donor initiatives, including the Foundations for Growth and Competitiveness in Jamaica and the Caribbean Growth Forum.
Supported by the World Bank Group and its global innovation program infoDev, and by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development of Canada, the CCIC was developed in close collaboration with regional public and private sector partners. The World Bank said it is hosted by the Jamaica-based Scientific Research Council and the Caribbean Industrial Research Institute in Trinidad & Tobago.