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Senior Reporter Hipolito Novelo Reports on Energy Month from COP26

It’s day 5 at COP26 and today’s discussion focused on energy. Significant progress was made in Glasgow, Scotland today as several countries signed on to the Global Clean Power Transition Statement. Senior Reporter, Hipolito Novelo reports.

Hipolito Novelo, Love News: It was energy day today at COP26 in Glasgow Scotland and major pledges were made. COP president Alex Sherman announced the new global clean power transition statement which commits to putting an end to coal investments and scale up clean power. Five countries including the US and the UK formed an ambitious long term partnership to support South Africa’s just transition to clean energy. The aim is also to phase out coal by 2030 in developed countries and by 2040 in developing countries. The pledge has seventy seven signatories. So where is tiny Belize in all of this and is the goal to financially help countries like Belize to be energy independent achievable ? 

Orland Habet, Minister of Sustainable Development, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management: “I don’t see it very likely because as it is right now some funding that has already been given out to developing countries much of the monies according to OXFAM has been given out in terms of loans and some of them not even concessionary loans. Very few or very little has been given in grants so we have to know what we’re doing. When we give up something we have to make certain that we get back something. We freely gave up our potential for offshore oil exploration which is good, something that I think all Belizeans supported. However we got nothing for it so we had to know what we had so that we can use that as a chip for negotiation, for compromise so that we can get back something. So okay we gave back if there was a potential for $10 billion dollars worth of fuel then these developed countries should have made arrangements where we will get back if electricity is what we wanted then give us 100,000 solar panels for the next twenty years, build us some hospitals, build us some schools for education, some technology and innovation centers, things like that that we can get back. Even if it’s not financial it can be in kind.”

Hipolito Novelo, Love News: More than two dozen countries have made new pledges to phase out coal power. Globally this could translate to a shift estimated at $17.8 billion dollars a year in public support out of fossil fuels and into clean energy. It is a historic step at the moment when negotiation over climate finance continues. 

Dr.Kenrick Williams, CEO, Ministry of Sustainable Development: “One of the key things is to highlight the Belize story. We have to carve out the uniqueness of the Belize situation in this broader discussion and we do that in the subgroups such as Commonwealth, such as CARICOM, such as AOSIS. Today’s discussion is with Commonwealth and the idea is how do we look at unique financing under the unique circumstances of countries under Commonwealth. How do we look at financing specifically from countries like the UK for example, the EU to look at more targeted financing and specialized financing to countries like Belize.”

Hipolito Novelo, Love News: How technical can these negotiations or these meetings be ?

Dr.Kenrick Williams, CEO, Ministry of Sustainable Development: “Today’s discussion is really a panel discussion to highlight the Belize story, what we’ve done, what are some of the ecosystem based adaptation mechanisms that we’ve used, the natural opportunities that we’ve used as a country to address our adaptation situation and to support meeting our NDC commitments that’s one side of the discussions. The other side is the negotiations so in addition to all of the high level engagement that our ministers are having myself and the technical team will be engaging in the negotiations. So we have ongoing negotiations today in terms of financing, in terms of adaptation, in terms of climate finance, in terms of loss and damage, in terms of transparency, all of these things will affect the type of financing the amount of financing, how we treat with that finance. And so in the background we have the negotiations ongoing with our chief negotiators and our technicians in the various areas at COP.”

Hipolito Novelo, Love News: And Belize is going big asking for one billion US dollars in climate finance.

Dr.Osmond Martinez, CEO, Ministry of Economic Development: “More than $46 million US dollars is costing the Government of Belize per year due to climate change and the impacts of climate change in Belize. So for example drought, flood, hurricanes, and so as a country or as a region we are suffering. I think we have to go after $1 billion US dollars. We have to think big and we have to be very serious with the proposals that we submit. The Paris Agreement indeed was one that was not honored by developed nations and these big contributors of carbon emissions and so only 20% of that pledge has been disbursed so 80% have never been disbursed. Now we are in Glasgow 2021 again negotiating and the concern is will this be a one more blah blah blah ?”

Hipolito Novelo, Love News: And that is left to be seen up until next week when COP26 concludes.