Ratings agency wrong on climate change plans, says minister
An international ratings agency was wrong in its assessment that the island “lagged” behind in the creation of ways to tackle climate change, the home affairs minister insisted today.
Walter Roban said he disagreed with the Kroll Bond Rating Agency report and that the Ministry of Home Affairs had not been contacted about its climate strategy.
Mr Roban said: “They were misinformed, in my view.
“We have had a biodiversity action plan since the mid-2000s, we have continuously enhanced legislation around invasive species, continued to put protections in place for endangered species and have plans in place – and are developing further plans – around the mitigation of climate change.
“Unfortunately we did not have a chance within the Government to have a conversation with Kroll.
“They would have been better informed.”
Mr Roban, whose comments start at 8:04 on the attached video, added that with the financial support of the UK government, a massive climate change study would be carried out, which will build on a coastal study from mid-2000s.
He said: “We are entering into a much more comprehensive set of plans and studies following on from the work we are already doing around the mitigation of climate change.”
Mr Roban also highlighted Bermuda’s involvement in the next month’s UN Global Climate Change conference – known as COP26 – in Glasgow, Britain.
He said that Bermuda would play an important role in the event as the island is the present head of the UK Overseas Territories Association and would lead the Territories’ delegation.
Mr Roban said: “Under Bermuda’s leadership, COP26 is a vital and important opportunity to showcase our work tackling climate change in each territory and how we are protecting the unique marine and terrestrial environments within each territory.
“The UK pavilion will have a nature day and I, as Deputy Premier and as the leader of the Overseas Territories delegation, will lead an event entitled ‘Our Vision for Healthy Oceans’.”
He said the event would emphasise efforts by the Overseas Territories to boost knowledge environmental problems, protect the oceans and tackle climate change.
Mr Roban added that the event would also be an opportunity to gather international support to protect the environmental resources of the Overseas Territories.
He said the delegation would also meet with non-governmental organisations and other groups with a stake in environmental protection, as well as other small island states.
Mr Roban said the UK Overseas Territories represented the world’s sixth largest marine estate and more than 90 per cent of the UK’s biodiversity.
He added: “We are vital to the UK meeting its pledge of protecting 30 per cent of the world’s oceans by 2030.
“The governments of the Overseas Territories are custodians of internationally essential and crucial habitats which span the globe from the Antarctic to the Caribbean and, of course, the North Atlantic.
“All territories are vulnerable and we will be among the first in line to experience the potential impact of climate change.”
Mr Roban said the Overseas Territories were at the leading edge of renewable energy, ocean protection and climate finance.
He added Bermuda was moving away from fossil fuels in favour of renewable energy, developing bans on single-use plastics and adopting electric vehicles among other environmental improvements.
Mr Roban added that he awaited a Regulatory Authority report on the solar energy farm project at the airport.
But he said he understood the farm was “on the verge” of going live, and that he hoped he would be able to provide an update before the end of the month.
Mr Roban added: “That is a part of our effort to mitigate our environmental impact, to move aggressively towards renewable energy.”