Sir Richard Branson and Aruba Prime Minister Mike Eman announced at Rio+20 today that Branson’s Carbon War Room will work with the country to transition the island to 100% renewable energy and the world’s first sustainable economy.
They will create a roadmap in line with the country’s consensus-driven policy making that includes Aruba’s citizens.
Aruba, a 33 kilometer-long island, just north of Venezuela, has one of the highest standards of living in the Caribbean with low unemployment, mostly from its strong tourism industry.
The government has an ambitious agenda to increase renewable energy – 20% of its energy comes from wind, and several solar projects are under development.
Although sustainability plans aren’t new to island economies, successful implementation is. Carbon War Room’s Smart Island Economies, also launched today, aims to develop a model for low carbon plan implementation and replicate it across other Caribbean and Pacific islands that wish to take that pathway.
Preliminary areas of focus are:
Transport: implement low emission technologies and create world class walkable destinations for tourists and residents.
Energy Efficiency: develop strategies to renovate homes and commercial buildings.
Water Minimization: Aruba desalinates 100% of water; develop strategies to minimize use for industry and homes.
Renewables: implement smart grid and commercially viable renewable generation – the high price of petroleum on the island means a wide range of technologies are commercially viable.
Tourism: implement a sustainable approach to smart growth for this important industry.
You can watch the World Green Summit, the business portion of Rio+20 live: