Thomas: Oil drilling may compromise aid from US

As The Bahamas acquaints itself with the incoming Biden administration this year, while continuing to lobby for aid as a jurisdiction vulnerable to climate change, this country will be judged by the actions it is taking or not taking to mitigate climate change, Director of the Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience Research Centre, at the University of The Bahamas Dr. Adelle Thomas said yesterday, explaining that ongoing oil exploration will likely be seen as counter to mitigation efforts.

Thomas, who will present on The Bahamas’ climate change challenges at the Bahamas Business Outlook next week, said the country is facing a national climate emergency and can ill-afford to be perceived as a country participating in industries that go against efforts to thwart climate change. 

“Some of the actions that are being taken now, such as moving forward with oil drilling and failing to include climate change as a key component of our COVID-19 recovery plans, these are actually increasing our vulnerability to climate change,” Thomas said.

“The international community is paying attention. That letter that Congress people from Florida sent over [urging The Bahamas not to drill for oil]… they are very much paying attention. 

“I think if we start looking for bilateral aid, particularly from the United States with the new Biden administration coming in, they will look at what actions we are doing to help ourselves and I think that will influence aid that will come to us, specifically for climate change.”

Given that The Bahamas has experienced traumatic climate events recently, Thomas said the country has to act urgently to prepare a national adaptation strategy, consider climate change in all development decisions and strengthen public-private partnerships to address climate change.

Environmentalists have been attempting to stop Bahamas Petroleum Company’s drilling of an exploratory oil well 90 miles off the south coast of Andros.

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Chester Robards

Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian. Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism

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