Work on climate ‘now urgent’ says Panton

| 05/06/2021 | 69 Comments

(CNS) Premier Wayne Panton said he wanted to reassure the country that he takes his duty and responsibility as premier and minister for sustainability and climate resiliency seriously because the work “is now urgent, especially in relation to our response to climate change”. By creating this new ministry, Panton’s government has signalled a clear intention to focus on developing programmes and policies that will protect the environment.

“We must all take actions to heal the damage humans have put on the environment,” he said in a message ahead of World Environment Day on Saturday, which has the theme “Ecosystem Restoration”.

Panton’s reassurances that his government will be creating solid policies to address the environmental challenges come against the backdrop of numerous setbacks for the local environment over the last few weeks, including the approval for the developers behind the Aster MedCity project to remove of 22 acres of mangrove with no plan to replace them.

Caymanians continue to raise the alarm about serious environmental challenges, as people struggle to access the beach and watch as developers attempt to turn the coastline around West Bay into Seven Mile beach, breaching numerous planning approvals as they do. However, many people are hoping that PACT will deliver on campaign promises to put the brakes on the excessive amount of coastal development.

In his World Environment Day address, Panton embraced the increase in activism in Cayman and awareness about the issues. He said that this country had been slow to respond to the threats to our environment and the impending threat from climate change.

“Our young people have begun to demand we do better, including the many young people in our community who are involved in environmental activism through Protect Our Future, the National Trust for the Cayman Islands, and the Mangrove Rangers, to name but a few avenues for action,” he said. “Our young people recognise that humanity is facing an existential crisis arising from climate change and that it is they who will inherit this fragile earth. I encourage our youth to keep raising their own voices – we hear you.”

Noting the provision in the constitution that declares Cayman to be “a country that manages growth and maintains prosperity, while protecting its social and natural environment” and “a country that respects, protects and defends its environment and natural resources as the basis of its existence”, he said his government would provide opportunities for the Caymanian people to play their part.

He pointed to policies to safeguard the biodiversity of all three Islands and the sustainability of our ecosystems through the expansion of protected areas, as well as managing the risks associated with climate change through targeted strategies to adapt to the impacts and address the causes. He spoke of a creating a space for the government to work with all citizens on innovative ways to enhance the quality of their lives while ensuring the long-term viability of the country’s natural systems and promoting sustainable food security.

“Facilitating the country’s transition to a green economy, including meeting our goals for renewable energy and embracing appropriate green technology” was another policy commitment that would help the country face the impact of climate change, which, he said, “is a frightening prospect, especially for small islands like ours”.

Panton said we must invest, as a government and people, to protecting the environment from the impending climate disasters. “We must take timely action to reduce our contribution of greenhouse gases, however small in global terms our contribution might be, and ensure that all our decisions increase our collective ability to adapt and enhance our resilience to the inevitable impacts of a changing climate,” he said.

“Embracing sustainability and making good on the promise that each new generation should be able to build a better future is a fundamental principle of my government,” he added.

See his full address here.


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Category: Climate Change, Science & Nature

Comments (69)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    They should immediately get rid of us having to pay CUC for solar if they want us to be so environmentally friendly!!!

  2. An non says:

    Our government’s decision to remain closed impacts all of us. Open to vaccinated people. At least from North America. Get your heads out the flipping sand. Omg. What are they thinking. If this is the new normal we need to move ahead. And put a plan in place for those persons who want to be part of the ‘free’ population. Enough is enough. Look at the science! A 95% percent effective rate of protection is AMAZING! Drop the quarantine for vaccinated Americans and Caymanians. Both can be easily verified as to vaccine status. The US is a major source of stay over tourism . And we need to be able to plan for reopening. Treating Caymanians like mushrooms won’t fly. Especially when those in power have information withheld from the masses.

    • Anonymous says:

      If we should drop for anyone is should be the British or Europeans, definitely NOT Americans. You lot are barbaric and have no regard for anyone but yourselves.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Please can we have Alva back

  4. Anonymous says:

    Cayman will be under water in 100-200 years … what difference does it make ?

    Government should start up a fund to go buy up a large swath of land (maybe Cuba) to move the country when the inevitable happens.

    But oh wait that would require foresight ….

    • anon against ignorance says:

      4.44pm Not so. We already have a plan. Every single day I see dozens and dozens of dump trucks loaded with mountains (literally) of fill pouring out of the Port Authority. At this rate we will outperform the rise in sea level.

  5. Anonymous says:

    What’s the carbon footprint of a 65′ Hatteras?

  6. Anonymous says:

    So Wayne if you are remotely serious when will you be bringing forward legislation to force CUC to switch from burning diesel to investing in renewable sources to make say 50% of our energy needs? Or strip away their exclusivity to allow us to do it on our own?

    See this is where climate warriors fall down. They fail to realize someone has to pay for these things. And it’s expensive. Talk is cheap.

    • Anonymous says:

      You can DO IT ON YOUR OWN. Simply disconnet from the CUC distribution network. Then it all in your control.
      ps – sensible suggestions to make 50% of our permanent power from renewables at present?

    • Anon says:

      You don’t have to force CUC to switch to renewables. They have been proposing renewable energy programs for years but OfReg won’t approve them for some reason.

    • Concerned says:

      Exactly. Words are cheap. Subsidise solar, make import of ALL electric vehicles free, set a renewables target that CUC must meet or face fines, ban single use plastic, I don’t mean straws I mean packaging. Significantly fine people littering and dumping rubbish, including cars. Put restrictions on developments to force them to build energy efficient homes. Ensure the new dump regeneration furnaces meet the highest emissions standards.
      Don’t just put out a nonsense press release that talks rhetoric with no policy ideas or affirmative action YOU are going to take. Talk is cheap.

  7. Reality Check says:

    There’s really nothing we can do here in Cayman that will make a material difference to the environment in our region. Carbon emissions, storms and sea levels in our Country are driven by the 7+ Billion people not located in the Cayman Islands. We could conserve, stop all development, and blanket the island in rainforest and we would all be disappointed to learn that it would make no difference whatsoever to our environmental outcome as a nation. With under 200,000 people, everything we do here is purely symbolism, because nobody listens to us, because there are too few of us to influence the masses who are not here. The best thing we can do here is to grow and add good people and come up with a realistic plan for a coping with the reality upon us, that we can do nothing about. Nobody cares about a poor little rich tax haven going underwater. That would suit everyone off-island just fine. To protect ourselves we need to grow our economy so that we are vibrant as a nation and people, so that we can carry-on with a Caymanian dream, and deal with the realities thrust upon us from far away.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thank you. Well said. Yet this government is going to make all the difference. Whey are we removing 22 acres of mangroves. Why was this event considered much less approved. Why don’t we hear about the relocation of mangroves instead of removal.

      Huh???

    • Anonymous says:

      so every small communitny in the world can adopt the same mentality???? zzzzzzzzzz…..grow a brain!

    • Anonymous says:

      Good thing The Allies didn’t adopt that stance back in day 🙄

    • Anonymous says:

      You’re 100% right however if everyone takes the attitude that there’s nothing I can do, then WE will never do anything; the same goes for big and small countries. If we threw all our trash in the sea it would make almost zero difference to global levels of marine pollution but we don’t do it, for good reason. The simple fact is we are at a tipping point where “green” technologies can compete with traditional at the same price point whilst driving new business and employment opportunities; there’s no reason not to and Cayman is better placed than most economically to do so.

  8. Anonymous says:

    stop eating meat…problem solved.
    we don’t need it…its bad for us, bad for animals and is killing our planet.

    • Anonymous says:

      Like worse than refined sugars, processed foods, and unhealthy snacks? Than smoking or alcohol?
      Is meat consumption a direct contributor to the obesity and diabetes epidemic?

      Is it really necessary to cancel everything because you don’t like it?

      • Anonymous says:

        read scienctific data on meat consumpttion and you conveniently ignore environmental damage.

        • Anonymous says:

          🤣😂🤣🙃😂 What science? The independent peer reviewed scientific studies or the double blind medical trials? There aren’t any.

        • Anonymous says:

          I’m curious. Does the science compare the environmental impacts of the very large herds of buffalo/bison that roamed North America? How do the number of buffalo and their GHG emissions compare to today’s cattle numbers? Curious if anyone knows?

          CNS: Bison vs Cow Greenhouse Gas “Emissions”

          • Anonymous says:

            Humanity wasn’t voraciously deforesting our own air filtration system and diverting and polluting rivers to grow the feed used to expand those Buffalo herds and their waste. We didn’t seek to expand them either. We did the opposite killing them all off to starve-out the indigenous communities and relocate them under rifle to where they are now.

          • Anonymous says:

            That’s helpful. Thank-you!

    • Anonymous says:

      Wayne can start helping the planet by giving up his gas guzzling truck and huge boat. How many cars are parked in his driveway? Sell some off!

      • Anonymous says:

        You nailed it! Yet many instead are going to blindly jump on Waynes’s environmental magic carpet! We now have more deaths due to lockdown than Covid. If a man with multiple heart attacks and Covid is deemed a Covid death, then untimely deaths during lock downs must be treated with the same logic.

    • Anonymous says:

      You’re insane. Please go back. I know you’re not from here. Jesus jumping jehovah.

    • Harley45 says:

      There are excellent and tasty meat alternatives available in the supermarkets now so we can easily reduce our meat consumption. Everyone can make small changes to our daily habits.

      • Anonymous says:

        No thank you. Eat that crap yourself.

        • Concerned says:

          Let’s all kill our dogs too because they only eat meat. Daft beggar. Meanwhile you’re driving every day no doubt.

      • Anonymous says:

        Most of which are stuffed full of artificial chemical flavoring, high fructose corn syrup, binding agents and who knows what else. Help yourself to all of it you can eat.

    • Anonymous says:

      You go first. I’ll eat your share.

  9. Anonymous says:

    This is reassuring, though please don’t forget about the sister islands! We face unique threats yet have no onsite conservation officers, are a fraction of the size with many threatened or endangered species and lord knows how many helipads that have been proposed or approved for these small (not Grand!) islands.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Hey Wayne!!! OPENING THE BORDERS IS “NOW URGENT “-!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Climate change can no longer be framed as an impending threat, it’s already here and happening. Forecasts have humanity driving well-past 1.5’C in the next few years to 2’C plus. Each of us could help by changing our household consumption habits, and in particular, the contrived reliance on meat and dairy industries.

    • Anonymous says:

      I concur 🥵🥵

    • Anonymous says:

      Yet sea level hasn’t risen in Cayman. Just look at the old photos of Hog Sty Bay and compare with today.

      No change. Please explain?

      • Anonymous says:

        Sea level rises are delayed behind temperature increases.

        And if your evidence is a grainy photo of hog sty bay, where you can tell if the sea level has changed by an inch, isn’t really evidence.

        For example do you know the time the photo was taken and the exact lunar cycle to show if your old photo was at high tide or low tide?

        Do you see the problem with your “evidence”?

      • anon/ says:

        4.53 All the hogs swam away.

  12. Anonymous says:

    This is seriously what you think is urgent?

  13. Anonymous says:

    It doesn’t matter what Panton or anyone else in Cayman does, the climate will continue to change. Symbolism is to appease idiots. How about expediting the dump project and work on removing plastics, that will actually do something.

    • Anonymous says:

      “Removing plastics”, isn’t an actionable solution or the sum of our environmental problems. Our 65k consumers in the Cayman Islands don’t control the North American consumer packaging market.

  14. Fran Gipani says:

    Maybe the Premier can start with ensuring we never allow another concrete and chrome monstrosity like the new condo development on S.Church St which destroyed the iron shore and has a couple of imported palm trees and pansies as tokens for an almost complete absence of landscaping.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Are you kidding me? This is his first significant statement? He spues recycled catch phrases without addressing real issues that affect the environment. How about a definitive waste management system. How about a functional public transportation system to reduce our mountain of tires and old cars and reduce traffic and its emissions. How about stopping the rubber stamping of excessive development stripping the natural wonders of Cayman and replacing with concrete jungle. I am sorry, but this pathetic speech exudes more lip service, which Cayman really has had its full over the last several years.

    • Anonymous says:

      First thing is to get rid of the whole CPA board and do not just move some current members into the chairman and assistant chairman positions. The whole bunch need to go as they all have been complacent in the current rubber stamp machine that is there now.

      • Anonymous says:

        You do realise the CPA board has to work within the confines of the law. Our laws need strengthening badly. EG: Parking is inadequate at every apt complex built yet Govt doesn’t change the requirements because it will cost developers more. Nonwithstanding that they are making a killing for most times shoddy work performed by cheap labour.

      • Just Sayno says:

        Sounds like a great plan! They have proved beyond any doubt that they do not care about the Caymanian citizens………… or the future of the Caymanian children!

  16. Anonymous says:

    And what will you do, Wayne? All talk no walk?

  17. Anonymous says:

    This is confused reporting. You are conflating sustainability and climate resilience, which are macro strategic issues, with your opposition to local development and mangrove loss.

    Policies should be developed for both. But they’re not the same thing at all.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Wait until Uncle Dart and Cousin Schilling have their say.

    And no they won’t come directly at Wayne. Instead they will use their “influence” on the newbies who are still hungry. Once they are on board poor Wayne will have little choice if he hopes to hold his “team” together.

    God help us!

  19. Anonymous says:

    Yawn!

  20. Anonymous says:

    Start by working on opening the borders to the vaccinated!

    • Anonymous says:

      Go to the government websites of Bermuda and the BVI and notice the well documented procedures for vaccinated travelers to enter the countries. Why can’t Cayman work on that… no one wants to work? This is getting to be ridiculous. What’s next.. no opening until 100% vaccination is reached? For god’s sake..

    • Anonymous says:

      We will have a big problem when the borders do open a certain “Minister of Tourism” can’t travel to the US. Should anyone be concerned? How did he get into office. How do we vote for somoene and put him into Tourism, but CAN”T travel????

  21. Anonymous says:

    would love to see some firm action as to what he’s going to do about CUC’s monopoly and insistence on burning diesel instead of focusing on renewables.

    • Anonymous says:

      And a measurement of the toxicity released from their smokestacks that is causing cancer clusters on this island

  22. Anonymous says:

    Change the CPA now, then we might think that you are serious!

    You already tricked us one time too much with your promise to implement a “code of conduct” for MPs.

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