Climate Change Issues by Dymphna Van Der Lans Looking at recent headlines, the issue of climate change is hard to miss. Threats of rising sea levels, freak weather patterns, and dying ecosystems have become part of the daily conversation, yet the international response is yet to catch up. For many people, the level of separation between the lives they live and the effects of global warming is too great, and the repercussions seem too removed for any action to be taken. Unfortunately, not everyone has this luxury. In island nations around the world, including Saint Kitts & Nevis,citizens contribute only a small amount of emissions worldwide but face the greatest and most imminent consequences from climate change. Warmer ocean temperatures have put key aquatic environments at risk, unpredictable storms and droughts have destroyed vegetation, and the very nations themselves could soon be underwater. Immediate action is necessary on all levels in order to build resiliency to climate change. Though steps need to be taken globally, work can be done on a smaller scale. Our organizations– the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI) and Rocky Mountain Institute–Carbon War Room (RMI-CWR)–have worked for years to help island nations like Saint Kitts & Nevis transition to renewable energy. Now, we are partnering with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Lighthouses initiative to spread information about climate change and best practices for transitioning to energy independence. Island nations like Saint Kitts & Neviswill benefit economically if there is a systematic transition away from traditional sources of energy. Because of their dependence on importing diesel and petroleum, these nations are susceptible to global market fluctuations and have to pay high premiums on transport of fuel. For instance, the price of energy for some island nations has reached almost 500 percent the typical U.S. average. In Saint Kitts & Nevis, 26.37 percent of the country’s GDP is spent on energy. Compared with non-island nations, whose energy expenditure only represents a small percentage of GDP, this high price causes a significant economic burden for the people of Saint Kitts & Nevis and their families. This high cost puts stress on the government by increasing the trade imbalance and discouraging foreign investment, as well as individual households who have to pay high prices for the power they receive.Saint Kitts & Neviscan significantly reduce energy costs by becoming more independent, which will benefit the country as a whole. Here in Saint Kitts & Nevis, several energy efficiency and renewable energy projects have been started. One of these projects is a lightbulb exchange program, where existing residential lighting was replaced with over 300,000 energy efficient LED bulbs. Initiatives like these are steps in the right direction for Saint Kitts & Nevis, but more work can be done. One of the biggest hurdles for creating widespread change across many different islands is the lack of shared information. Without sufficient knowledge, a plan of action cannot be created, which means that renewable energy systems won’t be implemented. By increasing the scope of accessibility, we are working to make the energy transition a realistic and achievable goal for all island nations. Our organizations can now share their tested methods of renewable implementation through IRENA’s vast network of governmental and business connections. Island nations like Saint Kitts & Nevis have taken admirable steps towards transitioning to renewable energy. Together with global leaders, we are working on a comprehensive effort to address the causes and mitigate the effects of climate change, and these next steps through the Lighthouses initiative are the key to the implementation and creation of a lasting, energy efficient legacy.