November 20, 2018 – San Juan – Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló announced the Puerto Rico Pledge for Climate Change, a historic initiative that aims to combat climate change and create a more environmentally sustainable island.
Among the measures being undertaken by the Puerto Rico government, Governor Rosselló emphasized the urgent need to transform the antiquated power grid into a modern, resilient energy network, with a long-term goal of depending only on renewable sources by year 2050.
In order to combat coastal erosion, Rosselló has already started the biggest reforestation project of the island’s history: over half a million trees will be planted alongside critical coastal lands in order to reduce land lost due to the rising oceans.
The 39-year-old former scientist has also vowed to reduce Puerto Rico’s carbon footprint by 50% within the next five years, the most ambitious agenda of any U.S. state government.
“Puerto Rico is especially vulnerable to the effects of climate change due to its geographical location. 39 years ago, when I was born, the city of San Juan could expect to have about 21 days per year at or above 90-degree heat. Today, the number of days at or above 90-degree heat is 104, a massive increase of 395%. Climate change is not only real, it is the most important issue of our generation and it’s our responsibility to tackle it”, said Governor Rosselló.
“We are undertaking the most ambitious resiliency project in the U.S., but we cannot stop climate change alone. We need each and every state to follow suit, therefore I call upon my colleagues across the nation to join me in the fight of our generation: Putting a stop to climate change and saving our planet”, he said.
While most United Nations member states have already signed the Paris Climate Accord, the United States withdrew its support last year. Given the size and impact of the U.S. economy, it is imperative that states take measures such as the ones implemented through the Puerto Rico Pledge for Climate Change so that the world can begin to make progress towards saving our planet.
“I would like to also thank my colleagues from the U.S. Climate Alliance, the governors of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington, who have spearheaded the effort to keep the Paris Climate Accord alive in the U.S.”, the Governor concluded.
The Puerto Rico Pledge for Climate Change benchmarks are the following:
- 100% renewables by 2050 (40% by 2023)
- 100% CapEx (Capital Investments) on resilience
- 500k trees in 5 years; increasing reforestation efforts thereafter.
- Reduce carbon footprint by 50% in the next 5 years.
- Climate Change Education: Implement robust school curriculums on mitigation, adaptation, resilience and response.
- New construction code: stronger, more resilient. Transition our people into safe housing.
- Create multi sectoral group to monitor and update necessary policy changes.
- Support science and research. Policy matters: erosion, conservation, water management, pollution.
- Short term immediate intervention on beaches, reefs, aquifers, et al.
- Rebuild framework of Puerto Rico needs to be centered on innovation and resiliency.