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New America to Help Flip Aruba Off Fossil Fuels

The New America Foundation will partner with Carbon War Room to Launch the Smart Islands Economies Operation
Published:   June 20, 2012


Rio, Brazil —The Government of Aruba, New America Foundation and the Carbon War Room — the global entrepreneur initiative founded by Sir Richard Branson and a group of entrepreneurs — announced a partnership to transition the island to 100 percent renewable energy today during the United Nation’s Rio+20 talks.

The partnership will make Aruba the world’s first sustainable energy economy, with the Carbon War Room and New America Foundation working to both devise and implement an integrated strategy for the economy-wide transition – a world first, if successful.

“My vision is to create a social and economic resilience for Aruba that will improve the health, happiness and wellbeing of its citizens,” said Mike Eman, Aruba’s Prime Minister. “I believe that today’s commitment will propel Aruba to the next level in our progress toward achieving sustainability.”

Aruba’s partnership with Carbon War Room and the New America Foundation will bring together the expertise and political will to create and to implement a fully integrated strategy for sustainable prosperity. Aruba already has made significant advances towards sustainability with 20 percent of its energy needs supplied by wind power and several solar projects in development as well as innovative urban renewal projects designed to promote greater social cohesion of its neighbourhoods.  

A sustainable growth roadmap will be developed consistent with Aruba’s consensus driven policy-making approach of “social dialogue”.

Preliminary action areas include:

  • TRANSPORT: implement new low emission technologies and emission reduction strategies and create world-class walkable destinations for tourists and residents;
  • ENERGY EFFICIENCY: incentivize household retrofit and commercial energy efficiency;
  • WATER MINIMIZATION – Water minimization measures for industry and households: Aruba desalinates 100% of its water.
  • RENEWABLES implement smart grid and commercially viable renewable generation technologies: The high price of petroleum on islands means that a wider range of technologies are commercially viable.
  • TOURISM: implementing a sustainable approach to smart growth in the tourism sector to create an inspirational holiday destination,
  • AGRICULTURE: create an agriculture sector in Aruba that makes the best use of water resources: Currently, Aruba imports 100% of its food.

Although sustainability and low carbon plans aren’t new to island economies, successful implementation is. Carbon War Room’s Smart Island Economies operation - which was also launched today -  aims to develop a successful model for low carbon plan implementation, and replicate across other Caribbean and Pacific islands that wish to take that pathway.  It plans to attract top tier technology companies to work on Aruba, and hopes to attract philanthropic funding at the early stages to catalyse private investment.

“I am thrilled that the Carbon War Room can help make a difference for Aruba and its people. Aruba can set a wonderful example for other Island Nations to prove that they CAN get rid of fossil fuels, protect their wonderful natural resources and still grow their economy – brilliant! ” said Sir Richard Branson, Founder of the Carbon War Room.

The announcement was made today at Vision 20/30: Partnership for Islands eventby Sir Richard Branson and Aruba PM Mike Eman, and co-hosted by the Carbon War Room and Climate Institute. The event witnessed other island economies make commitments to achieve energy independence. Other speakers included: Christiana Figueres, Executive Director United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and Jose Maria Figueres, President Carbon War Room:

For more information about this initiative or to schedule an interview with one of our experts at the New America Foundation, please contact Clara Hogan at 202-596-3368 or hogan@newamerica.net
About Carbon War Room
CWR is a global entrepreneur initiative set up by Sir Richard Branson that accelerates entrepreneurial solutions to deploy profitable, scalable clean technologies. It focuses on breaking down market barriers for capital to flow to entrepreneurial solutions, and takes a global sector-based approach. As a registered US non-profit, CWR has no vested or financial interest in the partnership announced today.