U.S. Peace Corps volunteers to be trained in renewable energy

United States Secretary of State, Hon. Hilary Clinton addressing Caribbean and Latin American Ministers of Energy in Washington, D.C. on Thursday

ST. KITTS, APRIL 17, 2010 (CUOPM) – United States Peace Corps volunteers are to be trained in renewable energy and energy efficiency.

This has been disclosed by United States Secretary of State, the Hon. Hilary Clinton.

Addressing an Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA) Ministerial Meeting in Washington, D.C. attended by St. Kitts and Nevis Minister responsible for Energy, the Hon. Dr. Earl Asim Martin on Thursday, Mrs Clinton said the United States will work through the Peace Corps to advance renewable energy efforts.

“More than 2,000 Peace Corps volunteers serve in this hemisphere. From now on, many of them will be trained in renewable energy and energy efficiency and will share their training with communities and help implement those practices. They’ll work with microfinance institutions and small businesses to provide financing for renewable energy projects so people can power their homes and towns without relying exclusively on generators fueled by oil or open cooking fires,” Mrs. Clinton said.

She noted that cooking fires are one of the biggest sources of carbon across the world and produce the problems of all kinds of bad health, especially for children.

“The issue that we have to confront is how cooking fires are bad for the environment and they’re bad for your health. And there are low-cost solutions – some very advanced cooking stoves that are cost-effective and can eliminate many of those issues. The U.S. Government is working with private sector companies and NGOs to encourage the development of low-cost, more efficient, affordable cook stoves,” Mrs. Clinton stated.

She also disclosed that the United States has named three of its top scientists to serve as ECPA fellows, and they will be available to Caribbean and Latin American nations as consultants and advisors or educators.

“Our first is Dr. Daniel Kammen, a professor of energy at the University of California at Berkeley, who also serves as the founding director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory, the co-director of the Berkeley Institute of the Environment, and the director of the Transportation Sustainability Research Center. He’s a very busy person. And he was the coordinating lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.

Our second fellow is Dr. Ruth DeFries, a professor of sustainable development at Columbia University, whose research explores the consequences of human behavior on climate, biodiversity, habitats, and ecosystems. She’s also an expert on tropical deforestation and its impact on carbon emissions. So please take advantage of Dr. DeFries.

And third is Dr. Gerry Galloway, an engineering professor at the University of Maryland, whose focus is on the management of water resources and the impact of climate change on water systems. Each of these scientists are leaders in energy and climate, and their research and advocacy will give you an extra added benefit if you take advantage of them. And I urge every country to nominate your own science fellows to facilitate greater learning and discovery,” said the United States Secretary of State.

Mrs. Clinton said the United States will also promote the use of shale gas. “I know that in some places is controversial. But natural gas is the cleanest fossil fuel available for power generation today, and a number of countries in the Americas may have shale gas resources. If developed, shale gas could make an important contribution to our region’s energy supply, just as it does now for the United States. And the geologists at the U.S. Geological Survey are ready to work with partners to explore this potential. And we want to do it in a way that is as environmentally respectful as possible. So there are some best practices that we would be more than willing to share, and as countries develop the legislation or regulation necessary for this industry, to make sure it gets off on the best foot,” she said.

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