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SANTO DOMINGO. The Dominican Republic is looking for the money to abandon the use of coal in its territory. It does so long before the UN climate summit (COP26) agreed on a progressive reduction of this mineral as an energy source.

The investment will help convert the generation matrix of the Punta Catalina thermoelectric plant from coal to another type of fuel that is more environmentally friendly, for example, according to Max Puig, vice president of the National Council for Climate Change.

The money will come through the climate investment funds (CIF), a trust managed by the World Bank Group, after the country presented two proposals: one on abandoning coal and another to favor the expansion of renewable energies. .

“We do not know how much it will mean, but we understand that we will be able to receive, probably, between 200 and 500 million dollars,” said Puig. The official clarified that the approval of the loan does not mean receiving a total disbursement. An advance is foreseen, which may be as a donation, so that the studies are carried out before the decision-making is made.

Already last August, President Luis Abinader ordered the Minister of the Environment and Natural Resources, Orlando Jorge Mera, a study on the pollution produced by Punta Catalina to analyze the possibility of converting it to natural gas.

CIFs are soft loans, “very soft” according to Puig, which are granted under “very favorable” conditions. Regarding renewable energy, the official stressed that, although the country invests in this sector, “there are not enough” power lines for renewable energy to reach consumers.

More investments

At the climate summit held in Glasgow, United Kingdom, Puig said that the country took advantage of the stage to sit bilaterally with large players such as countries, international organizations, banks and financing initiatives.

In addition to the CIF, Puig mentioned in the Free Dialogue the adaptation project of the European Investment Bank (EIB) for resilience to climate change in island states, including the Dominican Republic.

“We are already working with the EIB what we discussed there,” said Puig. The country also participated in a meeting with Dominican businessmen, sponsored by the Bank of America and where the Rockefeller Foundation participated.

The idea, explained the official, is to create a fund of at least 500 million dollars for climate investment in the Caribbean countries, and that the fundamental responsibility resides in the Dominican Republic.

He explained that the country can also seek investments through the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) when it is part of it.

The country will also receive support for adaptation to climate change from the International Solar Alliance and the International Organization of La Francophonie.

“We discussed with the CAF (Development Bank of Latin America) so that the funds can be used for climate investments. We are talking about the Dominican business community having access to financing under soft conditions, ”said Puig.

New commitments

The executive vice president of the National Council for Climate Change explained that the country improved its nationally determined contributions (NDC), in which new commitments were made.

One of these is a 27% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the base year 2010 to 2030. The update of the document was done with the support of the NCD Partnership.

Puig affirmed that the Dominican Republic has been “highly valued” for its contributions determined at the national level, which is why the action plan is now being worked on. It is a program for the NDC Partnership to support the economic areas of the Dominican Government.

“So that the climatic elements in the economy can be better measured and we can work in effective terms towards a green recovery. In other words, towards an economy that is truly sustainable, that is based on respect for nature, “he said.

Puig explained that the Dominican Republic attended COP26 to present its points of view in the different negotiating groups and considered that the 28 people who made up the country’s delegation were not enough because they could not participate in all of them.

“It was an integrated delegation,” said Puig, as he affirmed that in past climate summits each participating institution had a different agenda.

COP26 did not meet expectations

Max Puig did not express himself in a pessimistic way after the culmination of COP26, although he did acknowledge that the summit did not meet expectations: more and better results were expected, so this has generated some “unease” in the world. Puig indicated that proposals were expected for the world and that the Dominican Republic, in particular, as well. The official affirmed that it was not just another and useless summit, but that progress was made and conflicts and contradictions were manifested that, in Puig’s opinion, “will allow” humanity to advance. “I do not assume a pessimistic position regarding what happened at the COP, nor is it defeatist. I believe that what is at stake for humanity is immense, it is a great challenge that it faces today, ”he said. He highlighted the mention for the first time of coal as responsible for global warming and climate change.

“I do not assume a pessimistic position regarding what happened at the COP, nor is it defeatist. I believe that what is at stake for humanity is immense, it is a great challenge that we have today ”.

Max Puig, vice president Climate Change Council

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