SAN JUAN – Representatives of the federal government, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands signed on Tuesday a new Memorandum of Understanding on efforts to fight climate change.
The accord was announced at the second Conference on Climate Change in the Caribbean.
“Through this agreement we have some clear goals: one is to reduce the risk of disaster and to build resilience on the islands by addressing really important issues like sea level rise and flooding,” the Environmental Protection Agency’s Judith Enck said during the opening ceremony of the conference in San Juan.
Enck, the EPA administrator for Region 2, signed the agreement with the Federal Relations Coordinator of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Shawn-Michael Malone, and Puerto Rico’s secretary of Natural and Environmental Resources, Carmen Guerrero.
Enck said the MoU will enable the sharing of research and data as well as encourage public and private sectors to reduce carbon emissions and increase resilience against climate change.
Guerrero noted the environmental challenges Puerto Rico has faced in recent years, including floods in 2013, the 2014-2015 drought and the massive accumulation of seaweed on the island’s beaches.
First held in 2011 in San Juan, the two-day conference has the support of EPA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Interior and other U.S. federal institutions.