We feel that the Government is missing the opportunity to show leadership in policies on climate change. This is going to have a significant detrimental effect on the island with increasing sea levels and increasing intensity of natural events such as hurricanes, but we still don't have even any official acknowledgement that it exists. While we acknowledge that Bermuda does not make a significant contribution to worldwide greenhouse gases we will feel the effects disproportionately, therefore we should be raising awareness, discussing ways to mitigate the effects and doing everything we can to reduce our own contribution.

There is a glaring hole in the throne speech and the budget in the area of energy conservation. This is a huge opportunity for reducing costs for the Government, for schools and for the private sector. It also offers job creation opportunities in the areas of energy audits and conservation technology, and increases our energy security by reducing our dependence on fossil fuel. The Government has shown no leadership in this area despite the $20.7 million they expect to spend on energy in 2013/14.  In addition, despite consultations on new planning regulations, no progress has been made on requiring energy conservation for new and renovated buildings. We applaud the formation of the Bermuda Energy Working Group, but the group only covers a small part of energy policy and there is a great deal the Government can and should do on their own.

We are, of course, disappointed not to see any mention of measures to reduce the use of single-use bags. This is an area which once again has economic as well as environmental benefits, and where we significantly lag most of the rest of the world.

This Throne Speech does not indicate a long-term path for how Bermuda will thrive and pass on a healthy environment to our children and grandchildren. It is time we included the next 10 years, or even the next 50 years in our planning, not just the next election cycle.

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