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Trinidad and Tobago

TT sets target for greenhouse gas reduction

File photo: Minister in the Finance Ministry Allyson West speaks during a sitting of the Senate.
File photo: Minister in the Finance Ministry Allyson West speaks during a sitting of the Senate.

This country has demonstrated regional leadership by being the first English-speaking Caribbean country, and second small island state, to have a support programme for meeting locally set targets for greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions as prescribed by the Paris environmental agreement. This was revealed on Tuesday by Allyson West, acting minister in the Ministry of Planning and Development.

Speaking at the launch of the National Climate Mitigation Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) system at the Hyatt Regency, Port of Spain, West said the system stipulated a reduction in cumulative emissions from three sectors – industry, transportation and power generation – by 15 per cent.

West said the Paris Agreement, adopted by the UN in 2015 and signed and ratified by TT in 2018, includes stipulations that countries contribute to global reductions in anthropogenic (man-made) greenhouse gases, which had been scientifically identified as a cause of human-induced global climate change.

“Achieving this objective is important to the world, but more particularly and critically for small island developing states. In an effort to achieve this objective, countries including TT have submitted to the UN, their targets for reducing greenhouse gases emissions under the Paris Agreement.”

Those targets, as determined by each country, are called nationally determined contributions (NDCs) under the agreement.

West said the Paris Agreement also put in place a “transparency framework” which would be the main system for reporting and review for participating regions in order to track global progress to achieving the agreement's objectives as well as the progress made towards achieving their NDCs.

She said the ministry had held training exercises for stakeholders on developing greenhouse gas inventories using standard methodologies of the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change, with the latest being done by the secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change on quality assurance and quality control exercise.

Environmental Management Authority (EMA) managing director Hayden Romano said the MRV system aimed to track the progress of efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Romano said the EMA would play a critical and salient role, as host of the MRV and knowledge management system (KMS) for TT.

“The nation is particularly unique as, due to our oil and gas industry, we have earned the distinction of producing more GHG emissions per capita than any of our Caribbean neighbours. However, in real terms, this accounts for less than 0.1 per cent of total greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.

“Globally, climate change mitigation and adaptation rests at the core of the post-2015 development agenda, prominently represented by its own sustainable development goals (SDGs), climate action which places laser focus on the dramatic effects of climate change and the impact of greenhouse gas emissions.”

Romano said the establishment of the MRV system was a landmark achievement for this country and the system aimed to track the progress of TT’s effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

He said a critical component of the MRV system was the KMS, which is the central repository for climate change data and information collection.

“This system is being managed and monitored by the EMA, due to our direct access to, and long-standing familiarity with, many of the stakeholders in our top GHG-emitting sectors through the Air Pollution Rules and Certificate of Environmental Clearance Rules.”

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