Planning and Development Minister, Camille Robinson-Regis MP, discusses the future of climate action with the World Bank at the Fifth I4C Conference, held virtually on May 26th, 2021. (Image courtesy Ministry of Planning and Development)

Government currently is exploring climate finance mechanisms to facilitate the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Trinidad and Tobago, in light of a recent GHG inventory which revealed this country’s industrial sector as one of the top three significant emitters.

The other culprits identified were the power generation and transportation industries, according to the study.

And Planning and Development Minister, Camille Robinson-Regis MP, says given the findings, exploring carbon pricing mechanisms will both enable this country to achieve emissions reductions, as well as facilitate the net-zero transition, in addition to incentivising the private sector’s participation towards this end. 

The minister made the disclosures today (May 26th, 2021), during her participation at the virtual Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition’s (CPLC) high-level event at the Fifth Innovate4Climate (I4C) annual conference hosted by the World Bank Group. 

The I4C, hosted by the World Bank Group, is one of the leading annual global conferences on climate finance, climate investment and climate markets, combining high-level plenaries, workshops, and a virtual marketplace.

Now, in its 5th year, the three-day event, hosted by the World Bank Group and the Governments of Spain and Germany was entirely virtual. The I4C conference is the World Bank’s flagship climate action event, promoting global dialogue between the public and private sectors showcasing the opportunities and innovations for low carbon, resilient development, and fostering the exchange of knowledge and best practices.

Image courtesy the World Bank.

Minister Robinson-Regis told event participants that Trinidad and Tobago is looking for ways to balance its efforts to accelerate the net zero transition with its ability to meet the country’s socio-economic needs and sustainable development objectives.

“This is particularly relevant as we are currently developing a Just Transition of the Workforce policy to guide potential challenges that may arise in the transition to net zero emissions, which we hope will create the policy framework to truly maximise the potential benefits of carbon pricing,” the minister reported.  

“The design of carbon markets to accommodate different national circumstances to ensure that small countries such as Trinidad and Tobago are not disadvantaged, would therefore be important to ensure that it contributes to net zero for relatively small economies,” she said.

Pointing to the recent GHG inventory conducted for T&T, Minister Robinson-Regis acknowledged that participating in the I4C provided more insight into how Government can ramp up the net zero emissions transition, while facilitating international partnerships in the process.

The Ministry of Planning and Development has been spearheading T&T’s efforts to explore the feasibility of carbon pricing and market mechanisms for the country.

Minister Robinson-Regis indicated to the conference that this country is committed to playing its part towards achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement.  T&T’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) towards global emissions reduction include:

By 2030 – a reduction in overall emissions from the power generation, transportation and industrial sectors by 15 percent from Business as Usual (BAU), which in absolute terms is an equivalent of 103 million tonnes of Carbon Dioxide equivalent (CO2e).

By December 31st, 2030 – unconditional reduction in public transportation emissions by 30 percent, or 1.7 million tonnes of CO2e, compared to 2013 levels.

The minister represented this country in several key discussions at the conference:

●          Leadership actions that should raise the ambition of activities to achieve net-zero emissions by mid-century, in line with the Paris Agreement, and the role of carbon pricing in the transition to a net-zero future, especially in Trinidad and Tobago.

●          Connecting Government, private and civil society leaders, including the Managing Director of the World Bank Group, Mari Pangestu, to share insights and experiences on strategies to achieve net-zero emissions.

●          Opportunities to seek technical cooperation in designing suitable carbon pricing mechanisms that will facilitate the reduction of emissions in Trinidad and Tobago and transitioning to net-zero.