You cannot manage what you do not measure. This is especially true in the case of mitigation and reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. We want to ensure that our youth have a healthy earth to grow up in.

So we have a way to make sure we know what kinds of GHGs are being emitted, how much emissions and, as time passes, we have a way to know for sure we’ve reduced our emissions production. There is a way to do this – The National Climate Mitigation Monitoring, Reporting and Verification System (MRV). The MRV system was launched in 2019 and is the first of its kind in the region. It helps to make laws pertaining to environmental policy. It also tells you who does what, and a Knowledge Management System will record all the sources of GHG emissions, how we’re going to deal with it and what we’ve actually done about it. The Knowledge Management System or (KMS) is the central database of the MRV. The Ministry of Planning and Development notes that as the backbone of the MRV System, the KMS facilitates the collection, analysis and transparent reporting of quality-checked data on GHG emissions, efforts to mitigate them and the resources devoted to these efforts.

The KMS is vital to the country’s efforts to meet its obligations under the Paris Agreement. Using the MRV system will help to track progress in achieving the goals of our Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC).

The Environmental Management Authority (EMA) is responsible for the operations of the KMS and as such, is responsible for:

Establishing emission reporting requirements and quality control procedures

Extracting data from entities involved in mitigation efforts for entry into the system

Ensuring that the data fed into the KMS is accurate and reliable under the standards set by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2006 guidelines for quality assurance and control

Collating emissions data and information for analysis and verification

Verifying claims that mitigation efforts have achieved their targets and submitting verified results of carbon reduction measures into the reporting processes at the national and international levels.

Coordinating the monitoring, reporting and verification of all international and domestic financial support for national mitigation actions. (Source: Planning.gov.tt)

The KMS includes a mitigation component, aimed at informing policies and informing stakeholders of their progress, and has been in operation since its launch in 2019.

If you are interested in learning more about our country’s climate mitigation efforts and our monitoring capacities, it is rather easy. Firstly, go to the Knowledge Management System page on the EMA’s website and you will see each of the areas pertaining to the MRV effort. These include:

  1. Data and information, where you input data on emissions, mitigation efforts and support received and verification information.
  2. Methodologies, where you find the rules on how to monitor, report and verify emission and sources.
  3. Procedures or one way for everyone to make their report.

Almost 200 countries in the world made a promise to work together and do what they can to reduce emissions, through the Paris Agreement. It is critical for us to continue to ground out future endeavours with regards to emissions production. Each country has a list of benchmarks to reach or contributions to make to the initiative. Our contribution, or Nationally Determined Contribution is: to report on our GHG emissions and reduce them by 15% by 2030 in comparison to what they would have been if we had done nothing.

With all policies it is merely a framework that we are to work with, a sort of scaffolding upon which we must build our concrete plans. It is admittedly very difficult to follow along with these frameworks, as we are a hydrocarbon producing, high emissions producing society, with economic interests in non-renewable energy, however there is opportunity to transition away from these practices while safeguarding economic growth and we should endeavour to do so. This is why initiatives such as the MRV effort are so important for guideline tracking, but also why civil society organisations, youth activists and consultations, and proper public education and accountability are all pieces of the climate puzzle. With proper monitoring initiatives in place, and public incentivised action and accountability, feasible climate change related emissions targets can be reached.