Minister of Energy and Energy Industries and Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister, Stuart Young. Image courtesy Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries

Minister of Energy and Energy Resources, Stuart Young has said that Trinidad and Tobago will aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 15 per cent by the year 2030.

He made the announcement during a pre-COP26 virtual seminar yesterday on transitioning to a green economy.

Young made the commitment while acknowledging that Trinidad and Tobago is not a major emitter of greenhouse gas emissions “volume-wise”, despite some suggestions otherwise.

According to the Minister, “The estimated cost of meeting this objective is US$2 billion, which is expected to be met partly through domestic funding and conditional on international financing including through the Green Climate Fund.”

He also called for developed countries to ensure they collectively deliver on the US$100 billion goal and provide access to finance climate change mitigation to support communities around the world.

Minister Young referenced OXFAM’s report that some developing countries have gone into increased debt to address climate issues brought on primarily by developed countries who are the largest emitters of greenhouse gases.

He said, “The International Energy Agency (IEA) in its 2021 World Energy Outlook also corroborated the fact that countries are not starting the climate journey from the same place. In its report, the IEA found that many developing economies are facing a continued public health crisis and determined that the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on their economies will be felt for years to come.”

COP stands for Conference of the Parties and will be attended by countries that have signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, a treaty agreed in 1994. This year’s meeting will be the 26th meeting hence it’s being referred to as, ‘COP26’.

The Pre-COP26 Public Seminar was hosted virtually yesterday as a collaboration between the United Nation’s Resident Coordination Office and the British High Commission of Trinidad and Tobago to discuss Trinidad and Tobago’s movement towards a green economy in preparation for COP26 which is only five days away.

Delivering remarks, British High Commissioner to Trinidad and Tobago, Harriet Cross, issued a call to young people to “not wait to be invited and just speak up” and “demand action from your politicians so that they make a change too”.

The British High Commissioner said they have recognised that the access to finance for small island developing states is “absolutely critical” and a call to action was launched last week on access to finance. She also noted that adaptation is also key, “because even if we reach net zero by tomorrow, which we won’t, climate change will continue to have an impact on our environment”.

Cross said she has noticed T&T’s transition to a greener economy, especially over the last few months.

According to her, the United Kingdom has been leading by example through policies and doubled its finances for the cause.

“We are not giving support to fossil fuel companies outside of the UK anymore so here in T&T, you will find that some fossil fuel companies will come to the British High Commission and say, ‘we want to talk to you about supporting us’ and we say, ‘we can’t talk to you anymore’, she indicated.

“We will talk to BP of course but about their green initiatives,” Cross added.

Meanwhile, according to Claire Fitzpatrick, Regional President of BP Trinidad and Tobago, “When I think about some of the green investments in Trinidad, one of the challenges that they face is competitiveness against traditional industries policies such as reducing existing subsidies that could actually help level the playing field to enable and encourage those green investments”.