Trinidad and Tobago is committed to doing its part to reduce global warming by producing greener, cleaner energy and commodities, working towards decarbonisation, and becoming more energy efficient whilst balancing the needs of our oil and gas industry economy, Energy Minister Stuart Young has said.

Young made the statement as he contributed to the Pre-COP26 Public Seminar hosted yesterday as a collaboration between the United Nation’s Resident Coordination Office and the British High Commission of T&T.

The 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) will be convened on Sunday with a view to accelerating action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The UN in its Climate Change September 2021 Report indicated that while there is a clear trend that greenhouse gas emissions are being reduced over time, nations must urgently redouble their climate change efforts if they are to prevent global temperature increases beyond the Paris Agreement’s goal of well below 2C – ideally 1.5C – by the end of the century.

“As is the case for countries worldwide the COVID-19 pandemic created public health and economic difficulties in T&T. Most sectors of the economy have faced exceptional difficulty. As a consequence, substantial resources were directed to these sectors and to support those negatively affected. Notwithstanding these unforeseen difficulties we are committed to the execution of our climate change plans as outlined in our intended nationally determined contribution (iNDC),” Young stated.

Young said in 2009 developed countries pledged to provide USD 100 billion every year to 2020 in climate finance to support developing countries.

“At the Paris Climate Change Conference countries agreed to set a new collective quantified goal after 2025 from a ‘floor’ of USD 100 billion per year, to meet the needs and priorities of developing countries. The UN has reported that the promise to deliver up to USD 100 billion has not been met and developing countries have been sourcing loans at high cost to facilitate their energy transition,” he said.

Young insisted developed countries must make good on their promise to mobilise at least USD 100bn in climate finance annually to support developing countries in their action on climate change, and international financial institutions must play their part in making available on concessionary terms the private and public sector finance required to secure a global green economy.

T&T’s aim is to achieve a reduction in overall emissions from the three sectors by 15 per cent by 2030, which in absolute terms is an equivalent of 103 million tonnes of CO2.

“The estimated cost of meeting this objective is USD 2 billion, which is expected to be met partly through domestic funding and conditional on international financing including through the Green Climate Fund. T&T also committed to unconditionally reduce its public transportation emissions by 30 per cent or 1.7 million tonnes of CO2 compared to 2013 levels by December 31, 2030,” he said.

Young also mentioned incoming green projects which are currently being undertaken to meet T&T’s Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (iNDCs) including the establishment of a solar utility and promoting a transition to Electric Vehicles as a low carbon alternative to liquid transportation fuels as shown in the recent National Budget.

“Additionally, robust policy measures for forest, land use and natural resources management are underway that will result in greater mitigation of greenhouse gases but which are not included as part of the iNDC,” Young said.

In the transition to a green economy, Young urged people to recognise that there is no one-size-fits-all model for designing an effective green economy.

“As a petroleum-based economy our pathway may be different than other countries but our goal is the same and we will be taking the necessary action to achieve this objective in a timely fashion,” he said.