PM Rowley: T&T feeling effects of climate change

As an economy largely based on oil and gas and petrochemicals, Trinidad and Tobago is transitioning, over reasonable and manageable time, to net zero and has set very ambitious targets aimed at diversifying, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said in his statement at the COP26 World Leaders Summit in Edinburgh, Scotland, earlier today.

He said this country, a small island developing state, is already experiencing the effects of climate change.

“Loss and damage are already clear in the aggressive erosion of our coastline and the bleaching of our coral reefs. Tackling loss and damage must remain a critical and core issue of any global climate action framework,” he said.

“We are increasingly concerned about our ability to address this issue given the well-known difficulty in accessing financing for such projects. We need funds like the Green Climate Fund to establish specific streams for loss and damage finance to ensure that this is prioritized in the same way as mitigation and adaptation. Further, there must be an equitable balance between public finance for mitigation and adaptation.”

Dr Rowley said the announcement from the United States that it would double its climate finance support was particularly inspiring.

“This is the type of bold action all donor countries need to consider in the weeks ahead. The mobilization of private finance will also be critical for securing the urgently needed investment, particularly for the transformation of our energy sectors,” he said.

The Prime Minister also detailed T&T’s plans to reduce emissions and build climate resilience. These include:

° Establishing the largest utility-scale solar renewable energy project in the Caribbean with a capacity of 112 megawatts, accounting for 10 per cent of this country’s power needs. This will be increased to 30 per cent by 2030.

° Development of an e-mobility policy and implementation of measures to phase-in electric vehicles.

° Development of a Just Transition of the Workforce Policy aimed at reskilling, retooling and developing new capacity for a low-carbon economy.

° Introduction of neasures to facilitate investment in green hydrogen to provide green feedstock to the vibrant petrochemical industry.There are plans to explore the use of industry-generated CO₂in possible carbon sequestration projects.

Dr Rowley added: “Trinidad and Tobago is committed to working with all countries in the multilateral framework to ensure a safe and secure world for those yet to be born. It is my sincere hope that we will all be able to look back at COP 26, and the commitments and progress made here in Glasgow, as key steps towards a healthier salvageable planet Earth.”

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