Durban, South Africa. 8th December – Trinidad and Tobago on Thursday identified one of the main challenges of the UN Climate talks as achieving a commitment for a legally binding agreement in the near future for emission cuts to keep global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Housing and the Environment, Joy Creese told the high-level session of the climate change conference that the Durban package of decisions should include immediate action of reducing emissions and provision of financial resources, agreement on mitigation actions and operationlisation of new institutions agreed at the Cancun, Mexico conference a year ago including the Green Climate Fund which will channel US$100 billion a year in aid to developing nations.
Noting that there is no quick fix to the global problem of climate change, she said the government is aware of the political and economic realities facing the world and the need for practical approaches within the framework without compromising the interests of vulnerable countries including small island developing states.
“I must point out that the countries that contribute the least to endangering the planet are among those that are affected the most,” Creese told the high level session.
Focusing on Trinidad and Tobago, the Permanent Secretary said the country is presented with the increasing challenges of developing sustainably while ensuring economic growth.
“As an oil and gas producer with a still growing industrial sector we find ourselves in a unique position, being also a small island developing state. Mitigation and adaptation are, therefore, of equal concern to us, being particularly vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change,” she asserted.
Government, she said has approved a National Climate Change Policy and is developing strategies and approaches to addressing greenhouse gas emissions reduction.
Stating that Trinidad and Tobago was at the edge of clean fuel technology, Creese said the country uses clean, natural gas and efficient combined cycle generating technology for power generation.
“Notwithstanding, we have put in place relevant policy and strategies that would realise the increased use of renewable energy through the installation of solar street lights and traffic lights on new highway and the replacement of existing ones,” she said.
State-owned vehicles are also being converted to operate on compressed natural gas and government is also exploring the use of electric buses on dedicated routes.
“Trinidad and Tobago is also developing a green government policy which will aim to increase energy efficiency in government buildings and the use of renewable energy in government housing projects,” the Trinidadian official said.
The UN climate change conference ends Friday.