Statement delivered on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
the Honourable Penelope Beckles, Minister of Planning and Development
High Level Segment COP 27
Sharm El-Sheik, Egypt
Tuesday 15th November, 2022
I am pleased to present this statement on behalf of Trinidad and Tobago at this critical COP. At the outset let me say that for Trinidad and Tobago COP 27 is vitally important for three key reasons:
- Firstly, we absolutely must make progress in shifting the world onto a 1.5C warming trajectory. Globally we are already experiencing dangerous climate impacts with the current level of warming at 1.1C. In Trinidad and Tobago unprecedented rain over the past few months has caused human suffering and damage to infrastructure and property.
- Secondly, this must be an implementation COP. Even while we enhance our ambition it is important that we shift into transformational implementation. We must move beyond pledges to action. Trinidad and Tobago is undertaking widespread policy reform to support implementation of the Paris Agreement. Step by step we are creating the architecture that will guide us toward a just and equitable transition to a low carbon development pathway. At this same time, we are ramping up support for adaptation to protect vulnerable people and ecosystems on the frontlines.
- Thirdly, this COP must send a clear signal to people everywhere, especially the youth whose futures are at stake, that as an international community we are committed to the course we set out on in Paris. This is not a time for lowering expectations or for lowest common denominator agreements. COP 27 must deliver on the just demand from vulnerable countries for financing arrangements on loss and damage.
Trinidad and Tobago remains committed to making progress on the climate change agenda. Indeed, as requested by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Honourable Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Rowley, committed to a further enhancement of renewable energy capacity to 30 percent by 2030 as he addressed the Leaders’ Summit at COP 26 in Glasgow last year.
I am pleased to say that this will form the basis of our revised NDC and the national approval process is expected to be completed shortly. This would allow for the submission of Trinidad and Tobago’s revised NDC before the end of this year. Trinidad and Tobago is on the verge of tripling its renewable energy capacity by 2030 following the installation of 112 megawatts of utility scale solar power – the largest in the Caribbean.
As a small island developing state with an oil, gas and petrochemical based economy, the challenge to transition to low carbon development will be significant. However, Trinidad and Tobago understands that the transition is an imperative more than a choice and we are determined to meet that challenge head on. We are creating the legislative, policy, administrative and enabling environment to incentivize private sector investment in low carbon technology. I am pleased to highlight that we are progressing on the establishment of a green hydrogen facility fully financed by the private sector.
Moreover, at the national level, we have, developed inter alia:
- A National Climate Change Policy to guide climate action, which is now being updated to include the provisions of the Paris Agreement and the decisions taken regarding implementation of those provisions, as the national climate agenda is guided by international climate policy;
- A Carbon Reduction Strategy from which the Nationally Determined Contribution under the Paris Agreement was derived and a long-term strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 2050;
- Detailed inventories of greenhouse gas emissions and identified intervention measures to reduce these emissions;
- A functional measurement, reporting and verification system for greenhouse gas emissions, being managed by the environmental Management Authority. I hope to take a note to Cabinet soon to formalize this system into the legislative framework to make greenhouse gas reporting and mitigation actions mandatory, and I expect to get the relevant technical drafting instructions from the EMA soon to set this in motion;
- A Just Transition of the Workforce Policy to address issues not only related to retooling, re-schooling and reskilling the workforce in preparation for the inevitable energy transition, but to also address the displacement of livelihoods affected by the impacts of climate change;
- A National Adaptation Plan which details strategies and actions in relevant vulnerable sectors to increase resiliency and integrate climate change in the national development process;
- A draft e-mobility policy to catalyse the penetration of electric vehicles in the transportation mix. The finalization of the policy is currently underway after conducting some analyses to determine technical barriers and ways to overcome them;
Importantly, we have also conducted gender studies in order to assess how these issues are to be considered and integrated into climate action plans, and we have carried out studies on vulnerability to climate change including a capacity assessment for climate risks.
Finally, plans are also well underway to developing a net zero plan for the second half of this century.
A lot has been done but we admit that we need to go further. We cannot do this alone. We count on the support of the international community to help us to further our national implementation efforts to tackle the climate crisis. In particular, we would welcome proposals for an international platform to assist countries in their just transition planning. We think that such a platform would be a useful forum for sharing experiences and lessons learned on these critical activities.