Moonilal: T&T serious about low-carbon policy
This week we continue our environmental series Cleaning Up The Mess with an ongoing guest column by Minister of Housing and the Environment, Dr ROODAL MOONILAL. Last week, Dr Moonilal revealed the Government’s position on Climate Change which continues this week.
Trinidad and Tobago as a responsible member of the international community is committed to pursuing a low-carbon development path consistent with the principles of sustainable development through the development and delivery of strategies and actions for maximising renewable energy resources, clean energy and clean production technology as well as adapting to the adverse impacts of climate change through integration within all aspects of national development in its infrastructural, human and socio-economic systems, at an acceptable balance of costs and benefits.
The policy would aim to provide policy guidance for the development of an appropriate administrative and legislative framework, in harmony with other sectoral policies, for the pursuance of a low-carbon development path for Trinidad and Tobago through suitable and relevant strategies and actions to address climate change.
The policy will be guided by the following objectives:
• Reducing or avoiding greenhouse gas emissions from all emitting sectors.
• Enhancing carbon sinks.
• Conserving and building resilience of human and natural systems to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change.
• The application of cleaner technologies.
• Protection of the natural environment and human health.
• Enhanced agricultural production and food security.
The climate change policy shall be guided by the following principles:
• Sustainability: Strategies and actions that are environmentally sustainable and compatible with low-carbon economic growth and social development will be pursued.
• Multi-partite: Meeting the challenge cannot be the sole role of the government. All relevant stakeholders including academia, research institutions, the public and private sectors, non-governmental organisations, community based organisations, business and industry organisations and the citizenry at large will be consulted in developing strategies and approaches to addressing climate change.
• Precautionary: The government will not await scientific certainty in order to act. The government shall develop, through a process of thorough consultation, actions that will redound to the benefit of the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago, for current and future generations consistent with the principles of sustainable development.
• Multisectoral: Strategies and actions shall take into account different socio-economic contexts, be comprehensive, cover all relevant sources, sinks and reservoirs of greenhouse gases and adaptation, and comprise all economic sectors.
• Evidence-based: The policy shall be revised in the light of new scientific findings.
Policy directives and strategies for action
The government shall implement this policy through the development of a strategy and action plan that will address revising relevant policies where applicable, and legislation.
The government will strive to develop the country via a low greenhouse gas emission economic development pathway across all sectors of the economy. Accordingly, the government will seek through appropriate actions to, inter alia:
• Increase the use of renewable energy;
• Increase energy efficiency in commercial and residential buildings;
• Increase the use of alternative fuels and fuel switching in the transportation sector;
• Enhance natural carbon sinks through conserving forests and protecting natural systems that contribute to carbon sequestration;
• Maximise the use of the carbon market;
• Enhance research and development on renewable energy and clean technology.
Adaptation measures would be integrated into the national development agenda by, inter alia:
• strengthening existing institutional arrangements for systematic observations, research and climate change modeling
• assessing sectoral vulnerability to climate change,
• technological application
• “climate proofing” new developments and retrofitting existing infrastructure
• enhancing the resilience of socio-economic and biophysical systems
• promoting community-based adaptation through expanded use of the Green Fund for capacity building and enhancing resilience.
Public education and awareness
Education and awareness are critical to the success of the implementation of this policy. Accordingly, the Government shall:
• integrate educational programmes on climate change impacts into school curricula.
• develop and implement within one (1) year of the adoption of this policy a communication strategy;
• ensure that national and local stakeholders have equitable access to and benefits from information and knowledge on climate change impact.
Dr ROODAL MOONILAL