In an effort to meet the requirements of the United Nations Paris agreement on climate change, this country is piloting a Knowledge Management System (KMS) to monitor its greenhouse gas emissions.
At the launch of the KMS at the Hyatt Regency on Tuesday, Minister in the Ministry of Finance Allyson West told Guardian Media that T&T is leading the way in the Caribbean with the introduction of the KMS, a part of T&T’s National Climate Mitigation, Monitoring, Report and Verification (MRV) system.
“We are leading the way in the Caribbean in this exercise, we are introducing a system which is being launched today to allow for better monitoring and reporting on green gas emissions which is something we have to report on and that will allow us to better control those emissions,” she said.
The Paris Agreement, adopted by the UN in 2015 and signed by a number of member states since then, stipulates that countries must contribute to the global reduction of anthropogenic (man-made) greenhouse gases that cause global warming.
The Paris Agreement seeks to restrict global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels with aspirations to further restrict it to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
West said T&T signed on to the agreement in 2018.
“Achieving this objective is important to the world, but more particularly and critically so for small island developing states, and therefore Trinidad and Tobago, as the adverse impacts of climate change can potentially pose an existential threat to us in the long term.
“In an effort to achieve this objective, countries including T&T, have submitted to the UN, their targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions under the Paris Agreement.”
She said the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) will be responsible for hosting and managing the KMS and outlined the benefits to the country of reducing CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions.
“Tracking national emissions and identifying options and ways for reducing them will also provide opportunities for green growth, deploying advanced technologies, creating jobs, maximising production efficiency, and ultimately create a society that is efficient, clean and productive while realising positive economic growth.
“This is the direction of the world, and T&T is determined to capitalise on, and maximise these opportunities. The proper functioning of the MRV/KMS system, therefore, forms a critical part of the national machinery towards this end.”
West said the KMS was necessary because before its introduction companies were responsible for reporting their own emissions and often times, data was incomplete or missing.
“We have started monitoring but this is going to help us do it more efficiently—we have been asking various companies to provide information on their emissions, there were various gaps in that information so this will allow us to do it more efficiently.”
Asked if there are any plans to introduce legislation and/or sanctions on companies that produce too much CO2, West said: “That is to depend on the law that is to come, so we are having a voluntary monitoring and engagement process now with the pilot and after we assess how that goes, we will determine what legislation that we need to introduce.”
She was unable to say, however, when such legislation would be introduced.