Government to spend US$2b on climate change action

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Stuart Young –

THE Government plans to spend over US$2 billion in the coming years as part of its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas and climate change action.

At the United Nations Pre-Conference of Parties (COP26) seminar on Transition to the Green Economy on Monday, Minister of Energy and Energy Affairs Stuart Young said the initiatives were part of an overall plan of reduce emission from three sectors by 15 per cent or 103 million tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2030.

“The estimated cost of meeting this objective is US$2 billion, which is expected to be met partly through domestic funding and conditional on international financing including through the Green Climate Fund.

“Trinidad and Tobago also committed to unconditionally reduce its public transportation emissions by 30 per cent or 1.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide compared to 2013 levels by December 31, 2030.”

Young also said as part of TT’s intended nationally determined contribution (iNDC), alternative energy sources projects, the transition to CNG were under way and alternative transportation fuels were being looked at.

He added that the ministry was working with its stakeholders, including the University of the West Indies and the University of TT for other resourceful means towards a green economy.

“In the power-generation sector, we have approved the establishment of a solar utility project which will generate 112.2 megawatts of electricity and for which we are hoping that construction will commence in 2022. This approximates to about 10 per cent of current power requirements and the intent is to increase the quantum of power generated from renewables, with wind energy being the likely resource.

“Government represented by state-owned National Energy Corporation in a public-private partnership with Methanex Trinidad Ltd is also exploring the viability of methanol, which is clean burning fuel with fewer particulate matters, as an alternative fuel for transport.”

The removal of all custom duties, motor vehicle tax and value-added tax on the importation of battery-powered electric vehicles and the installation of electric charging stations, Young said were other ways the government was keeping its commitment towards climate change action.

“The Ministry of Planning and Development with support from the United Nations Environment Programme and Denmark Technical University is currently at an advanced stage of development of an e-mobility policy for the country.”

The decarbonisation strategy will also include the application of carbon capture, utilisation and storage technologies with an incentive of a tax credit of 30 per cent of the cost of investment in carbon capture and storage, and enhanced oil recovery up to a maximum $500,000 for companies that make such investments.

“There is also currently a proposal before the Government to use waste heat from power generation as well as the planned solar utility project to produce hydrogen from electrolysis of water in the production of ammonia.”

Despite the efforts made by many countries to achieve their iNCD’s, the covid19 pandemic has in fact, affected progress.

A commitment by developed countries to contribute US $100 billion toward climate change and assistance to developing countries has fallen short.

Young called on developed countries to keep their commitment because it was an important avenue for developed countries to access funding for climate-change mitigation and adaptation support.

“Climate finance is therefore key to supporting developing countries’ increased climate action. Developed countries must ensure they collectively deliver on the USD 100 billion goal and provide access to finance largely in the form of grants, and soft loans for mitigation and adaptation to support communities around the world in their action on climate change.”

The COP26 takes place in Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom, between October 31 and November 12 and brings together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).