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Our NDC Plan to Reduce Global Temperatures

With increasingly hotter temperatures, working outdoors is becoming more difficult. For many nations around the world, seas continue to rise due to melting ice sheets, consuming beaches and threatening homes. Storms are more frequent and increasingly intense with waves surging inland, causing massive economic losses.

These stark realities are precisely why it’s so important that countries around the world do their bit to push back on conditions that accelerate climate change. The Paris Agreement is the world’s first international agreement that requires all signatory nations to cut greenhouse gas emissions. These emissions are linked to climate change and all its devastating impacts.

Under the Agreement, the ambition to which participating countries are tied is holding global temperature increases to 2 degrees Celsius, preferably 1.5 degree Celsius. The Paris Agreement is hugely ambitious so it needs mechanisms to keep signatory countries on track with their commitments.

One of the key obligations by Parties to the Agreement was setting National Determined Contributions (NDCs). NDCs are targets each signatory state must submit to the UN every five years for reducing their national greenhouse gas emissions, with each successive NDC committing more emissions reductions.

As a signatory to the Agreement, T&T ratified it in 2018. But even before then, the Ministry of Planning and Development’s climate change experts had begun to quantify our output of greenhouse gases and chart a plan to reduce those emissions by 2030.

There’s a lot at stake for small island states like ours in an increasingly warmer world. In T&T, our main emitters of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane come from three sectors: Industry, Power Generation and Transportation. Trinidad and Tobago’s NDC is a commitment to reduce cumulative emissions from those three sectors by 15% by 2030.

Industry, which represents manufacturing and petrochemical sectors, will have to achieve emission reductions through measures such as improved energy conservation and adoption of renewable energy like solar and wind; as well as addressing emissions arising from the industrial processes themselves.

The Power Generation sector’s plan for reduction includes increased renewable energy and more energy-efficient power generation. This involves upgrades to turbines that use both gas and steam to generate electricity, reducing reliance on natural gas by as much as 50%. Also, having consumers pay the true cost of electricity forms part of the overall approach to energy conservation. It’s an important step to getting homeowners to be more mindful to how they use electricity.

In the Transportation sector, reductions in emissions are expected to come from the promotion of alternative fuels such as Compressed Natural Gas (CNG). However CNG is still a transitional fossil fuel, albeit with lower greenhouse emissions. Truly emission-free transportation will come with electric vehicles charged with electricity generated by renewable energy. The target in the public transportation sector is to reduce emissions by 30% by 2030.

Implementing our NDC though, will cost an estimated USD$2Billion for the 15% reduction in emissions from industry, power generation and transport. That goal will therefore include accessing external financing from international funding agencies such as The Green Climate Fund. The 30% reduction in emissions from public transport meanwhile, is expected to be financed by national resources.

Under The Paris Agreement, T&T’s next set of NDC targets is meant to be even more ambitious than the existing goals. This is because the world has acknowledged through the international climate treaty, that limiting global warming to below 1.5 degrees Celsius is absolutely critical.

Meeting our targets is only going to happen by closely following our NDC implementation plan, as well as taking advantage of technological opportunities as they become available. The NDC Implementation Plan lists the actions required of the different sectors, the agencies responsible for coordinating emission reduction projects and also gives an indicative timeframe for each activity.

So, while the principles that buttress the Paris Agreement form the objective, the NDC plan is our way of achieving it. All our futures depend on how well we and the rest of the world bring the ambitions of the climate treaty forged in Paris into reality. Averting a hotter, drier future begins with the actions of today.

For updated information on these and other environmental issues and activities in T&T, you can join the MEA Focal Point network by completing the Google Form found on the Environmental Policy and Planning Division TT Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/eppdtt/?hl=en) and Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/eppdtt) pages.

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