Earth Today | German-Caribbean ‘climate talks’ feature just transition

Earth Today | German-Caribbean ‘climate talks’ feature just transition

GIVEN THE growing concerns over climate change impacts among regional governments, the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago on Monday (May 13) launched the ‘German-Caribbean Climate Talks’.

The talks, held in Port of Spain, focused on a just transition in the Caribbean, and was facilitated by Climate Analytics Caribbean.

Just transition is concerned with ensuring that the interests of those most vulnerable to climate change impacts are given priority in the global effort to get to net zero emissions. Net zero emissions is about balancing the amount of greenhouse gas emissions put into the atmosphere with the amount that is taken out.

Meanwhile, Pennelope Beckles, minister of planning and development in Trinidad and Tobago, was represented by the ministry’s head of Multilateral Environmental Agreements and lead climate change negotiator, Kishan Kumarsingh at Monday’s event.

Kumarsingh shared that the government of Trinidad and Tobago has developed a Just Transition policy to allow a smooth and inclusive shift to low-carbon development while diversifying and generating opportunities for the workforce. The policy has been submitted to Cabinet for approval.

“Trinidad and Tobago faces the dual challenge of transitioning towards low-carbon development, including through an energy transition, while safeguarding the livelihoods of those reliant on traditional industries, particularly in a nation where the energy sector has long been a cornerstone of the economy,” Kumarsingh said.

“Principled approaches related to retooling, reskilling, reschooling, upskilling, and skill transfer redeployment are undertaken in this policy,” he added.

According to Kumarsingh, already in Trinidad and Tobago there are signs of an emerging new economy with initiatives such as the construction of a 112-megawatt solar utility plant under way, which can account for approximately eight to 10 per cent of electricity.

“The government has committed to growth of renewable energy accounting for 30 per cent of our electricity. Trinidad and Tobago has developed a green hydrogen roadmap, which also provides for offshore wind generation and will increase renewable energy capacity. Tax exemptions for electric vehicles,” Kumarsingh added.

German ambassador, Dr Christophe Eick, also the special envoy for climate issues in the Caribbean, noted that the Caribbean is bearing the brunt of climate change.

“Germany is convinced that transition to a greener economy is both necessary and irreversible,” he said.

“This is why we are investing in this transition not only at home but also in many regions in the world including in the Caribbean. One of the priority areas of our regional technical cooperation in the Caribbean, carried out by GIZ experts, is to assist smaller island economies in transforming their energy and transport sectors,” he added in the release.

Also presenting at the event were Diane Quarless, director, Subregional Headquarters for the Caribbean, UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, and Rueanna Haynes, director of Climate Analytics Caribbean.

“In international climate change negotiations, Just Transition has experienced a major evolution,” said Haynes.

“We’re not dealing with an international discussion that seeks to dictate the pathways that countries take in order to have this just and equitable transition. It acknowledges that each country will take a different approach in line with its sustainable development priorities. We also note that these pathways should include social protection so as to mitigate potential negative impacts associated with the transition. These are very important principles that have been agreed in the context of the Just Transition discussion at the international level.”

Climate Analytics was formed in 2008 to help achieve a climate-safe, sustainable future for all. Based in Trinidad, it works to augment the scientifically informed, knowledge-based resources that small island developing states and least developed countries in the region require to effectively counter the effects of climate change.

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