Trinidad and Tobago is the second highest per capita producer of greenhouse emissions after Qatar, and the second highest producer per unit of GDP after Uzbekistan, University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) statistics show.
In a presentation Wednesday at the final day of the Energy Conference at the Hyatt Regency hotel, Port of Spain, UTT Process Engineering lecturer Dr Donnie Boodlal said the country was in a unique position, where the pattern of greenhouse gas emissions was significantly different from other countries.
The data, from a 2010 study by the University, said Trinidad and Tobago produces 53 million tonnes of greenhouse emissions annually, with 80 per cent coming from the petrochemical and power generation.
The transport sector only contributed six per cent.
"Because of the number of cars and level of traffic, one would think this would be higher, but it is relatively insignificant because Trinidad and Tobago is highly industrial," he said.
He noted that trying to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from these smaller sectors, while still important, will not have as big an impact as targeting the large sectors.
He noted that compared to other parts of the world, even within the region, Trinidad and Tobago has poor energy efficiency while others were trying to control the trend.
"In a global context (for reducing emissions) we are insignificant, but if we keep adopting that approach, we will continue to go up," he said, adding the country needs new, innovative ways to mitigate emissions while stimulating high economic growth.
He said the country needed a potential reduction of close to 40 per cent of these 2012 levels as soon as possible; and of this, 85 per cent could contribute to economic growth.
Two of the most promising greenhouse gas reducing mechanisms that could be adopted in Trinidad were: switching to compressed natural gas (CNG) in the transportation sector, and using carbon dioxide enhanced oil recovery (CO2 EOR) processes in the petrochemical sector, Boodlal said.