Thursday, February 22, 2018

Govt wants to cut carbon emissions


REPRESENTING HER HUSBAND: Debbie Ramnath receives an award from Michael Rooplal EMA deputy chairman, on behalf of her deceased husband Kelvin Ramnath at the EMA Green Leaf awards last Thursday at Hyatt Regency Hotel. — Photo: ISHMAEL SALANDY

Mark Fraser

WORK on the Carbon Reduction Strategy initiative will be completed by September 2015, Minister of State in the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources Ramona Ramdial has said.

Ramdial delivered the feature address at the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) Green Leaf Awards Ceremony at Hyatt Regency hotel, Wrightson Road, Port of Spain on Thursday.

It was also a “double whammy” celebration of World Environment Day (June 5) which is observed in 100 countries and an opportunity to recognise the EMA staff who have contributed between ten and 15 years of dedicated service.

Another highlight was a posthumous award for late politician Kelvin Ramnath for his contribution towards environmental stewardship. His wife Debbie Ramnath accepted the award on his behalf.

Among those present were Vidya Ramkhelawan, permanent secretary, Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources; Richard Blewitt, United Nations resident coordinator for Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, Aruba, Curacao and St Maarten.

Also present were Dr Allan Bachan, chairman of the Environmental Management Authority (EMA), and Gayatri Badri-Maharaj, acting general manager of the EMA.

Ramdial said: “We have begun work on the development of the Carbon Reduction Strategy. This project is currently ongoing and seeks to develop the feasible mitigation options for each of the three main emitting sectors like power generation, industry and transport.”

Estimated time of completion is September 2015.

Ramdial added: “For these three sectors, the recently completed April 2013 Second National Communication to the United Nation Climate Change Convention has indicated a sizeable increase in emissions between 1990 to 2005. If we were to focus on the transport sector, emissions have doubled from 1990 to 2005, which was already linked to the number of vehicles on the road, which increased by almost 100 per cent over the same period.”

Ramdial said the Ministry was taking proactive steps to address the increase in emissions from transport by the procurement of clean public transport technology which can be replicated in the future.

She said: “It is being done in conjunction with the Ministry of Transport which is currently undertaking an initiative to modernise its fleet to utilise Compressed Natural Gas (CNG). In addition, as part of ensuring our major road artery is green, the Ministry, through the EMA, will be converting all traffic and green lights on the Priority Bus Route (PBR) to solar technology.”

She added: “Our Ministry is always exploring new, innovative programmes to further lower our Carbon Foot Print and become more environmentally conscious. We are cognisant through our local efforts we will make a difference. We have to promote and pursue green business programmes.”

On the issue of Climate Change, Bachan said the region stands to lose vital elements of economies and livelihoods. Not to mention, it was “fast running out of time.”

Badri-Maharaj said the EMA was improving its legislation and will no longer be taking a soft approach to environmental concerns.