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T&T and the US to establish the region’s first renewable energy research centre in the Caribbean

Samuel Browne, left, from the Office of Policy and International Affairs/United States Department of Energy, has the ear of Energy Minister Conrad Enill, at yesterday’s opening ceremony of the Caribbean Preparatory Meeting. PHOTO: SHIRLEY BAHADUR

The Government made a significant move towards establishing a regional centre for renewable energy research in T&T when it hosted energy policymakers from the United States and other Caribbean territories at the Hilton Trinidad yesterday. Energy Minister Conrad Enill said the meeting was important because it acknowledged the new reality that renewable energy will play an enhanced role in the region’s thrust towards sustainable development. He said the partnership with the US Department of Energy “will see the consummation of a partnership between T&T and the US to establish the region’s first renewable energy research centre that would conduct varied work in this field for the benefit of all countries in the region.” “Climate change has been an ongoing focal point of discussion since last April during the Fifth Summit of the Americas, when (US) President (Barack) Obama and leaders across the hemisphere launched the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas. “Talks on climate change continued at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (Chogm) and at the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit.”

Uncontrolled emission
Enill said countries in this part of the world are extremely vulnerable to the negative outcomes of continued uncontrolled emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. “Issues such as sea level rise, the increase in the frequency and the destructiveness of hurricanes and marine life reduction, can and will cause massive problems for our developing economies.” Enill said that statistically T&T and the entire Caribbean basin are negligible contributors to global carbon emissions. He criticised researchers who focused on per capita emissions as a key policy tool. He said placing emphasis on per capita emission for policy purposes was flawed because “the problem we are facing is caused by an agglomeration of emissions in the atmosphere, and the amount emitted by a single person in a particular country is not as important or relevant as the total sum.

“The usefulness of saying a country is the number one per capita emitter in a situation where that country’s emissions represent a statically insignificant portion of the world’s total, is lost to me. “It does not mean that such countries should abdicate their portion of collective responsibility, but… this is a global issue and a concerted community effort is required to address it.”

Renewable energy initiatives
Enill said T&T has taken the mantle to be at the forefront of renewable energy initiatives in the region, and the US Department of Energy will be providing technical assistance and support for the research centre. “The world is facing global climatic uncertainty. Nations are faced with rising sea levels, and untimely weather patterns and renewable energy are assuming a more important role… these kinds of programmes will cease to become an option, but a necessity.” He said commitments are needed, and substantive action is required, for the development of clean energy, and to slow down climate change.

At the time of this meeting the ministry was reviewing the Green Paper on renewable energy and climate change which was supposed to be out for public consultation last week.

Category/ies:Trinidad and Tobago News.
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