Minister of Planning and Development, Camille Robinson-Regis is warning that Trinidad and Tobago can lose up to US$1 billion in biodiversity resources and services, tourism and other economic activity as a result of climate change.
She sounded the alarm in a release to the media after participating in a virtual ministerial round table of the Global Conference on Biological Diversity. There, world leaders agreed that emphasis must be placed on the environment and ecosystems to build back better from covid19.
At the conference, institutions like the World Bank, the Global Environment Facility and the United Nations Development Programme pledged their support to assisting countries like TT in addressing biodiversity loss, and focusing on transformative change.
China President Xi Jinping also announced the launch of a US $232.47 million fund to support biodiversity in developing countries.
Robinson-Regis said government took an active approach to mitigating the effects of climate change on TT’s biodiversity resources.
She said an e-mobility policy is in its final stages of development which will help reduce greenhouse gases, and made a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the main emitting sectors by 15 per cent, by the end of 2030.
She added that significant work was done to establish a robust monitoring reporting and verification system for climate change mitigation.
The Planning Ministry’s Environment Policy and Planning Division also worked with the Food and Agricultural Orginisation to develop a national protected areas systems plan which was approved in 2019 by Cabinet.
The plan identifies areas in TT which enabled the protection of biodiversity, to be consistent with national policies for forest, protected areas and wildlife.
The fifth National Report of TT to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), said watersheds ability to deliver water of good quality (water purification services) is valued at approximately $520 million or US$88 million annually.
The forests in Trinidad’s Northern Range provide soil retention services that are valued as high as US$622 million annually.
Carbon dioxide removal from the atmosphere is valued at approximately US$1,088 per hectare per year. This carbon removal service is highest in wetland areas such as the Caroni and Nariva swamps, as well as in Trinidad and Tobago’s forested ecosystems.
Coastal systems, from its protection services, coastal ecosystems and support for recreation and tourism-based activities were valued at up to US$390,428 per hectare per year, the report said.
The release added that TT is also preparing for the 26th Conference of Parties of the United Nations’ Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26) in Glasgow Scotland, expected to be a historic event which will be a game changer for how countries do business.
The Prime Minister will lead TT’s delegation in Glasgow as head of delegation for the World Leaders’ Summit; Robinson-Regis is the head of delegation for the high level summit and Kishan Kumarsingh, head of the Multilateral Environmental Agreements Unit of the Ministry of Planning will be the head of delegation for technical negotiations, the release said.