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German – Caribbean “Climate Talks” Highlights Plans for Just Transition

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German – Caribbean “Climate Talks” Highlights Plans for Just Transition

Ambassador Dr. Christophe Eick, Special Envoy for Climate Issues in the Caribbean, joined representatives from the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, United Nations, and Climate Analytics Caribbean to build enhanced support for Just Transition in the Caribbean.

Trinidad and Tobago, May 14th, 2024

Temperatures in the Caribbean continue to reach record breaking highs, and the impacts of climate change are becoming an increasingly prominent concern for regional governments. To shed light on this issue and explore opportunities for increased support, the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago launched the “German – Caribbean Climate Talks” on Monday 13th May in Port of Spain. The event focused on a Just Transition in the Caribbean, and was facilitated by Climate Analytics Caribbean.

The Honourable Pennelope Beckles, Minister of Planning and Development for the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, was represented by the Ministry’s Head of Multilateral Environmental Agreements and lead climate change negotiator, Mr. Kishan Kumarsingh. Mr. 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 whilst 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,” remarked Mr. Kumarsingh. 

Principled approaches related to retooling, reskilling, reschooling, upskilling, and skill transfer redeployment are undertaken in this Policy. 

Already in Trinidad and Tobago we are seeing signs of an emerging new economy with initiatives such as:

  • The construction of a 112-megawatt solar utility plant is underway, which can account for approximately 8-10% of electricity,
  • The Government has committed to growth of renewable energy accounting for 30% 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.

German Ambassador, His Excellency Dr. Christophe Eick is 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 stated. “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.”

Also presenting at the event were Ms. Diane Quarless, Director, Subregional Headquarters for the Caribbean, UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, and Ms. Rueanna Haynes, Director of Climate Analytics Caribbean. Ms. Haynes highlighted that there was no obligatory or one size fits all approach to Just Transition.

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

END

A group of people posing for a photo
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Left – right: At Monday’s launch of the German – Caribbean Climate Talks: Ms. Rueanna Haynes, Director of Climate Analytics Caribbean; His Excellency Dr Christophe Eick, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Trinidad and Tobago and Special Envoy for Climate Issues in the Caribbean; The Honourable Pennelope Beckles, Minister of Planning and Development for the Government of Trinidad and Tobago.

A group of people sitting in front of a crowd
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Left – right: Presenters at Monday’s launch of the German – Caribbean Climate Talks: His Excellency Dr Christophe Eick, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Trinidad and Tobago and Special Envoy for Climate Issues in the Caribbean; Mr. Kishan Kumarsingh, Head of Multilateral Environmental Agreements, Ministry of Planning and Development, Government of Trinidad and Tobago; Ms. Rueanna Haynes, Director of Climate Analytics Caribbean; Ms. Diane Quarless, Director, Subregional Headquarters for the Caribbean, UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean.

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