Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 7th 2014 Contents BG20 | COMMENTARY
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt AUGUST 2014 • WEEK ONE
T&T s status as a global
energy leader should
never cloud the fact that
we are a small island state
susceptible to the most
negative effects of climate
change. Flooding, coastal
erosion, reduced food
production and water availability pose a real
threat for us. Adapting to these events as well
as reducing our carbon emissions, through
energy efficiency, work hand in hand in how
we combat climate change s impacts.
Several data points reinforce just why we
need to consider action---whether through
policies or specific projects---on adapting to
and mitigating against climate change impacts.
In a recently released Inter-American Devel-
opment Bank report, Understanding the Eco-
nomics of Climate Adaptation in T&T, a com-
prehensive analysis of potential effects of
climate change, the cost and benefit of solu-
tions as well as the urgency with which these
solutions should be implemented was high-
lighted. The study assessed the potential
impacts of climate change for human health,
settlements, agriculture, water resources,
coastal zones and energy infrastructure.
For human health and human settlement
the impacts were clear. The study noted that
the rise in the number and intensity of storms
will cause more flooding and increase disrup-
tion or actually destroy coastal settlements.
For the energy sector, the study identified the
risks to infrastructure, including field instal-
lations and offshore operations and the impact
of water shortages on power generation.
Apart from these impacts, alerts were also
raised over soil aridity and soil desalination
and there links to lower agricultural production.
Other impacts included the bleaching of coral
reefs, reduced fish stock and the likely increase
in vector diseases and water borne diseases.
The report also pinpointed a number of
actions to help reduce the shocks from the
hazards identified. These actions range from
policy initiatives, legislative reform to actual
They include developing a national building
code, construction of dikes in coastal areas,
developing a meteorological alert system con-
nected to the monitoring system, an institu-
tional training programme, a parametric insur-
ance scheme, sustainable drainage systems,
infrastructure and building reinforcement,
retention ponds, permeable pavements and
mangrove restoration. The report highlighted
the costs, benefits and payback periods for
several of these measures as well (see Table 1).
Given the data on climate change, it is clear
that the country has work to do whether in
implementing land zoning laws or building
codes or even finding financial solutions
through catastrophe bonds, flood insurance
or other instruments.
Climate change mitigation options:
There are also other choices that individuals,
businesses and the state can take in different
sectors which will involve a range of different
actions. Some of these are easy to implement,
involve limited investment and use existing
Others will be difficult to implement as they
involve significant changes to the way in which
we go about our lives or will need new tech-
nology, significant investment, legislative
reform or the use of new technology.
Below are a few recommendations for spe-
1. Reduce electricity consumption: turn-off
air conditioners and appliances when not in
use, buy more efficient appliances, switch
from incandescent bulbs to new low energy,
long-lasting light bulbs.
2. Invest in solar water heating: solar water
heating systems are cheap and easy to install
and reduce electricity consumption.
3. Design houses for tropical climate: use
passive design techniques incorporating breeze,
shading and natural light to reduce air-con-
ditioning and artificial lighting needs.
1. Implement efficiency measures: increase
efficiency within existing plants to reduce
emissions per unit of production and electricity
2. Invest in new industries using CO2 as
feedstock: there are a number of existing and
emerging technologies that can be used to
develop industries using CO2 as a feedstock,
for example farming algae for use in bio-fuels.
3. Invest in carbon capture and geological
storage: capture CO2 produced by petrochem-
ical plants, transport it by pipeline to depleted
oil and gas reservoirs, where it can be safely
removed from the atmosphere or even used
for enhanced oil recovery.
1. Invest in new power stations: replace
older gas fired power stations with newer more
efficient combined cycle gas fired power sta-
2. Invest in increased efficiency: investments
in the grid can decrease losses between gen-
eration and delivery of electricity to consumers.
3. Invest in renewable electricity generation
projects: a variety of different sources are
available in Trinidad and Tobago, including
wind, wave, ocean current and solar energy
but they may not all be feasible. T&T could
also become a manufacturing hub for solar
PV applications, an investor in hydroelectricity
projects in Guyana or Venezuela or geo-thermal
projects in the Eastern Caribbean as well as
export services for other renewable energy
4. Invest in carbon capture and storage:
capture CO2 produced by power generation
plants, transport it by pipeline to depleted oil
and gas reservoirs, where it can be safely
removed from the atmosphere. Where possible,
build power stations in close proximity to sites
of geological storage, such as the new power
station being built in Union Estate.
1. Invest in efficient public transport: getting
people out of their cars into public transport
will need efficient, modern, secure and inte-
grated public transport systems.
2. Encourage shift to CNG: natural gas has
lower greenhouse gas emissions and is cheaper
from conventional transport fuels, but invest-
ments are needed in the infrastructure to
ensure CNG is readily available. The Govern-
ment has set aside $2 billion for its CNG ini-
3. Encourage carpooling and more efficient
cars: companies and government ministries
can encourage employees to car pool, and
ensure that they buy more efficient fleet vehi-
4. Enable home-working and video con-
ferencing: companies and government min-
istries can implement policies to enable staff
to work from home and video conferencing
can reduce travel to meetings.
1. Invest in energy efficiency: simple energy
efficiency measures can significantly reduce
electricity or natural gas usage, while decreasing
2. Invest in small-scale renewable energy:
small-scale on-site power generation or use
of solar heating can reduce electricity usage.
While the time frame for some of these
solutions or measures may vary, as a nation,
we need to definitely start being more proactive
in finding ways, whether through policy, leg-
islation, public awareness or projects, to combat
the effects climate change will have on the
current and future generations.
For more information on the article con-
tact Sherwin Long at email@example.com
For the full IADB report visit http://pub-
lications.iadb.org/ or visit www.energy.tt
options Energy Chamber
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