An intersectional discussion
30 August 2019
The Normandie Hotel
Port of Spain
In celebration of the formal launch of the think tank the Institute for Small Islands, we held a discussion in which we brought together experts in the field of climate change and the international climate change negotiations, with local actors that have been raising awareness in their respective fields, through film, the arts, and at the community level.
The discussion was organised in partnership with the Institute for Small Islands and Climate Analytics gGmbH, with the assistance of the Ministry of Planning and Development, Global Villages 360, Sustain T&T, and the IAMovement.
Global consensus on the Paris Agreement in 2015 and its entry into force one year later seemingly ushered in a new era of strengthened global commitment for acting on climate change. At the core of the Paris Agreement is a strengthened long-term temperature goal to limit average global temperature increase to below 1.5C above pre-industrial levels recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change.
185 Parties have now confirmed their commitment to enhanced action on climate change through ratification of the Paris Agreement, and the implementation phase is now underway. Nevertheless, with the stated intention of the US, the worlds’ second largest emitter of greenhouse gases, to pull out of the Paris Agreement, the prospects for its success in averting dangerous climate change appear to be considerably weakened. The next 12 months will be critical, with countries required to bring forward by 2020 new and updated national climate plans (known as ‘Nationally Determined Contributions’ or ‘NDCs’) that commit to more ambitious climate action.
In the meantime, the world has already seen an average increase in global temperatures of about 1°C and the impact of this has been both striking and severe with massive droughts, heat-waves, flooding and more extreme weather events taking their toll on millions of people and leaving death and destruction in their wake.
Trinidad and Tobago and the rest of the Caribbean region have not been immune. Recent category 5 hurricanes and massive flooding by unprecedented rainfall events attest to the ongoing vulnerability of Trinidad and Tobago and other Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to the impacts of climate change.
The most recent special report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on the impacts of global warming of 1.5oC calls for immediate action to halve the amount of global carbon dioxide emissions from 2010 levels by 2030, and to ensure that carbon dioxide emissions reach net zero by 2050. These actions are needed in order to deviate from the current emissions pathway which would result in an increase in average global temperatures of at least 3 degrees Celsius by the end of the century and unleash the most dangerous impacts of global warming.
What does this mean for Trinidad and Tobago as both a small island developing state highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and with an economy highly dependent on oil and gas revenue and subsidies?
This discussion brings together experts in the field of climate change and the international climate change negotiations, with local actors that have been raising awareness in their respective fields, through film, the arts, and at the community level.
The discussion is organised in partnership with The Institute for Small Islands and Climate Analytics gGmbH, with the assistance of the Ministry of Planning and Development, Global Villages 360, Sustain T&T, and the IAMovement.
Programme Part 1 – Setting the Scene Lectures
“Introduction” - Caroline Mair-Toby, Director, Institute for Small Islands
“The Global Negotiations on Climate Change” - Rueanna Haynes, Senior Legal Adviser, Climate Analytics
“Observed Impacts of Climate Change in Trinidad and Tobago” - Kenneth Kerr, Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Office
“The National Context of Climate Change Action” - Kishan Kumarsingh, Director, Multilateral Environmental Agreements Unit, Ministry of Planning and Development Part 2 – Local Action
Questions for reflection: (i) How can local awareness/understanding be improved on the issue of climate change? (ii) What measures can be taken to improve the resilience of Trinidad and Tobago to the impacts of climate change? (iii) How can individual citizens make a difference on the issue of climate change?
Facilitator: Ardene Sirjoo – Co-Founder, TriniGoodMedia
Janille Huggins, Technical Project Manager, IAMovement
Melissa Herbert-Mohammed, Project Manager, Global Villages 360
Carver Bacchus, Managing Director of Sustain T&T, Founder of Green Screen - The Environmental Film Festival
Dizzanne Billy, Team Lead on Public Relations, Caribbean Youth Environment Network in Trinidad and Tobago
Christopher Cozier, Local Artist
Part 3 “Closing and discussion on the way forward” - Caroline Mair-Toby, Director, Institute for Small Islands