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Climate Change
Are we victims or perpetrators?

Are we victims or perpetrators?

Dear Editor/Newsroom,

We must stop blaming the Global North for their high carbon emissions while painting a convoluted narrative of victimhood and innocence for ourselves. We are not only victims but also perpetrators of global warming.

With the increasing frequency, intensity and path unpredictability of hurricane disasters, is our Republic prepared for a hurricane disaster?

On Wednesday 10th October 2018, a Category-4 hurricane smashed into the northwest coast of Florida causing widespread chaos and devastation. Hurricane Michael was dubbed a history changing storm, the most powerful of its kind to strike the continent in over 50 years, decimating everything in its path resulting in over seven reported deaths. Is this catastrophic hurricane a result of climate change?

In the past hurricanes veered north but science now says we can no longer accurately determine their path. We were lucky this year but will we be lucky next year?

Is Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) being forced to follow the example of the Dutch citizens who were successful at the Dutch Court of Appeal? The Court ruled that the Netherlands is breaching its duty of care by “failing to pursue a more ambitious reduction” of greenhouse gas emissions and must do more to protect the climate.

The United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently released a warning that we have 12 to 34 years to change our carbon guzzling habits and adapt to the devastating impacts of climate change as average global temperatures reach 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels. The IPCC panel has predicted irreversible consequences of intensified hurricanes, sea level rise and ecosystem loss.

In 2006, the late Patrick Manning committed us to a six per cent increase in carbon emissions with the construction of an Arab-loaned power plant in La Brea. In 2016, we became second only to Qatar for carbon dioxide emissions per capita. According to Knoema statistics, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per capita of Trinidad and Tobago increased from 12.06 metric tons in 1997 to 25.72 metric tons in 2016 growing at an average annual rate of 4.39 %. Does Keith Rowley understand that we are also the perpetrators of our own inevitable demise?

Instead of focusing our efforts on preparedness and adaptation, his Cabinet appears to be intent on:

· Removing natural carbon sinks to unnecessarily build highways in legally designated environmentally sensitive areas (from nowhere to nowhere);

· Developing exclusive resorts on disaster prone coastlines in Tobago; and

. Borrowing more money to bulldoze over 360 hectares of our Rousillac Mangroves (which absorb 1.5 metric tonnes of CO2 per hectare), for the development of a Chinese container transshipment facility in La Brea.

Has the Rowley administration ever done a greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory to assess the carbon reducing potential of our natural resources? With unsustainable, secretive, irresponsible, destructive and dictatorial decision making without referendum or even public consultation, how can there be a sustainable balance in this race for economic growth?

Our Prime Minister must be held accountable. We submitted to the United Nations our Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) which committed and bounded us to a 30% GHG reduction in the public transportation sector and a 15% total GHG reduction as part of our ratification of the Paris Agreement. Are we on track to achieve this target? Have the requirements of this international convention been integrated into local legislation and if not, why not?

FFOS ask with unpredictable hurricane paths with increasing intensity and frequency are we ready for the next Michael? What will happen to our vulnerable or our floundering economy if we are hit next year? Instead of an ostrich approach to planning, should we not be conducting formal consultations on natural disaster preparedness? Why have we not yet incentivized renewable energy or implemented transparent sustainable, national planning supported by feasibility studies?

Instead of green-washing public relations activity, shouldn’t Keith Rowley break his silence and explain what his government is doing to reduce our carbon footprint or prepare for future hurricanes? Sincerely,

Gary Aboud Corporate Secretary Fishermen and Friends of the Sea

Are we victims or perpetrators 13-10-18

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