By Sue-Ann Wayow
PLANNING and Development Minister Camille Robinson-Regis is asking Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar to stop playing “petty politics” with the serious issue of climate change.
In a press release on Wednesday the minster said, “As Minister entrusted with the sacred responsibility of protecting the environment, I ask that the Leader of the Opposition to stop seeking petty points to make up for her recent embarrassment in Parliament and accept the fact that climate change is no joking matter, or a matter with which to play petty politics but a matter of urgent concern regarding the extinction of all manner of life as we know it.”
She defended Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley who made an address in Glasgow, Scotland at the 26th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change called COP26.
Robinson-Regis is the the Head of Delegation for the High Level Ministerial Summit.
On Monday, Persad-Bissessar at a United National Congress UNC virtual report meeting, questioned Dr Rowley’s agenda in participating in the forum saying he had no genuine care for the environment.
Persad-Bissessar said, “Rowley and his team are there to play golf, eat dinners, live the good life, and collect tax-free US-denominated per diems, and possibly some shopping for new bespoke suits. They are not going to do anything about the environment. I would go so far as to say they are there on vacation.”
However, Robinson-Regis highlighted points made by Dr Rowley at the conference.
Dr Rowley said, “We are in the process of establishing the largest utility-scale solar renewable energy project in the Caribbean with a capacity of 112 megawatts, accounting for 10% of our power needs, and we plan to increase this complement to 30% by 2030. We have developed an e-mobility policy and we are already implementing measures to phase-in electric vehicles.
“We recognise the need to address the socio-economic issues associated with the energy transition and have developed a Just Transition of the Workforce Policy aimed at reskilling, retooling and developing new capacity for a low-carbon economy;
“We are pursuing measures to facilitate investment in green hydrogen to provide green feedstock to our vibrant petrochemical industry. We intend to explore the use of industry-generated CO₂ in possible carbon sequestration projects.”
Robinson-Regis reminded Persad-Bissessar of previous initiatives by the Government of the day to protect the environment including the establishment of the Environmental Management Authority (EMA).
She also listed initiatives of the present government’s environmental agenda which include the 2019 amendment to the water pollution rules, designation of the national bird, the Scarlet Ibis as an environmental sensitive species, establishment and support of a sea turtle task force, the development of a monitoring reporting and verification (MRV) system to produce accurate, transparent, comparable, complete and consistent information regarding the emission and mitigation of greenhouse gases.
“We are also focusing on new cooling methods through district cooling and the continued phasing out of ozone gases in the refrigeration and air conditioning (RAC) sector and training of RAC professionals is ongoing,” she stated.