Row over signing of Paris Agreement… T&T lagging on climate change?

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Did Trinidad and Tobago sign the important Paris Climate Change Agreement on Earth Day last week?

Yes, says the Government, which indicated that T&T was represented by Foreign Affairs Minister Dennis Moses.

No, says the respected international publication, EcoWatch, which termed this country a “no-show” at the signing ceremony.

T&T has ratified the agreement, Finance Minister Colm Imbert told the House of Representatives on Monday.

This country signed after most other countries had done so, claimed Rodney Charles, Opposition Member of Parliament and former envoy to the United Nations.

The row has raised questions about whether T&T is committed to confronting urgent climate change issues.

This country is, per capita, a big emitter and fossil fuel producer, and, therefore, a culprit in climate change.

T&T is the only Caricom country with substantial fossil fuel resources.

Charles claims that other Caricom countries both signed and ratified the climate change agreement ahead of T&T.

Barbados Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has been quoted as saying that signing and ratification of the Paris Agreement is “one of the most significant achievements of the 21st century relating to the continued existence of humankind…”

The landmark United Nations agreement calls on signatories to undertake specific measures to reverse global temperature increase and climate change generally.

The previous Kamla Persad-Bissessar government had claimed regional leadership on the issue and active participation at international conferences.

The current Dr. Keith Rowley administration has said it would focus on climate change, indicating that expansion of compressed natural gas (CNG) service is one such measure.

Increased taxes on large engine vehicles are meant, in part, to encourage motorists to drive smaller, more environmentally-friendly vehicles, Imbert has said.

But critics have noted that the early legislative agenda of Attorney General Faris Al Rawi does not include and environmental matters.

Some 167 countries initialled the climate deal on Earth Day.

Like many other countries, T&T has been recording high temperatures, a direct result of climate change.

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