As we know, Climate Change is caused by our human activities, like burning fossil fuels for energy. These emissions go into our atmosphere and cause changes in temperatures, sea levels and more extreme weather. We know this, right? On small islands, as most of us in the Caribbean are, these lead to losses in the economy, property, and lives. We need to shift away from fossil fuels, but we also know this is easier said than done.
In my country of Trinidad and Tobago, our economy is based on oil and gas production and industrial processes. We can analyze and quantify exactly where most of our emissions come from, but the risk of us showing our cards to the global community can have detrimental effects on our development. So, like any other nation struggling with our meagre measure of wealth and natural resources, we leverage our vulnerabilities to keep ourselves looking smaller than we are. On the global stage we have some of the greatest minds in the climate space working diligently in matters of policy, science, and advocacy. However, on the ground in our country, the landscape is vastly different.
The great truth is that the oil and gas companies run the economy. Almost everything is supported by fossil fuel money, even the “environmental” projects. Greenwashing is rampant, and these companies have a corporate social responsibility mandate and budget that effectively become bandaids on their bullet holes. The taxes and fines for pollution and the ‘polluter pays principle’ do not actually benefit the environment or limit the emissions being produced—they simply help the companies appear more responsible than they are. Finance is a human construct and the derivation of value from nature will always have a serious impact.
In my opinion and experience, nature-based solutions and adaptation measures are critical, and we sorely need mitigation measures that are actually operationalised, all guided by the latest data and evidence supported by research and community experience. It is a huge undertaking for a small island, and the politics are divided among the more pressing issues of illegal immigration, health, national security, and unemployment. We are not able to turn off the fossil fuel industries overnight. We must work with these companies within the environmental constraints and local situations towards a stable transition.
We have a plan for how to help put this stable transition in motion. So join me on November 3 and 4 and help us Power Up for a wave of change, as we lobby for our leaders to take real action towards a just energy transition. All around the world, people will come together to power up the global renewable energy revolution. It’s time we shift money and political influence away from fossil fuel companies and towards a clean and equitable future for all!