Monday, 28 May 2012

GEF ECW in Antigua

Antigua and Barbuda, 8 - 10 May, 2012

The EPPD recently participated in the Global Environment Facility’s (GEF) Expanded Constituency Workshop (ECW) in Antigua and Barbuda on May 8 - 10, 2012. Approximately 75 technical experts from the Caribbean region participated in the Workshop. 

The ECW is a component of the GEF Country Support Programme and brings together GEF focal points, focal points from major Conventions (Biodiversity, Desertification, Climate Change and Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)), representatives from civil society, and representatives from the GEF Secretariat and GEF Agencies. 

This year's workshop built on the success of the 2011 ECW, and sought to further strengthen participants knowledge of GEF-5 (the 5th replenishment of resources of the GEF Trust Fund  for the period 2010-2014) programmes, policies, and procedures. The ECW was also an opportunity to discuss priority issues and share lessons learnt from the development and implementation of GEF projects and their integration within national policy frameworks.

The final day of the workshop consisted of site visits to Antigua and Barbuda’s current GEF funded projects.

T&T Delegation (L-R): 
Dr. Joth Singh (EMA), Shamaine Lewis-Collins (MHE), Brian James  (CFCA), Candace Amoroso (MHE), Julius Smith (MHE), Ermath Harrington (CCA) and Neera Singh (MHE)
Mr Julius Smith of the EPPD delivering a group
presentation on behalf of the T&T Delegation

Friday, 25 May 2012

Methyl Bromide Sensitisation Training

The National Ozone Unit held two sessions of Methyl Bromide Awareness Training for the Plant Quarantine Division of the Ministry of Food Production, Land and Marine Affairs, Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Port Authority of Trinidad and Tobago who deal specifically with plant quarantine and fumigation.  

The sessions were facilitated by Mr Anthony Ramdeen (Consultant for the Methyl Bromide Phase-Out Project) and Dr Marissa Gowrie (National Ozone Officer) on March 23, 2012 and May 18, 2012 at the El Socorro Office of the Ministry of Housing and the Environment.  

The purpose of the training was to increase the awareness of various stakeholder groups on the Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) and Methyl Bromide, their usage and the alternatives available.  

Dr Marissa Gowrie (National Ozone Officer) addressing the participants
Mr Anthony Ramdeen, Project Consultant, demonstrating fumigant 
detection equipment to the participants

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Ten Bullet Points from Bonn

Bonn Climate Change Conference, May 2012 

New data on climate change has come in from Bonn and the situation looks pretty grim. Mr Kishan Kumarsingh, Head of MEAU and Ms Jewel Batchasingh, Climate Change Specialist are currently engaged in talks in Germany and sent us alarming new stats:
  1. In 2011, global mean atmospheric CO2 concentrations surpassed 390 ppm (parts per million), which is higher than at least the last 800,000 yrs and likely, more than the last 5-10 million yrs[1].  To make matters worse, the average annual growth rate has not slowed over the past 30 yrs[2]
  2. 2011 was the 11th warmest year since records began in 1850, despite the globally cooling influence of the La Niña phenomenon.  In fact, 2011 was the warmest “La Niña” year ever recorded[3].
  3. The rate of sea-level rise has increased during the last few decades. In the last 20 yrs, it is double the rate observed over the entire last century[4]. Scary stuff for islanders.
  4. Sea-level rise over the past decades has been at the top end of the range projected in Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment reports.
  5. Massive ice loss from Greenland and Antarctica is occurring more rapidly now, becoming the largest contributor to sea-level rise[5]. Mountain glaciers are also losing ice faster than projected.
  6. Sea-level rise figures for the Pacific and the Caribbean are higher than the worldwide average[6]. Although these large regional variations may be temporary, they will exacerbate the risks of the impacts of sea-level rise on the vulnerable Small Island Developing States (SIDS) like Trinidad and Tobago.
  7. The IPCC Special Report on Climate Extremes indicated that over 95% of deaths from natural disasters occurred in developing countries between the years 1970 and 2008. One of the impacts of climate change is believed to be an increased frequency of natural disasters.
  8. It also shows that in many cases in small exposed countries, particularly SIDS, economic losses from extreme events exceeded 1% of GDP, and in some cases up to 8% GDP.
  9. It is projected that the length, frequency and/or intensity of heat waves will very likely increase over most land areas, and that the average tropical cyclone maximum wind speed, or intensity, is likely to increase.
  10. The IPCC Special Report also found that if disasters occur more frequently or stronger, some local areas will become less attractive and more difficult as places to live in. Thus, migration and displacement could become permanent, particularly in the case of atolls, leading to more pressure in areas of relocation.
     Greenland has reported massive ice loss in recent years

[1] van de Wal, R. S. W., B. de Boer, et al. (2011). "Continuous and self-consistent CO2 and climate records over the past 20 Myrs." Climate of the Past Discussions 7(1): 437-461.
[2] Manau Loa, Global CO2 trends,
[3] WMO, March 2012
[4] Meyssignac, B. and A. Cazenave (2012) Journal of Geodynamics
[5] Jacob and colleagues (2012) Nature; Gardner and colleagues (2011) Nature; Moon and colleagues (2012) Science; Lee and colleagues (2012) Earth and Planetary Science Letters; Rignot and colleagues (2011) Geophysical Research Letters
[6] Nicholls and Cazenave (2010) Science; Becker and colleagues(2012) Science

Monday, 7 May 2012

SBSTTA 16: PoWIB Review

The Sixteenth Session of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).


A key technocrat meeting for biodiversity termed ‘SBSTTA 16’ was recently held in Montreal, Canada during April 30 - May 05, 2012.  The meeting was attended by over 400 representatives from governments, NGOs, indigenous communities, business and academia.

One of the key areas discussed at the meeting was island biodiversity. Island biodiversity, like Trinidad and Tobago's, are exceptionally rich reservoirs of biodiversity, but are also environmentally fragile and economically vulnerable. In order to protect and conserve this abundance, the CBD developed a Programme of Work on Island Biodiversity (PoWIB) in 2006, which aims to halt biodiversity loss and in turn, enhance the well-being of islanders.

While discussing the issues and draft recommendations of the report on the implementation review of the PoWIB, several concerns were raised including insufficient references to the technological and technical assistance issues of small island developing states (SIDS).

In order to resolve the contentious issues, a 'Friends of the Chair' group was convened in which a revised draft recommendations document was prepared by the Co-Chair of Working Group II for consideration. This meeting was co-chaired by Dr Floyd Homer, the delegate for Trinidad and Tobago. The draft document was accepted by the Group after some revisions to the document and later approved during the plenary session on May 03, 2012.

For a full summary of the issues discussed and decisions taken at SBSTTA 16, please click here.

Dr Homer during his participation in Working Group II which considered capacity building for the Global Taxonomy Initiative (GTI), new and emerging issues and island biodiversity.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Ozone Awareness at ABS

The National Ozone Unit (NOU) continues its education of the air conditioning and refrigeration sector on the Montreal Protocol and the impending phase out of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) scheduled to begin in January 2013, through its lectures and outreach activities. 

The NOU most recently conducted training and awareness raising at Abel Building Solutions (ABS) at its Mount Hope Offices for the entire engineering department including senior staff, technical professionals and procurement officers.

Attendees were informed about the phase out targets for HCFC as well as the elements of the HCFC Phase out Management Plan (HPMP) which include equipment provision, further training in good refrigeration practices, retrofitting of equipment, and the establishment of a certification programme for technicians. 

To learn more about ABS, you can visit the company's website.

From L-R: Dr. Marissa Gowrie (National Ozone Officer)Mr. Adam Sabga (General Manager; ABS ) and Mr. Winfield Clamens (one of the founders the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Industry Association)