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Earth Today | Jamaica to retally emissions reduction commitments

Published:Wednesday | May 17, 2017 | 12:00 AM

With its ratification of the Paris Agreement now done, Jamaica is set on fulfilling its obligations, including a recalculation of its intended nationally determined contributions, now called nationally determined contributions (NDCs), to a reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

This is the revelation from UnaMay Gordon, principal director of the Climate Change Division in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation.

"We are a full party to the agreement and we have to implement the agreement at the national level," she told The Gleaner recently.

"One of the critical ones is the INDCs that we submitted in 2015. There is (however) a provision within the agreement that if we have not signalled otherwise, the INDCs would become the NDCs. What that does is it gives us time to do the recalculation and create a road map for implementation," Gordon explained.

Under the Paris Agreement, each party (country) is to "prepare, communicate and maintain successive nationally determined contributions that it intends to achieve.

"Each party's successive nationally determined contribution will represent a progression beyond the party's then current nationally determined contribution and reflect its highest possible ambition, reflecting its common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in the light of different national circumstances," the global deal added.

All of this is with the aim "to reach global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible, recognising that peaking will take longer for developing country parties, and to undertake rapid reductions thereafter, in accordance with best available science, so as to achieve a balance between anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases in the second half of this century, on the basis of equity, and in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty".

Existing calculations, as reflected in the then INDCs submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), is to see Jamaica mitigating "the equivalent of 1.1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year by 2030 versus a business-as-usual scenario".

This is a reduction of 7.8 per cent of emissions versus business as usual. This target is predicated on the current level of implementation of the National Energy Policy and the existing pipeline of renewable energy projects," reads the INDCs document, available on the UNFCCC website.

More specifically, it proposes to reach its emissions-reduction goals through the implementation of energy policies that ensure the island:

- uses energy wisely and aggressively to pursue opportunities for conservation and efficiency;

- has a modernised and expanded energy infrastructure that enhances energy generation capacity and ensures that energy supplies are safely, reliably and affordably transported to homes, communities and the productive sectors on a sustainable basis; and

* achieves its energy resource potential through the development of renewable energy sources by increasing their share in its primary energy mix of 20 per cent by 2030.

Jamaica's instrument of ratification was signed by Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Kamina Johnson Smith on March 30. It was subsequently sent to New York for deposit at the United Nations on April 10 and entered into force on May 10.

Beyond the NDCs, Gordon said the Climate Change Division is intent on continuing its outreach activities involving a wide cross section of stakeholders, while at the same time aggressively pursuing climate- change financing to build Jamaica's resilience.