Fri | Nov 27, 2020

Earth Today | Jamaica on track with plans for emissions reduction

Published:Thursday | September 19, 2019 | 12:00 AM

JAMAICA IS on track with plans to enhance greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions, in the wake of the Special Report on 1.5 degrees Celsius of Global Warming that reflects the need for ramped-up mitigation and adaptation actions, if the world is to successfully curtail climate impacts.

UnaMay Gordon, head of the Climate Division (CCD) of the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, made the revelation recently, noting that the island should meet its deadline for the submission of its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) for emissions.

The submission, which is to be made to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) by 2020, also responds to the call from UN Secretary General António Guterres for leaders to attend the upcoming Climate Action Summit in New York with ‘realistic plans to enhance their NDCs in line with reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 45 per cent over the next decade, and to net zero emissions by 2050.

“We are in active mode in terms of the revision of the NDCs to see what is set out and determine what has changed since the last time. The prime minister has said to us that we can move from 30 per cent renewables (such as solar and wind energy) to 50 per cent in our energy mix. So we are working on that,” she said.

“Jamaica will meet the 2020 target for an enhanced NDC, which is good for us. What that target will be, and how the ambition will look, will depend on the result of the assessment, which is ongoing,” Gordon added.

The assessment takes account of the forestry, transport and water sectors for, among other things, a determination of their contributions to GHG emissions that fuel climate change and the best way to sustainably reduce those contributions.

Jamaica’s first NDCs, submitted to the UNFCCC more than three years ago, noted the effect of the isand’s energy policies modelled and compared to a ‘business-as-usual’ scenario of emissions growth without policy intervention, using 2005 as a base year.

It put the island on track, based on policy interventions, to mitigate the equivalent of 1.1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year by 2030 versus the business as usual scenario which would see emissions increased by 37 per cent, also by 2030.

“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,” it noted.


Beyond that, the island pledged to increase its emissions reduction by 10 per cent below the business-as-usual scenario, “subject to the provision of international support”.

“This reduction target is based on enhanced implementation of the National Energy Policy. In particular, Jamaica seeks support for the expansion of energy-efficiency initiatives in the electricity and transportation sectors, in line with sector action plans and policies currently under development,” the document revealed.

The island is looking to boost its target for decreasing emissions even further, given climate risks such as rising sea levels as well as warmer temperatures and associated droughts and disease. Among other things, there is also the risk of extreme weather events, including hurricanes, the likes of Hurricane Dorian that recently left some 50 people dead, hundreds of others missing and billions of dollars in loss and damage in The Bahamas.