Prime Minister Patrick Manning says T&T has agreed to reduce voluntarily carbon emissions in this country. Manning, Chair of the Commonwealth, made this disclosure during the final news conference at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) at the Hyatt Regency yesterday. Manning said he didn't think some people understood the significance of dealing effectively with the issue of climate change. "This question of climate change is not an academic issue, and it is not a matter for sentiment. We just have to do what we have to do to keep the level of greenhouse gases low as possible and to reduce it in the shortest possible time.
We will pursue a policy of minimising our carbon oxides emissions and the emissions of other greenhouse gases, and we will seek to retrofit existing plants in collaboration with the companies that operate here in the industry. That objective would be undertaken in the shortest possible time. Manning said one of the mechanisms being considered by his Government to reduce the country's carbon footprint was carbon capture and sequestration. He admitted that such a mechanism was very contentious in the world, because some people believed it could lead to certain risks.
"There are countries which believe that if you place carbon oxides in formations that once contained oil and or gas, you run the risk of leakage from these horizons. While that is always possible, we do not see it, quite frankly, as the problem that some others see it to be, and therefore we are contemplating it." Manning said such a measure was already being done in T&T. "Carbon dioxide is a commodity that we use in the secondary recovery of oil, so we have been doing that for quite some time. It is just the scale that will be different."
Manning said the plants that manufactured ammonia in T&T also produced carbon dioxide as a by-product, and the methanol plants used carbon dioxide to increase their output. "So it is a kind of trade-off situation, a net situation in which we have an excess of carbon dioxide produced over carbon dioxide consumed, and it is in those circumstances we are considering carbon captive sequestration," Manning explained. He said if that was one of the options available to T&T, "then we're going to have to use that, and we do not see it as a prohibitively expensive proposition."