“Guyana can produce oil and still advocate for zero-carbon economy”- VP Jagdeo

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Vice-President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo firmly holds the position that Guyana can be an oil producing nation and still advocate for a zero-carbon economy, where the world relies only on clean, renewable energy.

This can be made possible since the country possesses vast forest resources that capture and store the gases released from fossil fuels like oil. The release of these fossil fuels contributes to global warming and climate change.

The VP proffered this position on Tuesday to an international forum under the title, “Climate Change Aspirations and the Viability of Small Developing Countries: A conversation with the Honourable Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, Vice-President of Guyana.”

The event was organised by the Baker Institute Center for Energy Studies.

There, Dr. Jagdeo explained that developing countries such as Guyana do not get the same attention as developed countries, as it relates to the strides made in moving towards to a zero-emissions future, where the developed world has machines and sources of energy that emit no waste products that pollute the environment or disrupt the climate.

He pointed out that the threat of climate change has been around for years, but that some nations have been dragging their feet when it comes to implementing solutions and making the necessary commitments needed to address the issue.

“It has been delayed significantly…at the beginning [because of] a lack of political will,” the Vice-President told the international forum.

Now, 30 years later, the threat of climate change requires “greater urgency” with an even more enormous scale of action. But Jagdeo questioned whether enough is being done.

“Is there enough popular will and have people been briefed enough about the scale of action that is required now and the disruption and the costs that go to it? That will be required to decarbonise the future,” he asked.

Considering the aforementioned, Jagdeo posited that not much is being done in the areas that generate the most emissions.

He pointed out too that when one examines many of the sectors that supply the largest carbon emission, there are not enough pledges or financing from both the public and private sectors globally to reduce emissions to achieve the net zero target.

Because of the delay in action, the Vice-President said that much of the climate change burden has been shifted to the developing world, despite the fact that many of those countries do not have the capacity to handle “equal burden sharing.”

That term is used to underscore that countries have a shared responsibility to protect the environment.

And Jagdeo stressed that “developing countries have budgets that are stressed, they have no capability to fund adaptation, and they have no means whatsoever to deal with that…the trap is existential.”

“Developing countries in the Caribbean and the Pacific are extremely vulnerable to climate change.”

“A single event like a hurricane can have a systemic impact. It can wipe out 50 years of accumulated wealth. These countries are heavily burdened by debt and they are also fiscally stressed,” he added further.

Those developing countries, according to Dr. Jagdeo, historically, were not the contributors to the current concentration of greenhouse gases yet they suffer the most from it.

To this end, the Vice-President lobbied for more funding to made available to developing countries to assist them in the fight against climate change.

Though Guyana has only been producing oil for two years, the country has championed the low carbon fight for years.

Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) aims to transform the country’s economy onto a low carbon, sustainable development trajectory, while simultaneously combating climate change.

The LCDS aims to protect and maintain the forests in an effort to reduce global carbon emissions and at the same time attract payments from developed countries for the climate services that the forests provide to the world, which will be invested to foster growth and development along a low carbon emissions path, without compromising the sovereignty over the forests or affecting the development prospects of Guyanese.

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