Guyana heading into climate talks with new ‘realistic and achievable’ targets

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Because there have been few investments made over the past few years to build out Guyana’s renewable energy generation capacity, President Dr. Irfaan Ali says that Guyana has had to revise its energy targets to one that are more “realistic and achievable”.

President Ali and other government officials and technical stakeholders will be attending the United Nations Climate Summit, COP26, that gets underway on Sunday. World leaders will be addressing the ongoing climate crisis and their countries’ role in slowing this.

Guyana will be championing its expanded Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) that is centered on making money by saving the forest and creating solutions to the climate crisis while pursuing a prolific oil and gas industry. But, the country is also doing so by revising its commitments to use 100 per cent renewable energy by 2025.

“If we were to achieve that we should already have nearing completion of the Amaila Falls hydropower project and major investments in other areas of alternative energy including the natural gas.

“Five years we had no  investment (or) no structured approach,” President Ali lamented, as he responded to questions during a press conference on Friday.

President Dr Irfaan Ali announcing Guyana’s updated Low Carbon Development Strategy (Photo: Office of the President/ October 28, 2021)

However, the country will now be outlining a “realistic and achievable ambition target” for the country’s energy use in the future, the President noted. This will include a gradual departure from imported fossil fuels and the use of a mix of natural gas, hydropower and solar energy to meet the energy demand that is expected to triple in the next five years.

Vice-President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo recently announced the revision of Guyana’s commitments under the United Nations’ Paris Agreement.

As per its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), Guyana had planned to use 100 per cent renewable energy by 2025; now, it anticipates the use of about 70 per cent of the non-renewable, fossil fuels by 2027 through the use of natural gas and renewable energy.

President Ali says that Guyana cannot criticise other countries for not sticking to their commitments when it cannot meet its own targets. As such, he said the new targets will be more achievable and in keeping with Guyana’s low-carbon agenda.

He also said that it will signal its commitment to slowing global warming and the effects of climate change and advocate for more accessible financing for small island developing and low-lying states to protect against the impact of climate change such as flooding and other disasters.

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