Guyana’s low carbon, oil pursuits ‘legitimate’ but caution needed

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Oil production offshore Guyana has raised concerns that the country cannot pursue low-carbon development simultaneously but the European Union (EU) has thrown its support behind Guyana and this dual agenda.

Fernando Ponz Cantó, the EU Ambassador to Guyana, acknowledges that Guyana is confronted by a “difficult dilemma” but does not believe that the country’s ambitions are unachievable.

For years, Guyana has protected its forests, which suck in the harmful gases produced by the burning of fossil fuels and help slow global warming. And for the most part, the country has protected these trees without any compensation.

Even with oil production now, the government believes that Guyana can still be a net-zero carbon emitter. This means that the harmful gases released into the atmosphere by oil and other sectors can be balanced out by the harmful gases which its trees suck in.

EU Ambassador to Guyana, Fernando Ponz Cantó

 

And in doing so, Guyana would be able to benefit from massive expected oil revenues while accruing benefits from the sustainable use of its other natural resources, such as being paid to keep its forests intact.

“… If those are properly managed they can bring more prosperity to Guyanese citizens, which we want,” the EU Ambassador said while fielding questions at a recent forum held at the University of Guyana.

He emphasised that pursuing both efforts are “legitimate” but cautioned that all stakeholders need to work together to ensure that the dual agenda is made more “compatible”.

As he stated the EU’s acknowledgement of Guyana’s ambitious pursuits, Cantó highlighted that the EU has positioned itself as a partner to help Guyana reconcile and realise these objectives.

A few days ago, the EU announced a final tranche of 7.5 million Euros in budget support for Guyana as the two sides look to define a new framework for development cooperation.

The financing formed part of the €34 million multi-year agreement between Guyana and the European Union.

The latest disbursement of budgetary support, like the previous tranches of almost 20 million Euros, will go to prop up the country’s vulnerable sea defence, which both local and international officials recognised as an important safeguard from the rising Atlantic Ocean.

At the UG forum, the Ambassador related the EU’s intention to continue providing cooperation aid to Guyana, particularly for low-carbon or green development. He said that planting more mangroves to bolster sea defence is a potential partnership.

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