President insists on ‘realistic’ look at petroleum exploration  


The transition from fossil fuel to renewable energy is an issue which needs to be looked at realistically, taking into consideration the monopoly which has existed in the industry for some time, President Irfaan Ali has said. 

President Ali raised the issue at Commonwealth Business Forum (CBF) for Heads of Government and global Chief Executive Officers, which was held on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Kigali, Rwanda.  

The meeting was also attended by Prince Charles and President of Rwanda Paul Kagame.

As the international community continues to set ambitious targets for countries to reduce their carbon footprints, little attention has been paid to the inequalities which exist in the global energy scenario, President Ali said. 

He highlighted that 70 per cent of the energy for the Commonwealth still comes from burning coal, and oil and gas, while efforts are being made by some countries, which have been pumping oil for a long time, to block new petroleum exploration and development.  

The Head of State said that if there is no new development in the petroleum sector then the monopoly that already exists is being protected by those countries which are benefitting from it. 

“We have to have a balance in this discussion, between what is needed in the interim period in terms of fossil fuel against how the transition [to renewable energy] happens,” he said, while calling on those leaders present at the meeting to address the issue “realistically.” 

The President also drew attention to the fact that one of the Commonwealth’s very own, Canada, has the most diversified energy portfolios and one of the lowest energy costs in the world, but has the highest per capita consumption in the Commonwealth and perhaps one of the highest in the world. 

He contrasted this with the situation in Africa where only 43 per cent of people on that continent has access to electricity. 

Regional efforts to achieve energy security were also underscored by the President who reiterated CARICOM’s commitment to having more than 47 per cent of its energy source being renewables – solar, wind and water – by 2027. 

Guyana has set a much more ambitious target of reducing energy cost by 50% by 2025, through an energy mix which will include natural gas, hydropower, solar and wind. This will result in the capacity of the grid being increased to 500MW. 

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