Top EU official backs Guyana low-carbon ambitions amid oil production


Executive Vice President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans has supported Guyana’s efforts to balance a low-carbon development agenda with new oil and gas production, stating that the country could be an example for the rest of the world.

Timmermans visited Guyana this week and on Wednesday night, inked a new €4.6 million budget support programme with Guyana on behalf of the EU.

In brief remarks after that new programme was formalised, the Executive Vice President said the EU and Guyana have long cooperated on the sustainable management of Guyana’s natural resources, particularly the forests which provide essential environmental services.

And he lauded the management of those natural resources.

“The ambition of your government, Mr. President, to make sure that Guyana in its economic development, in the development of the fossil fuel industry, still maintains its high ambition for climate neutrality and the maintenance of your natural riches is something we want to be part of,” Timmermans highlighted.

Guyana’s forests store 19.5 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide which, if cut down, would release all of that into the atmosphere, further causing harm to the environment.

That carbon dioxide is released when harmful fossil fuels, like the oil and gas produced offshore, is used. But Guyana’s position has been that its intact forests offset way more carbon than it produces and will continue to do so even when production ramps up in the coming year.

“… I believe the example of Guyana should be seen by the whole world and I would like to be your partner in making sure that you get the opportunity to showcase this at the highest level at COP28 in Dubai,” Timmermans added.

He, however, urged the country to guarantee that its development efforts today should not be at the expense of future generations. Instead, the EU officials suggested that local development efforts should continue to focus on fighting the climate crisis and biodiversity loss.

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