President Ali believes low carbon talks ‘derailed’


Climate change is a central issue for world leaders gathering in New York this week and as stakeholders try to hammer out solutions to protect the earth, President Dr. Irfaan Ali believes that low carbon development talks have been derailed.

The President shared this view on Monday when he appeared at a Concordia event held at the sidelines of the ongoing United Nations General Assembly – UNGA 78.

Dr. Ali spoke about Guyana’s efforts to preserve its forests and help save the environment from disasters caused by climate change while earning from an increasingly prolific oil and gas sector.

He said Guyana is pursuing this “balanced” approach to development through an expanded Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS). But he doesn’t believe many stakeholders appreciate the nuanced approach to development.

“The conversation along net zero has been derailed to the extent that it has now become a conversation on how to end petroleum and not how do we create a balanced set of policies and programmes to achieve net zero in a sustainable way,” President Ali said during the live event.

He later asked, “When are the developing countries going to get the opportunities to exploit their resources to fund development?”

Net zero is a term used when talking about the target of negating or offsetting the amount of harmful greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide, produced through human activity. The oil and gas industry has been a notorious contributor of greenhouse gases.

These gases harm the environment and worsen the climate crisis. That, in turn, results in increased disasters like rising sea levels.

Trees help to trap those gases, however. So Guyana’s argument has been that its vast forests, which cover land area the size of England and Scotland, would continue to provide an environmental good while offsetting the gases produced in its nascent oil and gas sector.

President Ali believes that a “balanced conversation” on protecting the environment and gradually reducing the amount of fossil fuel use cannot be pursued by excluding countries like Guyana or oil and gas producers.

Further, he believes that efforts to balance oil and gas production and use with low carbon pursuits cannot be ignored.

Guyana’s LCDS has also found favour with Former Colombian President Iván Duque.

Mr. Duque said he was “impressed” by efforts to promote low carbon development while using the money earned from the oil and gas industry to fund development needs.

And according to Mr. Duque, developing countries like Guyana need those funds to improve various sectors, be it health or education, in the interest of its population.

He said, “The global south has different challenges and we need to finance the transition, not only the energy transition but the economic transition and environmental transition, in a sustainable way.”

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1 Comment
  1. Hazrat Shahid says

    Great job Mr. President Ali, When other countries make their money on oil & Gas to develop their countries they were not thinking about the environment now they saw Guyana will be develop through their oil & Gas now this come about. Same strategy they used when Guyana was the breadbasket of the Caribbean that time they use the tactics to divide and conquer now their strategy is for us to be environmental and not pursue oil & Gas to full extent but our country is balanced or even more on the environment .They should have thought about this when they make their economies more industrialist. They are trying to stifle us please let them know we take care of our economy and they should have dine the same for themselves

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