US President Donald Trump made known on Thursday last, his intention to have the superpower withdraw from the Paris Climate Change accord.
His announcement – albeit predicted – sent shockwaves throughout several sections of the global community leaving many countries now contemplating their next move.
The Paris Agreement is an accord within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) dealing with greenhouse gas emissions, mitigation, adaptation and finance starting in the year 2020.
The agreement was negotiated by representatives of 195 countries at the 21st Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC Paris and was adopted by consensus on December 12, 2015.
In the Paris Agreement, each country determines its own contribution it should make in order to mitigate global warming.
In his remarks from the White House Rose Garden, Trump called the pact a “draconian” international deal and vowed to stand behind the people of the United Sates positing that the accord imposes unfair environmental standards on American businesses and workers.
Guyana is a signatory to the Paris Agreement. In fact, previous reports have indicated that Guyana’s President David Granger, has the distinction of being the first Head of State to subscribe to the accord.
Commenting on Trump’s announcement yesterday at the post-Cabinet Press Briefing at the Ministry of the Presidency in Georgetown was the Minister of State, Joseph Harmon.
The Minister said that it is “unfortunate” that such a position has been taken by the US since “the rest of the world is going in a certain direction.”
Saying that he wished not to speculate on whether small states will follow the US in pulling out of this agreement, he noted that Guyana remains committed to its obligations.
Guyana is expected to honour its obligations through the development of a comprehensive Emissions Reduction Programme (ERP).
The ERP will pursue the establishment of a Green State characterised by a low-emission pathway to economic development; place an additional two million hectares of Guyana’s territory under conservation and preserve the state’s rainforests in order to contribute up to 48.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent; join the global climate mitigation effort through avoided deforestation; positioning Guyana to move more quickly and more closely towards full renewable energy use by 2025; and to protect the state’s biodiversity and ecosystems and partner with other countries to establish an international institute specialising in education and research in biodiversity.
“We are committed to it. We have actually seen the impact which global warming can have with effects of climate change,” the Minister said, making reference to the excessive rainfall that resulted in several communities in Regions Seven (Cuyuni/Mazaruni) and Eight (Potaro/Siparuni) experiencing severe flooding.
“We had situations where for the first time in 10 or 12 years people would have seen water levels so high in those communities.
“And so while on the Coast some of us would look at global warming and climate change as some concept, to many people in our hinterland it is a way of life. They have actually come to the understanding that climate change will affect their daily lives and their livelihood.”
Zeroing on effects of the anticipated withdrawal, Harmon predicted that there might be a regroup by the international community in order to have a “fresh look” at the commitments that were made under the agreement, before moving forward.
He also spoke of the financial impact the intended withdrawal will have on the international community noting that the US is a major contributor to these international agreements.
Harmon said that he is positive that the global push for a cleaner, greener planet will aid Guyana and smaller states to overcome the effects of the projected withdrawal.
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