Sep 23, 2021 News
– Jagdeo, Ali want oil resource exploited no matter the consequences – Janki
By Kiana Wilburg
Kaieteur News – Following the release of two damning reports this year—by the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the International Energy Agency (IEA)—which call for no new fossil fuel projects in the interest of steering clear of increasing global temperature, many industry stakeholders have been watching Guyana closely to see its next move.
Much to the disappointment of several reputable industry experts and analysts, President, Dr. Irfaan Ali, and his Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, have categorically stated that there is no stopping the oil exploration and production offshore Guyana, particularly in the ExxonMobil operated Stabroek Block.In fact, both high ranking officials have proffered that Guyana has more than played its fair share over the years in being a net carbon sink, and now that it has discovered enviable amounts of oil and gas, it will be produced and sold with the revenue acquired, used to fuel immediate health, education and infrastructural needs. Just last month, President Ali made it clear that Guyana should not be made to stymie its development in the interest of a climate catastrophe it has not caused while citing the fact that the big economies responsible for the global phenomenon have yet to provide the funding promised to help nations in the Caribbean mitigate the effects of climate change.
While the foregoing justification for pumping more oil has placated the concerns of some stakeholders, it has only fuelled the worry of others such as International Lawyer and Author of Guyana’s Environmental Laws, Ms. Melinda Janki.
During a recent appearance on Kaieteur Radio’s Programme, Governance, Corruption and Justice, Janki expressed that the position of the President and Vice President, the leading voices on Guyana’s oil, “is extremely irresponsible, dangerous and of course foolish.”
Janki said, “…Perhaps they are looking at the short term oil revenue to come but it is still utterly self defeating for Guyana. The Vice President has said that climate change is an existential threat. Therefore, why would they do anything to make that phenomenon worse? Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) definitely make the situation worse and this is supported by the IPCC report.” Janki was keen to point out that Guyana’s development of its nine billion barrels of oil equivalent resources in the Stabroek Block is equivalent to detonating a carbon bomb as it would release over 4 billion tones of GHGs and other toxic chemicals. Janki stressed as well that the environmental effects of developing this resource will be detrimental to not only Guyana but its Caribbean counterparts too.
She said Ali and Jagdeo have been elected to protect the nation and are acutely aware of the dangers of climate change. She said it is therefore clear that Guyana is gripped by the oil curse as the government wants to do oil no matter the consequences to the country.
With reference to Ali’s point that Guyana and other nations are yet to see the promised climate funding from the perpetrators of the climate change phenomenon, Janki said she agrees that they have to play their role in providing the requisite solutions. She stressed however that this does not mean Guyana has free reign or the right to walk the same pathway.
She further noted, “It really is embarrassing for Guyana to be cap in hand talking about it needs money or support because the truth of the matter is that Guyana is a rich country and it has had money but that has been squandered over the years on white elephant projects. How much has been spent on the Amaila Falls Project in the beginning and on the Skeldon Sugar Factory?”
The lawyer continues, “We have had 50 years of economic mismanagement and 25 to 30 years of giving cheap deals in exchange for our resources to foreigners such as Omai Gold Mines, BaiShanLin, Barama and the list is endless. And then there is the utterly atrocious Stabroek Block deal.”
Janki further noted that when in opposition, the PPP/C was keen on noting that it would do right by the people with oil and gas. Based on her observations, this has turned out to be far from reality. Janki said the nation saw that the government rushed through for example, the approval for ExxonMobil’s Field Development Plan for the Payara field in the Stabroek Block. Janki reminded that the approval process was rushed without the concerns of Guyanese on key environmental matters being addressed. She recalled too, the outrage that followed with the government rushing the approval process in a matter of weeks with the assistance of Canada. Taking these and other key issues into consideration, Janki is of the firm conviction that the oil curse has gripped Guyana.
ABOUT IPCC & ITS REPORT
The IPCC was created in 1988 by the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to provide policymakers with regular scientific assessments on climate change, its implications and potential future risks, as well as to put forward adaptation and mitigation options.
Through its assessments, the IPCC determines the state of knowledge on climate change. It identifies where there is agreement in the scientific community on topics related to climate change, and where further research is needed.
The IPCC is now in its sixth assessment cycle. The first report from this process is called Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis.
The report addresses the most up-to-date physical understanding of the climate system and climate change, bringing together the latest advances in climate science, and combining multiple lines of evidence from paleoclimate, observations, process understanding, and global and regional climate simulations. A total of 234 scientists from 66 countries are behind the first chapter of the IPCC’s sixth assessment report. Also, over 14,000 scientific papers are referenced in the report.
Some of the key findings of the report are as follows:
• Keeping to 1.5 Degrees Celsius will require “immediate, rapid and large-scale reductions” in emissions while slower action leads to a temperature of 2 Degrees Celsius and more suffering for all life on Earth.
• Drought is increasing in more than 90 percent of Regions across the world.
• The past five years have been the hottest on record since 1850.
• The recent rate of sea-level rise has nearly tripled compared with 1901-1971.
• Extreme sea-level events that occurred once a century are projected to occur at least annually.
• Under all the emissions scenarios considered, all targets for reductions will be broken this century unless huge cuts in carbon emissions take place.
• 2,400 billion tonnes of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) have been emitted by humanity since 1850. The world can afford to only leak another 400 billion tonnes to have a 66 percent chance of keeping to 1.5 Degrees Celsius.
• Many changes due to past and future greenhouse gas emissions are irreversible for centuries to millennia, especially changes in the ocean, ice sheets and global sea level.
• Under scenarios with increasing CO2 emissions, the ocean and land carbon sinks are projected to be less effective at slowing the accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere.
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