Nov 22, 2021 Letters
A week after the conclusion of the Glasgow summit where an agreement was reached on carbon emission reduction, will nations honour the agreement? Glasgow has set climate action goals annually, every five years, by 2030, 2050, and 2070. Countries must respond now to those goals to take action and reduce emission. Was it all talk or will countries walk the talk? Governments must take immediate steps on carbon emissions – reduce use of fossil fuels and burning coal and wood, while preserving forests – to protect the planet.
Strong domestic pressure by environmental groups in every country and by citizen activists will be required to push government to take action.
We are all imperiled by global warming – rising ocean levels that threaten flooding of our coastland. Our very own existence is at stake. Thus, we must all act together to reduce carbon emission – reduce driving, encourage recycling, among other basic actions. As President Ali said, we are all in this together and all must act in concert.
Carbon emission is primarily responsible for global warming. The developed countries have been the main culprit behind carbon emissions and global warming. Will they do their part as promised? President Ali implored upon them to take effective actions to reduce emissions.
The President noted that while Guyana is a newly emerging oil producing nation, fossil fuel production is not getting subsidies and he urged other nations to end their subsidies. There is an agreement for phasing down of unabated coal power and phasing out of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.
The poorer or developing countries are now pursuing development that will only add to carbon emissions as they can’t afford green energy as yet. They need financial assistance to go green (wind, solar, hydro, thermal) so as not to wrought further destruction to the environment by depending almost exclusively on fossil fuels (oil, gas) and wood and coal. Will the rich countries assist the less developed countries? In the past, they have not been very generous resulting in the developing countries relying almost exclusively on fossil fuels for their energy.
President Ali has committed Guyana will do its part to honour the Glasgow agreements. He pledges to cut emissions by 70 percent by 2030. The Glasgow plan is to reduce emissions to zero by 2050. Guyana would get there because Guyana is not a larger user of energy and the forests absorb a lot of carbon produced in Guyana. But the President rightly cautioned that the developed nations have not been doing their part to cut emissions or honour pledges of assistance to the developing countries. The President commits to low carbon development strategy and to create green jobs and urges the world to follow suit.
The President noted that although Guyana recently became an oil-producing nation, the country supports the removal of subsidies from fossil fuel production and advocates for a strong global carbon price.
And the President also discussed the importance of forests in reducing or controlling carbon emissions. Forests trap carbon. The rich countries must give assistance to or pay the developing countries to protect their forests rather than chop down trees for firewood. As the President implored “we must finalise the rules for carbon markets and REDD+ so as to properly value tropical forests and the climate services which they provide” and assist the developing countries accordingly”.
Guyana’s forests are huge, almost the size of Scotland and England combined. And it is largely preserved. Were Guyana to engage in deforestation, it would add enormously to carbon increase in the environment. Guyana should receive fair compensation from the wealthy countries for forest preservation. Norway is currently offering assistance of some US$50M annually for the preservation of the forest but Guyana deserves greater financial reward not just from Norway but other countries also. And Guyana’s Latin American and Caribbean partners deserve similar assistance to reduce their dependence on fossil fuel and to preserve forests.
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