Jun 26, 2022 Editorial
Kaieteur News – It may be argued, as horrible as it sounds, that Vladimir Putin, did the world a favour. His so-called ‘special military operation’ in the Ukraine has opened the eyes of many powerful global players of yet another damaging fallout from continued overemphasis and overdependence on fossil fuels, long the reigning king of energy. The continued pressure on food prices, the squeeze on European natural gas supplies, with winter looming just a few short months ahead, and the devastations of greenhouse emissions and climate change have all seemingly brought the world to its senses. In short, it is madness to keep going down the same road, and offer self (individual countries) as helpless hostages to the fossil fuel addictions.
There is an answer that provides a way out of the stranglehold that fossil fuel and its byproducts have over the world. When it is approached partially and gradually, but with a determined attitude and increasing swiftness, then renewables go a long way in solving the problems associated with fossil fuels; or, at least, giving an option to be considered wisely and seriously. Renewables is the direction in which more places on this planet are leaning with conviction and strength. It is a matter of economics, and of survival also. For when there is an endangered planet, an already wounded one in many areas, then the instinct for self-preservation takes over, and towers over all other considerations. Thus, renewables are gaining more and traction, and increasingly come across as the alternative to be pursued.
The UN is pushing hard towards this kind of thinking. It makes for wisdom, given what the science of climate change has proven beyond argument, other than those from mega oil company leaders. The fact that it is cheaper and cleaner are among the chief selling points. Many countries are climbing on to that bandwagon because they have been hurt repeatedly by the volatile nature of fossil fuels, inclusive of its supply, its prices, and its power and record for holding whole nations, if not hemispheres, to ransom. In other words, fossil fuels can be too easily weaponised, and the world has grown impatient with being victimised from time to time.
This kind of talk and this degree of insistence surrounding moving away from fossil fuels pose a problem for Guyana. As a new oil producer there is great enthusiasm to capitalise on our good fortune, which has its merits. After all, the oil staying in the ground is not a sensible posture, not with a poverty-stricken nation looking eagerly at its expected prosperities. The urge to produce oil, and as much of it as quickly as such can be done, has taken hold of leaders. It is going in a direction different from that being pressed for by the world, and is already attracting much attention.
Our position at this paper is simple, and we believe that it is wise. We must take advantage of our oil and gas wealth with an eye to the leadership temperature in the global environment, but with the necessary benefits in place in both the financial and environmental spheres. The talk is of transition, and from many authoritative sources. Our own regional Caribbean Development Bank head has called for this transition, but that it must be prudent. The region must go about it carefully, but not as slowly as has been the case. There must be acceleration, and the answer is in a combination of fossils and renewables, with more intense weaning away from the former.
Our oil leader, Vice President Jagdeo disagrees. It is our gift, and we must make use of it, hence, we must produce, regardless of what the rest of the world is doing. Interestingly, this former Champion of the Earth is now a dogged fossil fuel convert. Strangely, he says that renewables using solar, wind and water sources are “very, very expensive” (KN June 21) when compared to the greater than US$1B Gas-to-Energy (GTE) project he prefers. We still don’t know the final cost of that GTE project, yet he makes the comparison with such thoughtless zeal. It is either that he is missing the boat or, as Guyanese say, the boat already gone over falls.
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