Eyewitness: Climate commitments…

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana

…in Edinburg

Your Eyewitness is bemused by the outrage of some of the chatterati from Georgetown, and (mostly) foreign, over President Ali telling the COP 26 crowd that Guyana will be cutting its emissions by 70% come 2030. Well…how dare he do this and hadn’t consulted the “Guyanese people”!! Those same good folks, however, have been demanding we leave our 10 billion barrels of oil and counting (with our toes now!!) under the Atlantic Ocean.

Did they consult the rest of the Guyanese population – especially those of us who have to live in our (squalid) Third World conditions while they “cock-up dem foot” in foreign?
You bet they didn’t…but they boldly and arrogantly speak for all “Guyana”!! Never mind the President had already committed to holding NATIONAL consultations on the question of our programme on Climate Change. One local who weighed in was “Joinder” MP Schuman – member of our Indigenous People’s – who complained his folks weren’t consulted. Well, they ARE an important cog in our Climate mitigation efforts, being guardians of our forests and interior regions.

And they’ve been consulted all along during the Norway REDD arrangement, through which we collected some US$250M for conserving our forests. And they WILL be consulted in the next few months. The point of the matter is that forest conservation will only be one part of our overall Climate measure. And we will be monetising this along the lines of the Norway deal, or with the carbon credit market that maybe will finally become a viable reality after COP26. Indigenous Peoples will directly benefit – as they did in the past from these funds.

Your Eyewitness understands that it would’ve been best to hold the consultations before going off to Edinburgh. But the situation that the President and his Cabinet found themselves in after the 5-month holdout by Granger wasn’t exactly conducive to country outreaches. Has everyone forgotten the riots of West Berbice? The need for the 2021 Budget to be compiled within months to meet the statutory deadline? The COVID pandemic and vaccine hesitancy? The protests by teachers? The PNC certainly left them with a barrage of challenges!!

So, the President merely presented an aspirational target for our efforts – which we will attempt to achieve through hydro, solar and wind power, natural gas rather than heavy oil, and of course our carbon-capturing forests! All of this must be done within the Government’s GREATER responsibility to improve our living standards by slashing unemployment through policies that encourage the Private Sector to establish more businesses.

The developed countries – the biggest transgressors – reneged on commitments from 2015. Did the chatterati censor them?
We’ll simply do our best to do the right thing!!

…and apocalypse now?

Well, the biggest contributors to Global Warming, not coincidentally, are also the most developed economies, and they have a nice cozy club called “G-20”. They comprise 80% of world GDP, 75% of global trade, and 60% of the world’s population! So, as they go, the world follows! They met just before COP26 started in Edinburgh, and gave us a precursor as what we should expect from them by next week, when the Conference winds down. And that foreshadowing wasn’t such good news for those of us who see disaster ahead if they don’t reign in their inexorable drive to consume more and more – driven by fossil fuel power. They only cagily noted “the key relevance” of halting net emissions “by or around mid-century” – with no commitments on coal.

“This was a moment for the G20 to act with the responsibility they have as the biggest emitters, yet we only see half-measures rather than concrete urgent action,” said sustainable development advocacy group Global Citizen.

…and the poor

G-20 failed to meet their pledge on “climate financing” – their 2009 pledge to provide $100 billion per year by 2020 to help developing countries tackle climate change.
Generating “Climate reduction hesitancy” among developing nations to accelerate their emissions redactions!