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President, Vice President in Dubai for Climate Summit. Why? – News Room Guyana

By Neil Marks in Dubai

neil@newsroom.gy 

President Irfaan Ali and Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo are amongst leaders who’ve arrived in Dubai for the annual climate summit of the United Nations.

Why are they here? It may possibly’t be because they wish to escape the warmth. This place is HOT!

And besides, they were 27 of those summits before. Why is there one other? Isn’t this a chat shop?

Long before Guyana stunned the world with its prolific oil discoveries and started earning big from the production of oil greater than 100 miles within the ocean, it was famous for something else on land– its trees.

These trees cover 85% of its landmass – the dimensions of Britain. Other countries have bulldozed their jungles to develop lands for large-scale projects, resembling agriculture and mining, because they should lift people out of poverty and earn money to do things like constructing roads and bridges and other activities to develop their economies.

View of the rainforest from Guyana’s Kaieteur Falls (Photo by Dallas Reeves on Flickr)

Guyana has argued which you could make big money to develop without cutting down the trees. And that’s an enormous reason why the President and Vice President have travelled here.

That is the centerstage for any and the whole lot about forests and why they mustn’t be cut down; and it’s also the place where yow will discover the people to place money into Guyana.

This concept of paying countries for the services its forests provide shouldn’t be new. It has been championed by Dr Jagdeo when he was in President.

The truth is, it was back in 2006 at a summit of Commonwealth Finance Ministers held in Georgetown that Dr Jagdeo made a forest pledge: Guyana would keep the forests standing if money may very well be earned by doing so.

And he has walked up and down these climate summits to get the world to know the vital role of forests in protecting planet earth from climate change, particularly with its forests sucking in carbon dioxide, one in every of the gases that causes climate change, bringing about extreme weather events resembling fires and flooding never seen before.

Water from the Atlantic Ocean overtopping the seawall and flooding a coastal community (Photo courtesy of REEL Guyana)

Guyanese may not understand the ‘nitty gritty’ of climate change, but they feel it and it might probably be ruthless. Just think back to 2005 when a fantastic flood devastated the coast. The destruction it caused was put at about US$500 million – half of the annual cost to run the country on the time. Some 290,000 people were affected, almost half of the country’s population.

Today, many communities are reeling from the prolonged dry season, with water tanks having to be bought for some so that they can store water. The dry spell has driven up prices for fruit and veggies, with sources of fresh water at dangerous low levels. And the numerous bush fires have scared many.

The truth is, on the opening of the climate summit in Dubai Thursday, the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres identified that 2023 will likely be the most well liked yr in history.

Our biggest weakness to climate change is probably the rising sea. At high tide, the coast, where most individuals live and where most government and personal business takes place, is an excellent five to 6 feet below sea level. Money is required to accumulate the concrete seawall that keeps the ocean out and maintain and expand the system of canals to flush water out when there are heavy downpours that overwhelm the system.

Flashback to 2009: Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, who was Guyana’s President on the time, and Norway’s Minister of the Environment and International
Development Erik Solheim, signing an agreement where Norway would offer
Guyana with result-based payments for forest climate services (Photo taken from digital copy of LCDS 2030)

Norway was the primary country to purchase into then President Jagdeo’s crusade for forest payments, signing a US$250 million deal back in 2009. That signing got here with the launch of the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS), designed as a model for the world. No country anywhere else had produced such a method that might display how trees might be value more alive than dead.

The cash from the forest-saving cope with Norway would go into several projects to learn indigenous and native communities.

But a greater deal was needed to get extra money. There was need for a mechanism to place a price to each ton of carbon stored in our trees after which offer that up on the market.

Guyana’s government inked a historic pact with the Hess Corporation. The corporate’s CEO John Hess is seated at right and Abena Moore, Everlasting Secretary within the Office of the President is seated at left. Also in photo is President Dr. Irfaan Ali (third right), Prime Minister Brigadier (Ret’d) mark Phillips (centre), Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo (third left) and other officials (Office of the President photo)

That was achieved, and a yr ago, the American firm Hess Corporation bought in, agreeing to pay Guyana USD$750 million for the carbon stored in its trees. But that was just 30% of the carbon; there’s far more on offer.

In 2021, President Ali launched a refined model of the LCDS with a vision towards 2030. His idea is that Guyana can prepared the ground within the Caribbean and further afield within the areas of climate security, energy security and food security – principally that Guyana can give you practical solutions to the issues the world faces.

So President Ali and Dr Jagdeo will likely be trying to get others to purchase into LCDS 2030 and carbon credits could be a principal concentration.

There may very well be countries and large corporations trying to offset the quantity of harmful gases they’re releasing into the atmosphere due to their operations and are searching for avenues that might allow them a balancing act.

Guyana may very well be their answer and President Ali and Vice President Jagdeo could be trying to persuade them that Guyana shouldn’t be just a spot to purchase carbon. This can be a country that deliberately identified how it might probably help solve the climate crisis – by keeping the forests standing so it might probably sequester carbon – and it’s acting in accordance with the answer forests provide.

And by serving that global good, the country advantages from the sale of carbon since the funding goes to support the event of the national economy and native communities specifically.

And the people Ali and Jagdeo are searching for are at this climate summit in Dubai: powerhouse leaders, owners and CEOs of the world’s strongest firms, and plenty of others.

Among the many “others” could be those that set the foundations on how the trade in carbon evolves. They include influential officials from big, developed nations in addition to private sector players. Guyana desires to make sure that it gets premium price for the forests it has, since it’s not only the trees. The forests are prized for the wide selection of plant and animal life and the opposite ecological services resembling freshwater and wetlands.

“This forest has value and that value have to be understood, and fairly priced,” said President Ali in an interview with the News Room in Dubai.

He insisted “a good price structure must emerge.”

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