Compensation needed for forest preservation

– Min. Bharrat

Guyana has recommitted to sustaining its forest in the fight against climate change, making it clear that developed nations must provide compensation. 

Natural Resources Minister, Vickram Bharrat

Natural Resources Minister Vickram Bharrat called on developed countries to support developing nations protect the environment.

Delivering the feature address at a delegation dinner for the International Solar Alliance’s Fourth Regional Meeting of the Latin America and Caribbean Region on Thursday, the minister said Guyana will play its part in the fight against climate change.

“We will continue our economic activities, but we will do so in a responsible, sustainable manner. We will keep our forest, but we need to be compensated. We need to ensure that there is economic livelihood for our people when we do so,” he told stakeholders.

Minister within the Ministry of Public Works, Deodat Indar

He said Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) 2030 initiative will guide the country on best practices regarding the management of its natural resources.

While Guyana is now an oil and gas producing nation, it is also a net zero emitter of carbon dioxide with forest coverage of 86 per cent, second in the world to Suriname.

Director General of the International Solar Alliance, Dr Ajay Mathur

Minister Bharrat added that Guyana has been able to effectively maintain 99.5 per cent of its forest which has the capacity to hold 19.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide.

Activities such as logging and mining, which provide economic support for Guyanese, have in no way affected Guyana’s ability to fight climate change, the minister said.

Despite being a net zero carbon emitter, the country is working on an energy mix of solar, wind, hydro, and natural gas that will provide more reliable energy.

Delegates gathered at the dinner for the International Solar Alliance’s Fourth Regional Meeting of the Latin America and Caribbean Region.

Nevertheless, Minister Bharrat said “we need to have solid commitment to say that the developed countries will assist these smaller developing countries… or you have a forest…you keep your forest and we will ensure you are net zero by 2050 and we will ensure that the transition from fossil to renewable.

That is the kind of commitment we need as we move forward. Otherwise, it will always be a gaff. We will come back, we will go again, we will go to different forums and we will continue to gaff. So, I want us to think how we will actually achieve it,” the minister stated.

Meanwhile, the Minister within the Public Works Ministry Deodat Indar reminded the delegation of how support from developed countries has in the past helped developing countries fight climate change.

He said when Guyana developed its first LCDS in 2009, the country was able to sell carbon credits to the Kingdom of Norway for US$250 million. He added that Guyana was able to use some of the money to invest in solar energy.

Director General of the International Solar Alliance, Dr. Ajay Mathur, called for countries to fully embrace the use of solar energy. He said the ISA will continue its relationship with Guyana and the Caribbean to advance the use of solar power.