In face of climate change, LCDS 2030 is now more important than ever – UN Resident Coordinator 

In the face of the climate crisis, and as countries race to net-zero, Guyana’s new and expanded Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) 2030 is a model that “is now more important than ever”.

Expressing this sentiment is the United Nations Resident Coordinator to Guyana, Yeşim Oruç, in her World Environment Day message. 

The coordinator outlined three critical areas in the LCDS 2030, that, if achieved in a sustainable way could transform the country and the lives of its citizens, as well as play a part in achieving global climate goals. She listed these as clean energy, biodiversity protection and pollution. 

“Specifically, Guyana’s ambitions on energy are crucial,” Oruç pointed out. “If LCDS targets are achieved, it would see the country meet a ten-fold increase in demand for electricity supply by 2040, whilst retaining greenhouse gas emissions at 2018 levels. This would be an extraordinary example of how economic growth can be decoupled from carbon emissions.”

As part of the LCDS 2030, Guyana looks to stimulate future growth that is powered with clean and renewable energy – namely hydropower, solar power, wind power and gas-to-energy. The Amaila Falls Hydropower project, following recent developments, may need to be retendered. 

However, the other energy projects are already in advanced stages with studies ongoing for the 300MW gas-t0-energy plan. As it relates to the US$45M Hope Wind Farm in Mahaica, it was last reported that the company awaits the signing of a power-purchase agreement with Guyana’s power utility company. The completion of this project is anticipated for 2030 (Q3). 

On the end of solar energy, the government is well on its way to implementing 33MW solar farms across the country – particularly on the Essequibo Coast, Linden, and Berbice. Impressively, by 2030, it is anticipated that 70% of Guyana’s energy mix will be supplied through clean and renewable energy sources. 

Meanwhile, on inter-governmental platforms, the UN Resident Coordinator related her anticipation that Guyana, like the other, developing states, will continue to call on the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitters, both historically and contemporary, to decarbonise their economies much faster than the current trend, while calling them out on their responsibilities to meet the critical US$100 billion financing for climate change adaptation needs of developing countries, particularly SIDS. 

On biodiversity protection, Oruç stated that Guyana’s protection of its rainforest is an achievement of which the country is rightly proud.

“Working with indigenous communities, the guardians of the country’s biodiversity is already an invaluable strategy for rainforest protection and remains key. Likewise, the government’s commitment to expanding the country’s officially protected areas beyond the current 8.5% is important, not least because in Kumming, China later this year, countries will be asked to adopt a new international framework for biodiversity, including a global target to protect 30% of terrestrial and marine ecosystems by 2030,” she explained. 

On the topic of pollution, the UN representative went on to commend Guyana’s National Oil Spill Contingency Plan, which she labelled “critical to ensure readiness for a worst-case scenario.” 

Further to the issue of pollution Oruç said, “Guyana’s preparations to transform its use and disposal of plastics will be in the spotlight following the historic UN Environment Assembly 2022. Guyana, along with 175 other countries, agreed to develop a comprehensive source to seas international treaty on plastics management by 2024. The health of Guyana’s terrestrial and marine ecosystem depends to a significant extent on the country’s overall management of its various waste streams, including plastics.” 

Meanwhile, President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, in his World Environment Day address on Sunday, highlighted that the presence of the UN Coordinator in Guyana sends a signal of the global nature of the issue of climate change. 

“Regardless of how big a country you’re from, or how small a country you’re from; how rich a country you’re from, or how poor a country you’re from; this is an issue that confronts us all and unless every single global citizen is willing and ready to make the necessary changes then, unfortunately, we will not and cannot have the results that will secure our One Planet,” President Ali had expressed. 

Nationwide consultations on the draft LCDS 2030 are still ongoing. Feedback from those engagements will be reviewed and added to the final document, which will be presented in the National Assembly in just a matter of weeks. 

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