Market-based incentives integral to achieving net-zero emissions – VP Jagdeo

As the United Nations Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP28), continue to zero in on effective solutions for tackling climate change and limiting global carbon emissions, Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo has reiterated the call for climate financing and forest incentives to achieve these goals.

In an interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) News on the sidelines of COP28, Dr. Jagdeo touted Guyana’s expanded Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) 2030, as a viable solution to promoting forest preservation, while ensuring people-centred development.

Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo with President of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva at COP28

He said Guyana stands on a platform that demonstrates the value of implementing market-based mechanisms and incentives to push forest conservation, thus reducing the carbon footprint.

Recently, Guyana became the first country to earn money for protecting its rainforests through the sale of its carbon credits under the Architecture for REDD+ Transactions (ART) TREES credit programme. The agreement signed with Hess Corporation saw Hess purchasing high-quality carbon credits for a minimum of US$750 million. Carbon credits provide financial incentives to preserve forests and biodiversity that are at risk due to the growing economic activities and demand for natural resources.

With some 80 million hectares of intact forests and the second-highest percentage of forest cover on earth, Guyana could earn about US$2.5 billion in the next 10 years, according to the vice president, by capitalising on favourable market conditions. 

“Considering we’re just one per cent of tropical forests, the remaining 99 per cent have had less than US$2.5 billion pledged for conservation. There is a paucity of public funds, and given the inability of the world to capitalise the GCF (Green Climate Fund) and to put money in the loss and damage fund at adequate levels, you’re not going to find adequate public monies to outcompete the alternate use of the forest. That’s why the market is so important. An incentive should be created to grow the market-based approach to preserving forests,” he explained.

From the sale of its carbon credits, the government has allocated 85 per cent for adaptation measures, while 15 per cent has been set aside for indigenous communities.  A total of 242 Amerindian communities have received their 15 per cent allocation, and these monies fund some 500 projects in those communities.

At COP28, Guyana is pushing for climate adaptation funding for small and developing nations to realise the global net-zero emissions vision.  This goal, according to the government, can be made possible through the implementation of market-based mechanisms for forest conservation, the reduction of fossil fuel production, and the removal of large polluters from the supply chain.