‘There must be fairness in the global energy transition’ – Min. Bharrat

The issue of energy security continues to dominate countless regional and international engagement platforms. It remains a critical topic of discussion as the world continues to explore options to transition to cleaner and renewable energy sources to significantly reduce greenhouse emissions.

However, a key component of this global conversation is common and differentiated responsibility.

Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat

This is according to Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat who on Tuesday emphasised the need for justice and equity in this transition to renewable energy.

The notion of common but differentiated responsibility demonstrates the global responsibility to address environmental degradation but recognises that all countries are not equally responsible.

“If you look at countries in the CARICOM, countries in the African continent, we probably have the lowest carbon footprint in the world. Yet we preserve two of the major forests in the world as well, the Amazon and the Congo. So, there must be fairness. It must be a just and equitable transition,” the minister said on Day Two of the Guyana Energy Conference and Supply Chain Expo, which is being held at the Marriott Hotel under the theme ‘Fuelling transformation and modernisation’.

He continued, “We must be allowed too, to use our natural resources, to develop our natural resources sustainably and responsibly. So, we can get the resources to transition to renewable energy. Otherwise, we will never achieve the target of 100% renewable by 205o.”

Minister Bharrat highlighted that during a recent conference held in Barbados, it was reported that the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) needs at least US$14 billion to achieve 47 per cent renewable energy.

“Now who is going to bring or give US$14 billion to the CARICOM nation? And we are not looking at it because we understand that every single country in the world, they have their responsibilities, they have their challenges, they have their priorities,” the natural resources minister posited.

Importantly, it is crucial that these countries continue to explore and produce natural resources, and use the revenue garnered to facilitate that transition, Minister Bharrat said.  

According to the minister, accessibility and affordability are also key pillars behind energy security. Consequently, there must be increased investment in renewable energy to realise this vision in small and developing countries.

“We are told that we need to move away from fossil fuels and that we need to achieve 100% renewable energy but is there enough investment in moving towards renewable energy and are there enough resources being made available to move towards renewable energy? You ask any country in the world, what is the challenge? What is the reason why you’re not moving as fast as we should towards renewable energy? And there is one answer that will be given to you. Resources, finances, money. It’s costly. It’s costly to transition to renewable energy,” the minister explained. 

During the Conference of Parties (COP28) held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) last year, the government championed this very notion, and several countries have indicated their intentions to facilitate a reduction in their reliance on fossil fuels.

However, Vice President, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo lamented that there must be a system of accountability put in place to ensure that these countries uphold their commitments.

At the conference, Guyana advocated for the establishment of market-based mechanisms to promote forest conservation based on the Low Carbon Development Strategy 2030 (LCDS 2030).

In this regard, the country has embarked on a pathway that will see the country earning US$750 million in ten years through the sale of its carbon credit to Hess Corporation in the voluntary carbon markets.