By Svetlana Marshall
President Irfaan Ali told world leaders today that climate action cannot be to the detriment of the world’s developing countries and poorest people, as he made a case for hybrid measures to form part of the solution to achieving net zero by 2050.
The President addressed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of Parties (COP) 28 in Dubai earlier today.
He said COP 28 will not achieve the desired objectives of putting the planet on a net zero trajectory, if the world continues to be divided on the matter.
“If the debate at COP 28 is framed by two camps: one calling for no cuts in fossil fuel production, including the most polluting form such as coal, and the other saying that the only solution to net zero is an end to fossil fuel production, then we will fail once again to achieve a viable outcome, and not to give our world the energy it needs to grow and prosper,” President Ali said.
He said what is needed, is a hybrid of measures to achieve the target by 2050.
“I believe that net zero by 2050 as a target can only be achieved by a combination of measures that include: a reduction in the fossil fuel production and the removal of large polluters out of the supply chain – and we reiterate our call for the removal of subsidies; incentivising the introduction of renewables at scale; addressing the demand for energy; upscaling technology, for example, carbon capture and storage; and reduction in deforestation and land degradation through incentivising the protection and sustainable management of forests,” the President told the world leaders.
The President urged the Conference of Parties to agree to a just, orderly and affordable transition away from excessive fossil fuel use, and a transition that also includes accessible climate finance for developing countries and actions that could result in the maintenance of tropical forests and sustainable land use.
“Specifically, on tropical forests, this COP must finally turn the promise of climate action into reality. Halting and reversing forest loss globally by 2030 is potentially one third of the available solution to keep 1.5 degrees in reach. Finance is key and Guyana is pleased to co-chair the carbon markets working group of the Forest and Climate Leaders Partnership, consisting of 30 countries. Along with our partners in the FCLP, we will be working to build high quality carbon markets so that forest communities and countries can prosper while keeping nature intact,” the President said.
He said Guyana was the first developing country, in 2008, to produce a Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS), and today, maintains one of the world’s most intact tropical forests.
The President said even with the production of oil, Guyana intends to remain a carbon net-positive country.
“Our economy will grow more than three-fold while keeping energy-related emissions flat. We are building an ecosystem services economy, with forest carbon markets generating 4.5% of government income this year alone,” he said.
It was noted that the forest carbon markets are also creating revenue for more than 500 LCDS projects across indigenous and other communities while funding one of Guyana’s biggest ever investments in adaptation.
Vice President, Bharrat Jagdeo is among Guyanese officials attending the conference with the President.