As they were talking about the country’s newly discovered offshore oilfields, Guyana President Irfaan Ali and BBC host Stephen Sackur got into a heated debate about climate change.

Latest News Updates : When journalist Sackur questioned Irfaan Ali about Guyana’s intentions to drill oil from its freshly discovered oil reserves, he did not approve. It is anticipated that 150 billion dollars’ worth of oil and gas will be mined off your coast in the next ten or so years. It’s a remarkable figure. However, practically speaking, that implies that your seabed will emit two billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, according to Sackur.

Immediately after, President Ali interrupted, saying, “Let me stop you right there! Did you know that we have managed to preserve 19.5 gigatons of carbon stored in a forest the size of Scotland and England combined? That forest is found in Guyana.

He then threw a flurry of counterpoints at Sackur. Sackur attempted to respond by enquiring as to if he had the authority to emit carbon into the atmosphere in order to preserve Guyana’s trees.

In answer, Ali became clearly furious and asked, “Does that give you the right to lecture us about climate change? I’m going to give you a climate change lecture. We have preserved this forest that you and everyone else appreciates but that you don’t value or pay us for. What do you think? Our rate of deforestation is the lowest globally! What do you think? We won’t reach net zero even with the largest oil and gas development.

This is the world’s level of hypocrisy. Sixty-five percent of the world’s biodiversity has disappeared in the previous fifty years. We’ve held onto ours,” he continued.

Next, Sackur was asked if he was “in the pockets of those who destroy the environment through the Industrial Revolution” by the furious Guyanese President.

One is also reminded of discussions surrounding the topic of carbon imperialism by the back and forth between the Guyanese President and the BBC journalist. Developing economies refer to the West and Global North as “carbon imperialists,” believing that by lecturing them about carbon emissions and neglecting the fact that developed countries will need to rely on carbon for growth in a carbon-based economy, they are forcing their opinions on environmental conservation.

In recent years, ExxonMobil and other oil firms have found commercially significant amounts of oil in the Essequibo region, the Guyana-Suriname basin, and off the coast of Guyana.

With approximately 11 billion barrels of reserves, Guyana has the potential to become a developed nation with higher per capita growth due to its oil fields. The country is ranked in the top 20 with massive reserves of gas and oil beneath its coastal waters, placing it on par with Norway, Brazil, and Algeria.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reports that Guyana’s economy grew by 62% last year, making it the fastest-growing in South America. Additionally, the IMF projected that the country’s GDP per person will surpass $60,000. When the oil deposits were originally found in 2015, it was $11,000.


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