Guyana actively pursuing Net Zero emissions by 2050 through transformative energy plans – Ali
…urges regional leaders to rectify disparities, address emissions
President Dr Irfaan Ali has shared that Guyana is poised to lead the Net Zero by 2050 Agenda, through its robust plans for energy security and renewable generation, while continuously recording increased economic prosperity.
The United Nations Global Roadmap sets out the target that the world must achieve net zero emissions by 2050. It involves balancing the amount of greenhouse gas produced and the amount removed from the atmosphere.
At the annual Caribbean Sustainable Energy Conference on Monday, the Guyanese Head of State shared that energy security remains central to net zero, and Government is already undertaking efforts to create an onshore low carbon economy, that will further cut emissions while maintaining environmental sustainability.
“Guyana is pursing environmental sustainability through energy security and implementation of its Low Carbon Development Strategy. Energy security through greater use of renewables will help to reduce our carbon footprint. The country’s Low Carbon Development Strategy will ensure greater protection for the environment. We can show how net zero by 2050 is possible while guaranteeing prosperity. Guyana will remain a strong advocate for greater international cooperation, to reverse the adverse effects of climate change,” Ali told the high-level forum.
According to him, Guyana has not taken refuge in the fact that more than 80 per cent of the country sports vast forest cover, absorbing more greenhouse gases than it produces. Despite being a net carbon sink, it is still exploring all avenues to cut emissions.
At the 26th session of the Conference of Parties (COP26) last November, Guyana had committed to reduce carbon emissions by 70 per cent by 2030. The cleaner energy mix to be undertaken involves the use of natural gas through a 250-megawatt plant, reducing the use of fossil fuel. This is in combination with the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project and solar farms.
Last Thursday, Brazil, Suriname and Guyana agreed in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to explore the development of an energy corridor, linking the three states.
The LCDS is also being expanded to include the provision of environmental services, the protection of biodiversity and water resources, the development of marine economy and the promotion of climate resilience. The enhanced LCDS would allow Guyana to further decarbonise onshore economic activities.
Electricity generation and heating accounts for more than 25 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. The Head of State said these efforts come as countries cannot reduce generation, thereby putting pressure on economic growth. Rather, it must diversify to cleaner generation, pushing investors’ confidence in such reliable energy.
“Action to reduce greenhouse emissions in a generation of electricity remains a focal point for meeting the goal of net zero by 2050. Energy security remains a key focus in ensuring global environmental sustainability. We cannot reduce energy generation in the near or medium term since this will impact negatively on economic growth and prosperity. We therefore have to ensure energy security by diversifying our generation.”
With pledges being made by countries to tackle this feat, the President urged leaders to first examine their readiness, in looking holistically at continued economic growth simultaneously.
The President probed, “Net zero cannot be an abstract or it cannot be in abstract of food security, good social services, economical growth and national prosperity. Are we ready to address developmental gaps, global inequality and disparities, uneven trade relations? Because all of these impact countries’ ability to achieve net zero.”
As such, the Guyanese Leader said countries should not be asking how they can achieve net zero by 2050 but whether they can afford not to.
“The scientific community has made its predictions. Life on the planet would become perilous should the rise in global temperatures not be checked. The target of net zero by 2050 is therefore imperative for the survival of the planet. As all global leaders agree, the big question is how can this be achieved? Is the capital available? Is investment available? Is the technology available? Are the costs available? Beyond the pledges, are commitments being kept?”
He brought attention to the disparity which exists, noting in the extant pandemic crisis whereby while 62.1 per cent of the global population is now vaccinated with a first dose COVID vaccine, low-income countries only account for9.5 per cent. Developing countries are left in a squeeze between meeting net zero demands and catering for their population’s needs.
“Whilst these very countries must invest to achieve this global target, they must also survive and meet their immediate needs. This recent test of global resolve did not give much hope, as even in the face of death and dependence on each other, we saw vaccine diplomacy, disparity and inequality.”
Small and low-lying coastal states, he added, are the least contributors to rising temperatures. Yet, they face the brunt of adverse effects from climate change, varying from floods, rising sea levels, drought and extreme weather events. Net zero, he added, would only be possible if the global system rectifies its inherent disparities and unevenness.
“As much as small island developing and low-lying coastal states are not major contributors to climate change, the threats posed by climate change to their people’s livelihood are of serious concern. In this context, net zero by 2050 and how we get there is now an upmost development priority.”
The three-day conference, hosted by the Energy Chamber of Trinidad and Tobago, continues under the theme “Can We Achieve Net Zero By 2050”? (G12)