Guyana bemoans failure to meet US$100B per year pledge to fight climate change

President Dr Irfaan Ali addressing the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday

President Dr Irfaan Ali has again called out developed countries over their failure to fulfil the US$100 billion per year pledge to assist developing nations’ fight against climate change.
The Head of State was at the time addressing the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday. This year’s UNGA is being held under the theme: “Rebuilding trust and reigniting global solidarity: accelerating action on the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals towards peace, prosperity, progress and sustainability for all.”
According to President Ali, this theme recognises the need for a collective reset of global relationships, which he noted can aid in confronting the most pressing challenges of this era, including climate change, the energy and food crises as well as achieving sustainable development.
The Guyanese Leader is convinced that multilateralism remained the most effective approach to address these challenges, foremost of which is climate change.
“We are all experiencing its devastating effects. The difference, however, is our capacity to respond. It is well established that those bearing the brunt of the climate phenomena have made no contribution to the current crisis. Small Island Developing and low-lying coastal States like Guyana are among the hardest hit and require adequate financing to address the attendant effects. The commitments by developed countries, including the pledge of US$100 billion per year, remain unfulfilled. How much longer must developing countries wait for these commitments to be fully delivered,” the President questioned.
Ali informed the General Assembly that despite being at net zero emissions, Guyana continues to pursue growth premised in a Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS 2030).
“Our goal is to ensure that our resources are utilised sustainably to foster inclusive and equitable development for our people. As a country with the second highest forest cover per capita in the world, we know the importance of forests in mitigating the effects of climate change at the global level,” the Head of State stressed.
In fact, he pointed out that advocacy in this regard has resulted in Guyana being issued 33.4 million tons of ART-certified carbon credits – the first jurisdictional scale programme in the world. Guyana has since entered into a US$750 million deal with United States energy major Hess Corporation, for the sale of the high-quality carbon credits during the period 2016 to 2030.
The Guyana Government has committed to inject 15 per cent of all proceeds from this carbon credits deal directly to Indigenous villages to finance their development. Monies have already been disbursed to benefiting communities.
According to the Head of State, Guyana is committed to a clean energy transition and is aiming for over 80 per cent reliance on renewable energy by 2030.
“Technology, capacity and financing are key for developing countries to build the relevant energy mix and the share of renewable energy needed. Guyana is using revenue from oil and gas resources to finance its transition to renewable energy, notwithstanding our already globally-recognised net=zero status,” he stated.
The Guyanese Leader went on to talk about a just, affordable and equitable transition.
He noted that more than 90 countries have committed to net zero emissions. To achieve this, the IEA estimates that by 2050 more than 85 per cent of buildings must be zero carbon ready, more than 90 per cent heavy industrial production must be low emissions and almost 70 per cent of electricity will have to come from solar photovoltaic. Based on these targets, renewable share in the generation of electricity will have to increase from 29 per cent in 2020 to 88 per cent by 2050. Meanwhile to remove carbon from the atmosphere, the world will need to simultaneously halt deforestation and increase tree cover gain two times faster by 2030.
This means that by 2050, some 7.6 gigatons of Co2 will have to be captured and stored compared to 0.4 gigatons in 2020.  According to McKinsey and Company, it would cost US$375 trillion in cumulative spending on physical assets to transition to net zero by 2050.
“The question is: under these circumstances how realistic is the transition path to net zero? It is clear that the global ambition of net zero by 2050 is not currently realistic, given the cost of transition and the financing commitments thus far. I say all of this not to reduce ambition but for us to honestly and frankly direct our energies to a more balanced approach towards net zero in a realistic environment. My country, Guyana, is blessed with the best of both worlds, that is, the ability to lead on climate change and the use of our expansive oil and gas reserves to contribute to the advancement and development of our country and region,” the President asserted.
According to Ali, COP 28 will not achieve the desired objectives of definitively putting the planet on a net zero trajectory, if these current realities continue to be ignored. He contends that net zero by 2050 as a target could only be achieved by a combination of measures that include: a cut in fossil fuel production; incentivising the introduction of renewables at scale; exploring advances in technology in using carbon capture and storage; cutting deforestation and land degradation, and introducing measures to curb the demand for energy.
“As custodians of a rainforest the size of England and Scotland combined, we are of the view that the lack of financing for standing forests suggests they are worth more dead than alive. That is why we support the expansion of financial mechanisms that appropriately value the environmental services provided by forests including through the carbon market,” the Guyanese leader stated. (G8)