Guyana will be good partner for US climate change efforts – Ambassador Lynch
…will share clean energy technologies – White House Climate Advisor
By Vahnu Manikchand
With the Biden-Harris Administration prioritising climate change both domestically and internationally, the United States is now looking for partners across the globe and according to US Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah-Ann Lynch, Guyana will make a good partner on this front.
“We’re looking for good partners to work on [climate change]. Guyana will be a good partner, I’m absolutely certain,” Ambassador Lynch told Guyana Times.
She explained that while there is not any programme in place presently between the US and Guyana, this is an area that the two countries will definitely collaborate on. In fact, she mentioned that only recently Guyana participated in a Ministerial Roundtable hosted by the US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry.
That virtual session last month was attended by Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo, who, according to Ambassador Lynch, expressed support for efforts to tackle the climate emergency and also expressed interest with partnering with the US on this global issue.
Amongst its pledges to the global climate fight, the Biden-Harris Administration has committed to double overall climate financing and triple the amount of finance going towards adaptation in countries that need help in managing climate impacts.
In addition to this, the US Government has also recognised that it has international obligations to not just meet its commitment in the Paris Agreement but also providing resources for vulnerable and in-need nations. As such, the US is planning to share its domestic technologies and innovations with developing countries to aid in their efforts to combat climate change.
This was according to White House National Climate Advisor, Gina McCarthy, during a briefing with journalists from several countries who are participating in a three-week Virtual Reporting Tour (VRT) on “Combatting the Climate Crisis through US Innovation” hosted by the US Department of State’s Foreign Press Centers (FPC).
McCarthy was at the time responding to a question posed by Guyana Times on the US sharing its technologies and innovations to assist developing countries.
“I want other countries to understand and to have access to the innovations in clean energy technologies as soon as we can so they can reap not just the cost-savings benefit but the public health and safety and security benefits that a clean energy economy can bring,” McCarthy stated.
The National Climate Advisor pointed out that it is important for the US to recognise, and it has, the size of its economy as well as the technology and innovations it currently has.
She explained that both herself and Secretary Kerry are working together to ensure that the US positions itself domestically to be effective, and raises the strength and profile and commitment of the world towards tackling climate change.
“There’s been a lot of progress and a lot of opportunities that are being provided to American workers and to our industry sector for investments that are going to really make a difference and be able to deliver this type of commitment in the US. So, today is also a product of a Government-wide assessment that looked, sector by sector, at how we can address the challenge of climate change and make the success that we’re looking for,” she noted.
The National Climate Advisor disclosed that like in most countries, the electricity and transportation sectors in the US represent some of the biggest challenges that they face. She said that the current US Administration is looking into every sector, at what kind of already-existing, cost-effective clean technologies and products are already being deployed.
“There are many [such clean technologies] which is what brings us hope for the future. And we also looked at innovation trends, and that will allow us to look at the biggest opportunities we have to actually win that clean energy future,” McCarthy posited.
Moreover, the White House Climate Advisor went on to outline that the US is using the power of both its private sector and public sector investments to try to drive clean energy investments.
“I can’t say that all of their investments of private sector companies will be investing in the kind of clean energy future we all want, but I’m hopeful that the lessons have been learned here that that’s where the money is, that’s where the opportunity is. And the more I think that leaders across the world like President Biden send that signal about what we want to see happen in our own countries, then I believe that more will display that kind of same pathway and utilise it in their international work,” she asserted.
Asked by Guyana Times about the policies in place to encourage US private sector companies to make “green investments” in developing countries, McCarthy indicated that they do work with companies to make sure that their work internationally reflects the values of the United States of America as well as the country’s influence – in terms of where technologies are heading and where the opportunities lie, not just in the US but internationally.
“So, we definitely do want to do the best we can to ensure that we’re providing incentives for our businesses both here and abroad to be kind – to be sharing the most innovative technologies that they have available and to be advancing those in other countries. We don’t always have an opportunity to dictate that, but we do have ways in which we can use our financial structures to actually advance those efforts considerably,” she contended.
Further, the National Climate Advisor noted that the US is also in a position to start working with some of the independent offices and agencies in the Government as part of its “whole-of-government approach” to start advancing the transparency of where its private sector companies are investing. This, she added, will allow investors and shareholders to better understand what is going on and enable them to use their power to ensure that US values are best represented financially in all markets across the world.
“So, we’re going to be tackling this issue. There are ways in which we can influence it, but ultimately, it’s going to – a lot is going to be about advancing clean energy to the extent that it becomes the preferred alternative, where it becomes less and less expensive, where mandates are no longer necessary but where it becomes the future that everybody demands.
And in many ways, the investment strategy that the Biden-Harris Administration has put on the table and our regulatory approach is to recognise that in the US today, we are making progress in the utility sector mainly because clean energy is the cheaper alternative. And the more that we can promote that and show that it has added benefits for our health, for our air quality, for our water quality, the more that we can show that, the more that the people in every country will begin to demand that. And you will see that demand shift so that any international company coming in has only one in one choice in terms of how they build the market, and that’s to go to clean energy. And so, our hope is that over time that demand will build. It is building in the United States, and we’re going to work that like crazy,” McCarthy pointed out.
Meanwhile, the US envoy in Guyana could not say definitively whether any US company has expressed serious interests in investing in renewable energy areas in Guyana. However, she too posited that they try to ensure that any company that is coming here to invest from the US engages in green practices.
“We’re hoping that they all want to make green investments because it is such an important issue… And we always emphasise the importance of doing whatever work they’re interested in, in an environmentally friendly manner,” Ambassador Lynch related to Guyana Times.