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Last month President Joe Biden hosted 40 world Leaders to a virtual Climate Change Summit. This summit is significant for three reasons: 1) President Biden honouring his campaign promise to have the United States (U.S) rejoin the Paris Agreement; 2) His administration’s commitment that the U.S would “create a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035 and net zero emissions economy by no later than 2050”; and 3) What does this mean for Guyana as a new producer of fossil fuel which threatens Climate Change.
The warnings have been loud and clear from environmentalists, Climate Change advocates and some governments that the world will have to diversify from fossil fuel to clean energy. This means that Guyana in addition to being required to produce oil and gas consistent with Sustainable Development practices will also have to look at alternative energy source(s) to propel its economy.
As signatory to the Paris Agreement Guyana is obligated to honour the terms within. External pressure will also be brought to bear to ensure this whether the Government wants to or not. Where all are affected by adverse climate patterns Guyana would not be allowed to operate as though its actions, such as destroying the mangroves and oil flaring, won’t affect the ecosystem and human beings.
The U.S under Biden, as it was for fellow Democratic former President Barack Obama, is seen as delivering global leadership on Climate Change. With the U.S rejoining the Agreement their presence will impact Guyana’s management of fossil fuel and the environment. The major Western leaders and the World Bank are not going to allow Guyana to engage in business practices inimical to the environment. While they may not be loud and bold, they will leverage their influence through various channels of communications and diplomacy to make known their expectations. They will also expect Guyanese to police environmental practices and speak out when any wrong occurs.