Developed nations must pull plug on oil production first – int’l report
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Vice-President Dr Bharrat Jagdeo
Vice-President Dr Bharrat Jagdeo

AS efforts continue to limit global warming to 1.5 degree Celsius, wealthy oil-producing countries such as Saudi Arabia, Norway and the United States, must be the first to cease operations.

This is according to an international report recently published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD).

The 78-page document, titled ‘Phase-out Pathways for Fossil Fuel Production,’ went on to say that once the oil giants have exited the global market, poorer countries must be allowed to continue production at least until 2050, in an effort to replace that source of critical income; that too, with international support for a smooth transition.

Although not mentioned specifically in the report, the latter referenced countries would include nations such as Guyana, which has only now begun to directly benefit from its oil resources.

The report, compiled by scientists, Professor Kevin Anderson and Dr Dan Calverley, was specific on making recommendations that would allow for achievement of the climate targets set out under the Paris Agreement, and essentially echoes the stance taken by Guyana.

It was Vice-President Dr Bharrat Jagdeo who previously said that even if the global net-zero carbon emission targets are met by 2050, the world will still need to be supplied with up to 24 million barrels of oil per day; Guyana, he asserted, has every intention of positioning itself as a deserving long-term oil producer.

“The developed world has done its bit,” Jagdeo had said, alluding to the fact that even though first world countries are the leading carbon emitters and polluters of the environment, small and developing nations such as Guyana are the ones suffering the brunt of the consequences stemming from destructive hurricanes and earthquakes, to disastrous floods and droughts.

At a private sector engagement back in December, Jagdeo vehemently registered his disappointment with some parties seeking to halt the oil-production operations offshore Guyana.

“If you add all of the emissions from Exxon Mobil… and emissions from every sector here in Guyana, it will not be equivalent to the emissions of the world in one hour in a day; it would be less than, that is, annual emissions,” the Vice-President posited.

He noted that Guyanese who want the country’s oil production to cease are essentially propagating the agenda of developed nations that are adamant in continuing the operations that make them wealthier, while saddling developing states with the responsibilities of protecting the environment.

“So, our NGO [Non-Governmental Organisation] believes we must shut down the operations here, but in the developed world, they want more oil pumped because prices are escalating and affecting their people, their businesses, their consumers,” Jagdeo highlighted.

The report echoes Guyana’s conviction and essentially supports its stance to remain a long-term oil producer, while developed countries begin their phasing-out efforts

He continued, “There are just 490 trillion tonnes of carbon dioxide allowance remaining before we achieve net zero and the 1.5 degrees targets; that belongs to us now in the developing world; the developed world has used up its allowances, but they don’t behave that way; they want equal burden-sharing now, all of everything that we have.”

The former President went further to lament the hypocrisy behind some of the environmental instructions that come from larger countries, including a directive that the developed world will not support financing for any fossil fuel-related activities and that gas, which is a fossil fuel-related sector, should not be part of the energy mix of the future because it is polluting.

“But we have just seen that when gas prices tripled in Europe, the same countries that say this, they’re now starting up some coal-fire[d] power plants, which are even more polluting than using gas for energy,” Jagdeo complained.

He argued that when developed countries are faced with crises, “they look at any solution, whether it’s polluting or not.”

Jagdeo, dubbed a ‘Champion of the Earth’ for his efforts to fight against climate change, has said that over the years, Guyana has dutifully served the earth as a net carbon sink, and that it now deserves to be able to maximise its oil resources to improve the country and the lives of its people.

Meanwhile, an article published by OilNow, specified that for a 50 per cent chance of limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5 degree Celsius, the 19 Highest-Capacity countries, with average non-oil gross domestic product per person (GDP/capita) of over US$50,000, must end production by 2034, with a 74 per cent cut at least by 2030.

“This group produces 35 per cent of global oil and gas and includes the United Kingdom (UK), USA, Norway, Canada, Australia and the United Arab Emirates,” the article noted.

Further, it stated that four high-capacity countries, with average non-oil GDP/capita of nearly US$28,000, must end production by 2039, with a 43 per cent cut by 2030. They produce 30 per cent of global oil and gas and include Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Kazakhstan.

Moreover, 11 medium-capacity countries, with average non-oil GDP/capita of US$17,000, must end production by 2043, with a 28 per cent cut by 2030. They produce 11 per cent of global oil and gas and include China, Brazil and Mexico. It goes further to state that 19 low-capacity countries, with average non-oil GDP/capita of US$10,000, must end production by 2045, with an 18 per cent cut by 2030. They produce 13 per cent of global oil and gas and include Indonesia, Iran and Egypt.

“Additionally, 25 lowest-capacity countries, with average non-oil GDP/capita of US$3,600, must end production by 2050 with a 14% cut by 2030. They produce 11% of global oil and gas and include Iraq, Libya, Angola and South Sudan,” the article said.

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