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Guyana's president sees climate breakthrough opportunities at Cancun

Monday, 27 September 2010 12:00 Written by  font size decrease font size decrease font size increase font size increase font size

GEORGETOWN, Guyana (GINA) -- As world leaders prepare for another climate change conference in Cancun, Mexico, later this year, Guyana's President Bharrat Jagdeo believes there are breakthrough opportunities, despite being doubtful that a global treaty may be achieved.

President Bharrat Jagdeo addressing the 65th session of the UN General Asembly
Delivering his address at the United Nations General Assembly’s high level debate in New York on Friday. Jagdeo proposed three ideas that can guarantee breakthroughs.

First he said was to hold the developed world accountable to the commitments they have made to immediate short-term ‘ramp-up’ of financing for climate action in the developing world.

“The existing commitments of US$30 billion total by 2012, and US$100 billion per year by 2020, can be agreed to in Cancun,” Jagdeo said.

The second priority he said is to resolve the “vexed” issue of an effective financial transfer mechanism which ensures that the funds flow to both adaptation and mitigation actions, and thirdly, ramp up meaningful sectoral responses that work in the short-term. With regards to the latter he made specific reference to Guyana’s belief that action on deforestation and forest degradation is one of the most impacting.

The president made it clear however that none of the three aforementioned proposals asks of the developed world to provide aid. Instead, he said it is about ensuring that capital to address climate change is allocated where it can have the biggest impact.

Jagdeo highlighted the need for protection of the environment as he shared his views on climate change, but reiterated Guyana’s position for a legally binding global climate treaty at the international level that facilitates emissions to stabilize the planet's climate.

In his remarks, Jagdeo warned about destruction of the natural habitat and its consequences on life-forms that will be the bedrock of future medical advances for citizens everywhere.

The Head of State also illustrated how a ton of carbon emitted in Africa or Asia threatens the citizens of the smallest village in North America.

“When those who seek to represent those citizens deny that this is true, or fail to understand its consequences, they threaten their own national interests and the wealth and security of their nations,” Jagdeo said.

Although progressive countries are becoming more aware of the need to invest in clean energy economies, new green industries and a less carbon intensive approach to agriculture and forestry, the President lamented their failure to implement measures that will realize the dream.

He blamed such a failure on the absence of a global agreement which rewards low carbon innovation, reiterating Guyana’s position that the international community needs a legally binding global climate treaty that first facilitates the emissions cuts needed to stabilize the planet's climate.

The failure of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at Copenhagen last year to facilitate an agreement on global actions to stabililise the planet’s climate paved the way for greater danger according to the president.

“Not only did the global community fail to accomplish this, we are now in real danger of suffering from a catastrophic drift in ambition, where we no longer even try to connect the scientific evidence on climate change with the necessary global action to avert it… So we must re-dedicate ourselves to crafting a shared response to shared climate threats,” Jagdeo said.

With the Copenhagen Accord being the only concrete outcome of last year’s climate summit, Jagdeo encouraged countries regardless of whether on not they signed on, to hold the developed world accountable for its commitments.

He reiterated the assurance that if the international community is prepared to be held accountable, “we will not be found lacking,” noting that functioning financial transfer and other mechanisms to address deforestation and forest degradation can inspire progress in other areas such as technology transfer and energy efficiency.

Specific reference was made to Guyana’s revolutionary Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) model that outlines how the country can save cumulative forest-based emissions of 1.5 Gigatons by 2020, and the REDD+ deal with Norway, that created a climate finance fund which will amount to between US$300 million and US$500 million between this year and 2015.

Guyana has also identified how to use this climate financing to invest in education and health care, clean energy and opening up non-forested land for new economic activities.
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