‘I am going to lecture you’: Guyanese President’s charge on carbon emissions ‘hypocrisy’ goes viral

Public TV English
Public TV English
4 Min Read

GEORGETOWN (Guyana): Guyanese President Irfan Ali’s all-out attack on ‘Western hypocrisy’ on carbon emissions has gone viral. President Irfaan Ali was speaking in an interview to BBC journalist Stephen Sackur, who had questioned the President on Guyana’s carbon emission rates as it planned to extract oil and gas along its coast.

In a viral interview clip, Guyanese President can be seen interrupting the question of the journalist, and cross-questioning him on whether he had the “right to lecture him on climate change” and if he was in the “pockets of those who destroy the environment through the industrial revolution and are now lecturing us”.

Ali countered the journalist’s query that Guyana’s extraction of oil and gas will lead to more than two billion metric tonnes of carbon emissions from its coast, saying, “Do you know that Guyana has a forest forever that is the size of England and Scotland combined? A forest that stores 19.5 Gigatons of carbon, a forest that we have kept alive”.

On this, the journalist questioned him about whether that would give Guyana the right to extract oil and gas and release emissions. The President said, “Does that give you the right to lecture us on climate change. I am going to lecture you on climate change because we have kept this forest alive. The store’s 19.5 gigatons of carbon that you enjoy, that the world enjoys, that you don’t pay us for, that you don’t value, that you don’t see a value in, that the people of Guyana has kept alive”.

“Guess what? We have the lowest deforestation rate in the world. And guess what? Even with our greatest exploration of the oil and gas resource we have now, we will still be, net zero. Guyana will still be net zero with all our exploration”, he added.

Making a strong statement on alleged western hypocrisy, the Guyana President said that those who had destroyed the environment are now questioning his country.

“I am just not finished as yet because this is a hypocrisy that exists in the world. The world, in the last 50 years has lost 65 percent of all its biodiversity. We have kept our biodiversity. Are you valuing it. Are you ready to pay for it? When is developed world is going to pay for it or are you in their pockets?” the Guyanese President said.

“Are you in the pockets of those who have damaged the environment? Are you in the pockets? Are you and your system in the pockets of those who destroy the environment through the industrial revolution and now lecturing us. Are you in their pockets? Are you paid by them?” he added.

Many developing countries have raised this issue, calling on the West to drastically reduce its Carbon footprint. In 2023, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged that rich nations should completely reduce their carbon footprint “well before” 2050 and called on the world to deliver a concrete outcome on finance to help developing and poor nations combat climate change.

Addressing a session on ‘Transforming Climate Finance’ at COP28, Modi said India expects concrete and real progress on the New Collective Quantified Goal (NCQG), a fresh post-2025 global climate finance goal. “Developed countries should completely reduce their carbon footprint well before 2050”, he had said. (ANI)

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