Senior Director for Climate and REDD+ at Guyana’s Ministry of Natural Resources, Pradeepa Bholanath has clarified that even if Guyana has 10 FPSOs operating offshore, as well as the landmark gas-to-energy project on stream, their emissions can in no way eclipse the immense carbon service provided by the nation’s forests.
During a recent radio interview, the environmental economist expounded on this point as she noted that one characteristic that sets Guyana apart from other countries that are more into industrial manufacturing and with more expansive extractive industries, is that it is a net carbon sink. A carbon sink is anything that absorbs more carbon from the atmosphere than it releases – for example, plants, the ocean and soil.
Bholanath said the forests, because of its continuous nature of storing and sequestering carbon, would make Guyana by and large a premier net carbon sink, even if it were to contemplate an expansion in the economy of the oil and gas, mining or forestry sector, with all of that increasing 10-fold.
“The reason for this of course is because 154 million tonnes of Co2 get taken out of the atmosphere every year because of our functioning forests and on top of that, because it is in a stable state, it stores 19.6 gigatons of Co2. So, even if one were to consider a single FPSO that is currently producing and you look at what the carbon emissions would be for that FPSO, it would amount to approximately 2 million tonnes of Co2 annually,” the environmental economist said.
She added, “We have 154 million tonnes of carbon coming out of the atmosphere just by the forests being in a stable state so if you have five FPSOs or 10 or a 10 fold increase to that, the value of the forests by far eclipses what would come from those levels…You would need 20 years for five FPSOs scheduled to come on stream by 2027 to be equal to one year of CO2 emissions stored by the forests.”
In spite of this carbon budget, Bholanath said the government oftentimes reminds itself that it is not a licence for development to happen unchecked.
The Senior Director said, “All development has to be done in the sphere of the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) 2030; so, there should be reduced impact logging or mining, or the best technologies utilized for oil and gas and it is through those lens the LCDS really pivots the developmental focus.”
Bholanath concluded that the government’s agenda is to ensure the nation’s resources are developed via a low carbon pathway while maintaining its net carbon sink credential.