In keeping with Guyana’s goal to achieve its climate change targets, Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, said discussions have been held with ExxonMobil about offsetting emissions from Payara, its third offshore development, which is currently being reviewed by a team of experts.
Dr. Jagdeo, during his tenure as President of Guyana, was among six winners from government, science, business, and entertainment to be awarded the United Nations Champions of the Earth prize in 2010, for leadership in environmental conservation.
With reference to his ‘Champion of the Earth’ title, he was asked on local radio programme, Guyana’s Oil and You, about his perspective on ExxonMobil’s flaring due to challenges it has encountered with a gas compressor system on the Liza Destiny FPSO, and the potential impact this can have on the environment.
Dr. Jagdeo pointed out that a tonne of carbon emitted in Guyana has the same impact on the world as a tonne of carbon emitted by China or anywhere else. The Vice President continued, “But what I am disappointed in is that the world has lost momentum on this issue [lowering carbon emissions] and since the early climate change agreement, we have now seen a watering down of the targets.”
He said at the moment, carbon emissions on the global scale have dropped tremendously due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But pre-COVID-19, he said the world was on a trajectory of increasing temperatures to three or four degrees above industry levels even though the target was set at 1.5 degrees Celsius.
With respect to Guyana, the Vice President said the nation remains a net carbon sink while alluding to the fact that efforts will be made to ensure this remains intact. “We emit less than we take from the atmosphere. But we can’t have the ideal policy when the rest of the world is emitting… We made sure that under Payara, there were some discussions about offset,” Dr. Jagdeo stated.
The Vice President was also keen to note that ExxonMobil and other companies operating offshore would have to spend more on the environment while adding that it is the intention of the government to head in the direction of renewable energy.
He said the expectation is that this would be achieved with assistance from the oil companies operating in the South American country.