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GEORGETOWN: A video of Guyanese President Irfan Ali’s all-out attack on “Western hypocrisy” on Carbon emissions has gone viral on social media. The viral video is related to the Guyanese President’s recent interview with BBC journalist Stephen Sackur during which the former launched a scathing critique of what he termed “Western hypocrisy” regarding carbon emissions. The interview centered on Guyana’s plans to extract oil and gas along its coast and the implications for carbon emissions.

President Ali Challenges Western Assumptions

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.”

Guyanese President @presidentaligy gave @BBCNews a pic.twitter.com/vJIv3V01rf — Káyọ̀dé Ògúndámisí (@ogundamisi) March 29, 2024


Guyana’s Environmental Stewardship

President Ali emphasized Guyana’s environmental stewardship, highlighting the nation’s vast forest cover, which stores significant amounts of carbon. He defended Guyana’s right to pursue oil and gas extraction, citing the nation’s low deforestation rate and commitment to maintaining a net-zero carbon footprint.

Call For Recognition And Compensation

Asserting that Guyana has preserved its biodiversity while much of the world has suffered significant losses, President Ali called for recognition and compensation from the developed world. He accused Western nations of being beholden to interests that prioritize profit over environmental preservation.

Global Debate On Carbon Emissions

President Ali’s remarks reflect a broader global debate on carbon emissions and environmental responsibility. Many developing nations, including India, have called on the West to take concrete action to reduce carbon footprints and provide support to mitigate the effects of climate change in poorer countries.

PM Modi’s Call For Action

Prime Minister Narendra Modi echoed similar sentiments earlier in 2023, urging developed nations to accelerate efforts to reduce carbon footprints and provide tangible support to developing nations. Modi’s call underscores the urgency of addressing climate change on a global scale.