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President advances Guyana’s climate model in world media

Stories News 2009 09 23 3PRESIDENT Bharrat Jagdeo is supplementing the international lobby for Guyana’s climate change model in more interviews with leading global media agencies and newspapers.He has been interviewed by Reuters, one of the largest news agencies in the world, the American TV network CNN, and has met the Editorial Board of the prestigious New York Times on the sidelines of the special climate change summit called yesterday by United Nations Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon.

The Guardian newspaper of London yesterday also carried the full text of the President’s remarks at the 'Team Earth’ public event in Greeley Square, New York Monday when he shared the spotlight with popular actor and environmentalist Harrison Ford.

He has been interviewed by the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times and is scheduled for an interview with the Economist later this week.

On Friday, Mr. Jagdeo is due to advance his pitch in a speech at the renowned Columbia University.

The Guardian headlined the President’s Monday speech at the Greeley Square event as 'Guyana is a model of forest protection that could solve the climate crisis’.

In that speech, President Jagdeo stressed that a deal at the UN climate change summit in Copenhagen, Denmark in December must enable countries like Guyana to generate an income by conserving forests rather than cutting them down

“The UN general assembly this week is going to change the world. This is because quiet conversations in meeting rooms and corridors around the UN complex will shape the world's climate negotiations in Copenhagen in December — and all of our lives, and those of every generation that follows”, he said, and this is all going to happen because of trees.

This week, among the talk of recession and growth, defence and terrorism, economic stimuli and trade sanctions, world leaders will discuss one of the key solutions that we need to focus on to tackle climate change — the world's forests, he added.

In his interview with Reuters, the President noted that he wants to turn this country into one of the world's most environmentally progressive countries by preserving vast swaths of tropical rain forest -- if rich nations pay for it.
"We can generate money from preserving the forests, we can use these resources to invest in low carbon opportunities, and we can use some of the money to make our economy climate-resilient," Mr. Jagdeo said.
Protecting forests is crucial, he said, as destruction of tropical forests releases more carbon dioxide emissions than all the world's cars, trucks, planes and trains combined.
He said his preservation model could be replicated in other countries and incorporated into a new climate change agreement to be signed in Copenhagen.
"By Copenhagen, we can show a real country model working that would address all of the issues that have come up in the negotiations," he said.
The President said the biggest stumbling blocks to making his model work were persuading rich countries that payments they make to poor ones would be used transparently, and convincing poor countries they would not give up sovereignty when they agree to set aside forests for conservation.
Negotiations for Copenhagen among 190 nations are stalled over how to share the burden of curbs on gas emissions through 2020 between rich and poor nations and how to raise perhaps $100 billion a year to help the poor combat warming and adapt to changes such as rising seas.
"What will constitute a good agreement in Copenhagen for me is one that has deep emissions cuts, adequate financing and improving forests as an abatement solution," Jagdeo said. "Developed countries need to take the biggest steps."
Although Jagdeo wants to turn Guyana into a low-carbon economy that relies on green energy, he said only rich countries should face mandated deep cuts in carbon emissions.
Poor countries fear they might sacrifice future economic growth if they agree to mandatory reductions.
"We don't want to pass blame, but many of the developed countries used these traditional tools to get where they are today. Many people feel that they are kicking away the ladder now, they don't want us to use the same development tools, which were high carbon," he said.
"We believe we don't have to go that route, we believe that we can shift to a low carbon direction without compromising our development prospects, but we have to be helped to that route."

CNN also reported on the President’s stand on its website.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on Monday lauded Guyana’s leadership on climate change.

In a meeting with President Jagdeo in New York, Rudd expressed his country’s interest in collaborating with Guyana in the global effort to address climate change.

President Jagdeo also took the opportunity to outline Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy.

Australia has committed to supporting Guyana’s Monitoring Reporting and Verification (MRV) System and remote monitoring of its forests.

This development builds on Guyana’s recent work on developing its MRV System at which several experts from the Australian Climate Office participated.

Prime Minister Rudd and President Jagdeo agreed to continue discussions at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Trinidad in November to explore other areas of bilateral cooperation on climate change as well as regional initiatives for the Caribbean Community.

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