Eyewitness: Don’t…

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…knock our forests

Back in the day, when President Jagdeo floated the idea that Guyana could make money by simply not cutting down its forests, a lot of folks in the chattering class hooted in derision!! Well, he had the last laugh when Norway forked out US$250 million for us to do just that!! This was more money by far than was hauled in after the first year of oil production in 2020!! Jagdeo, of course, was crowned “Champion of the Earth” by TIME magazine, and was feted like the Climate Change royalty he was!

As a world leader, he was far ahead of the curve in appreciating the factors driving global warming upwards – and what could be done to mitigate it before we reach a catastrophic tipping point. Forests acted as “carbon sinks” by sequestering the element carbon in the molecular structure of trees – which otherwise would’ve been in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. Countries that were net carbon dioxide emitters would have to be sanctioned to reduce their emissions. It was pragmatically agreed they could also PAY countries like Guyana not to cut down their forests!! While it might have appeared that we were letting emitters get away with (climate) murder…hey…we didn’t set the (REDD) rules!!

But, even more valuable that the money – if that can be imagined! – was the institutional memory we acquired in dealing with the Norwegians. While the 2008 economic crash in the Developed World put a damper on their agreements to increase payments for “carbon sinks”, the massively disruptive weather patterns from climate change have focused their attention wonderfully!!

New Climate Change talks (COP26) are scheduled for November. The big emitters would be under pressure to cut their emissions while still trying to come out of their economic and COVID slumps!! What can they do? Well…pay countries like Guyana for not deforesting through carbon credits!! While our deforestation has actually slowed, next door Amazon has destroyed 810,000sqkm of forests!! That’s almost THREE TIMES GUYANA’s area!!
This brings up another facet of our forests that’ll earn us brownie points (and money!) – reforestation – that is, by allowing the forests to regrow, or planting new trees. And here we’re ahead of the game. One report announced, “In Guyana, where the recovering forests are older and so have had time to capture more CO2, nearly a quarter of deforestation emissions have been offset, the highest of any Amazonian country. Nature-based solutions will be at the forefront of discussions at COP26!!
What this means is that by us switching to solar, wind, hydro and gas power- generation – as we’re doing – we can have our (energy) cake and eat it too!!
Who says money doesn’t grow on trees?

…be too proud

In the poem “Ozymandias”, Shelly reflected on the folly of rulers who believed they’d live forever, and treated their subjects with cruelty and harshness to fulfill their oversized egos. Ozymandias was actually Ramses II of ancient Egypt, and the poet was looking at his massive statue fallen in ruins in the sands of the desert – but with his characteristic sneer still visible on his stone lips.

“Nothing beside remains. Round the decay/ Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare/ The lone and level sands stretch far away.” The poet then quotes the ironic inscription: “My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;/ Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair”!! But even in the time of Ramses, wasn’t it said, “Vanity of vanities…All is vanity”?
So, what brought on this bleak reflection on the delusion of leaders about their mortality? Mostly the constancy of the tendency into the present!
From Burnham in his mausoleum to those who’d return women to the Stone Age.

…hide

The PNC Central Executive Committee – with proper quorum and all that – has called for Congress to be convened in November, to deafening silence from Granger.
He should remember boxing great Joe Louis’s advice to Billy Conn: “You can run, but you can’t hide!