The last two blogs were focused on Guyana’s location, the climatic issues that currently affect the Guyanese people, and how revenue from their newly found wealth (oil) can be used to fight against their current climatic issues. While the oil discoveries come as great news for the Guyanese people and their many investors, many organizations around the world are concerned about the climatic impact on the rest of the world from this new Guyanese wealth. With the many oil discoveries in Guyana through the major oil companies such as Exxon Mobile, Hess, and others, there is concern that the end result will ultimately lead to an increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. This comes at a time when the world is trying to go green by using renewable energy rather than fossil fuels in order to reduce its carbon footprint in the ozone layer.
Crude oil, or petroleum, soon to be extracted from below Guyana’s seafloor, is traditionally refined into fuels such as gasoline, kerosene, propane, jet fuel, and other byproducts such as paint and plastics. These refined fuels are then used to power our vehicles, businesses, homes, etc., and although this may seem convenient, they pose a great threat to our environment, more than just financially. By using these byproducts, we harm our environment by contributing to air and water pollution as well as to global warming. According to an article by Melissa Denchak, “Petroleum products supply about 37% of U.S. energy needs, with the transportation sector consuming the most” (nrdc.org).
Even though Guyana is the source of the oil, much of the climatic impacts will be due to the byproducts coming out of the United States of America. Exxon Mobile will be transporting the oil from Guyana to the United States for the latter’s own economic gain. Edward Hunt from The Progressive reports that Washington, D.C. officials see this as a fresh opportunity to influence the global oil market. With these oil discoveries by U.S. companies, the United States will now go through its own oil boom, becoming the largest oil producer in the world. President Donald Trump has already declared that the nation is on its way to achieving “energy dominance” (progressive.org). However, it is concerning that Guyana and the United States both see this as an opportunity for economic and geopolitical gain, rather than caring about the climate impact that this oil production will have on the rest of the world. International organizations like Western Africa Development Bank (BOAD), Asian Development Bank (ADB), and Pacific Community have all joined and pledged their support to adopt a strategy and a roadmap to reach climate neutrality (unenvironment.org). But organizations alone cannot make the difference; we need world leaders to come together and make drastic decisions to reduce our carbon footprint before it is too late.
In conclusion, I hope that these oil companies operate in a manner that is safe and productive for all parties involved. Guyana is the source of the oil, but most of the profits are going toward the big investors. The revenues and royalties that will be generated from these oil discoveries should still be significant enough to make Guyana one of the richest countries in South America in years to come. In capable hands, Guyana should be able to put an infrastructure in place to safeguard itself against some of the climate effects that the country is currently facing. To mitigate the damage from the extraction of this fossil fuel that will eventually contribute to the greenhouse effect, Guyana should continue with its Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) program. According to their website, the LCDS aims to protect and maintain the forests in an effort to reduce global carbon emissions, and at the same time, attract payments from developed countries for the climate services that the forests provide to the world. These payments will be invested to foster growth and development along a low carbon emissions path, without compromising the sovereignty over the forests or affecting the development prospects of the Guyanese people (lcds.com). Even though some may say that Guyana is indirectly contributing to climate change in a negative way due to the sourcing of its oil, it is great to know that the country is also directly impacting climate change in a positive way with its LCDS pledge. Not many other developing countries around the world can say the same. Guyana is playing its role in combating climate change; other countries need to get on board more aggressively before it is too late.
Source : www.lcds.com
Keeping an eye on the prize.
Some of Exxon Mobile oil discoveries
Denchak, Melissa. “Fossil Fuels: The Dirty Facts”. NRDC, 2019,
Hunt, Edward. “U.S. Diplomats Boost ExxonMobil in Guyana2019, Accessed 6 Dec 2019.
Manager, Document. “Home”. Lcds.Gov.Gy, 2019, https://www.lcds.gov.gy/