I refer to headlines lately about the release, to planned infrastructural projects in Guyana, of Norwegian money allocated some years ago. That was compensation for conserving forests that trap carbon dioxide which if left in the atmosphere would contribute to global warming. That was money that Norway earned from its production of oil which when burned would put carbon dioxide into the global atmosphere.
The carbon credit scheme, from which Guyana got actual cash, is Norway’s token of responsibility for damage caused by the oil industry. An inescapable admission that countries benefiting from oil extraction should pay for mitigation of its atmospheric downside. We acknowledged this admission and took money from it.
Pretty soon Guyana will be alongside Norway as an oil producer, at rates per capita at least comparable, to justify this country’s sitting on the debit side of the carbon trading table. One has seen no mention of this factor in any of the big-figure predictions and speculations of oil revenue benefits. Do our decision-makers and negotiators have any idea of the concomitant responsibility?
When the issue meets our politicians’ notice, we can expect they will commit future state revenue to continuing the infrastructure development now funded by Norway. Who will do the calculations, on the model already established and accepted by Guyana as beneficiaries, of the carbon offset amounts to be put into current and future conservation of forests? And if so whose forests?
Who besides you and me, Editor, will find this a subject worth mentioning, or even thinking about?