Experts urge Govt to take proactive steps in combating effects

first_imgBy Jarryl BryanClimate change and the natural disasters that usually accompany it have the potential to not only claim lives and property, but to also cripple the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of small economies.UG Vice Chancellor, Professor Ivelaw GriffithAs such, experts are of the view that more needs to be done by the Government to mitigate the effects of climate change here in Guyana.Some of these very experts formed part of a panel at the 10th edition of the University of Guyana’s (UG) Turkeyen and Tain Talks, at the Pegasus Hotel on Thursday.The panellists included Dean of the Faculty of Earth and Environmental Sciences at UG, Dr Paulette Bynoe; Presidential Advisor and retired Rear Admiral of the Guyana Defence Force, Gary Best; Climate Change specialist Martina Duncan; Engineer Amir Dillawar, and Caribbean Community (Caricom) Secretariat Energy Expert Dr. Devon Gardner.In outlining what lies in store for Guyanese residing on the coast, UG Vice Chancellor Ivelaw Griffith drew a dire picture. The panellists established that Guyana, as part of the region, resides in the most vulnerable part of the world when it comes to natural disasters associated with climate change — like hurricanes.Climate change formed the focus of the tenth series of talksReferring to climate change as a clear and present danger, Professor Griffith spoke of the need for planning in case coastal defences were to be breached. He read an excerpt from a presentation by an economist, entitled ‘Petroleum and Climate Change in Guyana’s future.’“The warming of the Earth’s atmosphere means that, with the passage of time, Guyana will have to deal with the ravages of the Atlantic Ocean. These events will create water management problems that are beyond the capabilities of the water control systems,” Griffith read.Referring to the presentation, Griffith noted that if the sea defences were to be breached, the inflow of water could undermine current infrastructure. He noted that not even the mangrove forests can withstand the full force of the ocean.Griffith also spoke of the need to examine the possibility that oil revenues from production after 2020 could be used towards adjusting citizens to the effects of climate change.Referring to his notes, he posited that this can include developing the hinterland and resettling away from the coast.Meanwhile, Dr Bynoe pointed out that with the increase in harmful gases, an imbalance has been created in the greenhouse effect. According to the specialist, any efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change must take into account safeguarding the agriculture sector.“We’ve had changes in many extreme weather and climate events, and many of you can testify that you have experienced a number of warmer nights. And it’s very likely that all nine regions will experience heavy precipitation (rainfall) events.“How are humans responsible? We have changed the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Without the greenhouse effect, you and I would not be alive here. But the concentration of greenhouse gases would have led to the enhanced greenhouse effect. There are three culprits: carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide.” She explained.AdjustingClimate change specialist Duncan, who works with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), spoke of the importance of the Government adapting its policies, mitigating contributing factors, and sharing information in order to combat climate change.Panellist Gomin Comacho urged that Government needed to stay 10 steps ahead of the climate change fight. Her fellow Panellist, Dillawar, advised that the University take the talk out of the academic circles and into the communities.Energy sectors and the fossil fuel used in electricity production constitute a major culprit in the global rise of greenhouse gas. Despite commitments to 100 per cent renewable energy by 2025, the coalition Government has turned its back on the 165 MW capacity Amaila Falls hydro power project.Instead, the feasibility of hydro power sites at Kumu and Moco Moco falls are being examined. Earlier this year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had also signalled its intention to grant an interim one-year authorisation to Tumatumari Hydro Inc (THI). This brings the special purpose private company closer towards its planned rehabilitation of the Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni) Tumatumari power plant.In terms of funding, Finance Minister Winston Jordan has stated publicly during an engagement with the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA) that the money set aside by Norway for renewable energy development is not sufficient for its plans.In fact, Jordan had spoken of difficulties being faced to access the funding. Government has been assuring, however, that funding from Norway is still on the table.last_img

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