Oil exploration can synchronize with a green economy

Published: November 13, 2015

Despite Guyana’s position of being a ‘Green Economy’ and recent climate change accusations made against oil giant ExxonMobil, Minister of Governance, Raphael Trotman, says that the Government “will not be denying themselves the opportunity of economic prosperity simply because we have a green economy”.
Minister of Governance, Raphael Trotman

In October of this year, ExxonMobil had allegations leveled against them by United States Senators, Ted Lieu, Mark DeSaulnier, Bernie Sanders and Sheldon Whitehouse, of promoting and funding climate change denials, despite knowing of the connection between the burning of fossil fuels and climate change.When faced with the question of how oil exploration synchronizes with Guyana’s position of being a green economy, Trotman said that “a green economy does not mean that you are not to have any extractive or exploitive industries.”Trotman said that there are models around the world which show that the oil exploration and a green economy can be synchronized, and it is just a matter of observing and implementing similar programmes here.
He gave the example of Norway, which has, through a combination of steep carbon taxes, careful management of oil wealth and innovation investments, found a balance between a green environment and economic growth. The money garnered from their oil products are placed in a sovereign wealth fund named the “Pension Fund Global,” while all of its energy is run off of hydropower.

It was reported by the Guyana Chronicle in 2009 that the Leader of the Opposition, Bharrat Jagdeo during his time as President had made a proposal to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) for carbon tax to become part of the new global climate change regime. However, during a telephone interview with Jagdeo, he said that his administration had never tried to submit such a proposal to CARICOM as “it would not make sense,” since Guyana produces a small amount of carbon emissions.

Trotman said that the Government is currently looking at a Trinidadian model of a tax similar to carbon tax which finances a “Green Fund.” He stated that if they choose to go in that direction, however, Minister of Finance Winston Jordan would have to make the decision. Efforts made to contact Jordan were unsuccessful.