Former United Kingdom Prime Minister Tony Blair and President Irfaan Ali in conversation at the University of Guyana . The discussion was moderated by Vice Chancellor Professor Paloma Mohamed-Martin
Former United Kingdom Prime Minister Tony Blair on Tuesday urged Developed Nations at the next United Nations Climate Change Conference to inject large amounts of financing to shift from fossil fuels to cleaner energy by poorer nations.
“I hope that this COP (Conference of the Parties) comes up with a significant and improved framework whereby the Developed world realises its job is to help that process of financing the energy transition in the Developing world,” he said.
Looking ahead to 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP) to be held from November 30 to December 12 in Dubai, he appeared to be fatigued by pledges and promises at climate change events. Originally, he said Western Nations such as the United States, Europe and other Developed Nations have “created” the climate crisis, but in future as Developing Nations such as India, China and other Southeast Asian nations grow by 2030, the combined emissions of the US and Europe would be 20 percent while those from China and Southeast Asia would be almost 70 percent. Turning his attention to Guyana, he said this Developing Nation has a task of earning revenues from oil and gas while protecting the environment. “This is why Guyana is such an interesting country because you are going to have to develop. You will have the capacity to develop with the oil and gas industry but at the same time you want to be responsible stewards of the environment so you, in a way here, personify the dilemma that the world has,” he said.
Guyana’s President Irfaan Ali noted that the 33-nation Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) has a financing gap of $2.3 trillion of investment to achieve essential sustainable development goals by 2030. “No one knows where that money is coming from. That is the development challenge,” he said. He supported the International Monetary Fund’s recommendation that the carbon credit price be increased from less than $7 per tonne to $70 per tonne.
Mr Blair said the time has come for an end to commitments to, for instance, using Artificial Intelligence (AI) in research and development to find new and “practical, intelligent” solutions to climate change, and demand and supply in areas such as nuclear fusion.”This is the moment when you’ve got to move out pledges and promises to practical action because this is only going to be able to solve the problem,” he said.
The former British Prime Minister also said there was a crucial role for India and China in combatting climate change, and urged nations to find a middle ground in addressing the climate crisis that has been wreaking havoc through intense droughts, severe floods and violent storms.”Whatever problems we have that are in the realm of confrontation, we can’t solve climate change without developing technology and we can’t develop the technology unless countries like China and India are part of the solution,” he said at the launch of the University of Guyana’s Sophia Rainforest Research Centre, Essequibo River.
The Executive Chairman of the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change said that would be the biggest issue at COP 28.
He issued a stirring appeal for an end to the more 20-year standoff between environmentalists and developmentalists, and urged that they instead strive for a combined balance between the two. “It won’t happen, in my view, unless we understand that at a certain point that we really consider the interest of humanity. Whatever disagreements we have, whatever factors and breaks that we have in the international community over various issues- of course they’re important- on this issue of the environment, the world has got to stand together or they fall together,” he told academics and policymakers.
Guyana, despite being an emerging major oil producer in Latin America and the Caribbean, has developed a low carbon development strategy. American oil company, Hess, last year purchased $750 million worth of carbon credits between 2022 and 2032.