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EU urges Guyana to set level for greenhouse gas emissions

EU Ambassador to Guyana, Robert Kopecky.

The European Union (EU) on Tuesday called on Guyana to heighten efforts to set a benchmark for reducing greenhouse gases that experts believe cause climate change spawning droughts, storms and floods.

“Climate change is a particularly important issue for Guyana and the Caribbean region, and I urge Guyana to follow the EU’s lead by intensifying their domestic preparations to put their intended emissions reduction contribution forward as soon as possible,” EU Ambassador to Guyana, Robert Kopecky said in a statement marking Climate Diplomacy Day.

The EU envoy is using Climate Diplomacy Day, to be observed on June 17, 2015, to make a pitch for Guyana and the rest of the Caribbean to set their emissions levels ahead of the expected adoption of a new global climate deal in Paris in December of this year.

Experts and governments hope to agree to a robust and dynamic deal capable of keeping the global temperature rise below 2°C.

The EU leaders have already agreed to a binding target of at least 40% emissions reduction in greenhouse gases by 2030.

Kopecky wants Guyana to give the issue of climate change the same priority as the regional political and economic bloc that he represents.

According to the EU diplomat, the setting of emission benchmarks by individual countries will demonstrate that they are serious in sealing a pact on what is needed. “Only a critical mass of ambitious contributions as early as possible will demonstrate the seriousness of our collective efforts.”

He urged Guyana to swiftly submit its proposed level of reduced emissions to send a strong signal that the country is committed to the process like other nations. “Timely delivery of the each country’s contributions is vital for the credibility of the negotiations demonstrating political willingness of all to act on climate change. An effective deal in Paris will not be credible if only a few have proven their resolve to act in future,” he said.

Guyanese experienced the realities of climate change ten years ago when a severe flood caused by heavy rainfall ravaged the economy, caused widespread property damage and even 33 deaths due to the water-borne disease, leptopsirosis.