‘I’m not finished yet’: Guyana President schools BBC scribe on climate. Watch viral video

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Guyanese President Irfaan Ali on Friday got involved in a heated discussion with a BBC journalist during a segment on the HardTalk show, where he called out ‘wester hypocrisy’ over carbon emissions amid the country’s plans for oil and gas extraction from its coast. 

In the exchange that has gone viral, Ali shut host Stephen Sackur, questioning his authority to lecture on climate change and implying bias towards industrialised nations. Ali  questioned Sackur if he had the “right to lecture him on climate change” and if he was in the “pockets of those who destroy the environment through the industrial revolution and are now lecturing us”.

Ali, countered the journalist’s query that Guyana’s extraction of oil and gas will lead to more than two billion metric tonnes of carbon emissions from its coast, saying, “Do you know that Guyana has a forest forever that is the size of England and Scotland combined? A forest that stores 19.5 Gigatons of carbon, a forest that we have kept alive.”

On this, the journalist questioned him about whether that would give Guyana the right to extract oil and gas and release emissions.

The President said, “Does that give you the right to lecture us on climate change. I am going to lecture you on climate change because we have kept this forest alive. The store’s 19.5 gigatons of carbon that you enjoy, that the world enjoys, that you don’t pay us for, that you don’t value, that you don’t see a value in, that the people of Guyana has kept alive.”

“Guess what? We have the lowest deforestation rate in the world. And guess what? Even with our greatest exploration of the oil and gas resource we have now, we will still be, net 0. Guyana will still be net 0 with all our exploration,” he added.

Making a strong statement on alleged western hypocrisy, the Guyana President said that those who had destroyed the environment are now questioning his country. “I am just not finished as yet because this is a hypocrisy that exists in the world. The world, in the last 50 years has lost 65 percent of all its biodiversity. We have kept our biodiversity. Are you valuing it. Are you ready to pay for it? When is developed world is going to pay for it or are you in their pockets?” the Guyanese President said.

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