President Akufo-Addo has described it as unfair calls for developing nations to abandon their recently discovered natural resources to address the dangers of climate change. 

Acknowledging the effects of climate change and the urgent need to combat it, the President said the development of Ghana and its people will remain supreme on any steps taken to advance the discussions on climate change. 

At a speech to open the International Energy Conference and Expo at Guyana in the Caribbean, Akufo-Addo said Africa has all the natural resources needed for growth and development and called for deliberate programs to harness them.

The President also called for countries like Guyana to ensure petroleum resources are exported as value-added products instead of in raw form, as has historically been done in the relationship between developing and developed countries.

Notwithstanding the global discourse on balancing climate change with national development, Akufo Addo said the capacity of developing countries to withstand the shocks of climate change is limited as both agriculture and water resources are under threat because of climate change.

“We have a solemn duty to take immediate, bold, concrete steps to protect the global climate from going beyond unbearable limits,” he told the gathering at the Marriott Hotel, Kingston.

This, he said, requires effective management of these resources.

The President urged Guyana and Ghana to work together, look out for each other, and work to build a future that secures present and future generations.

The international energy conference provides a platform for the exchange of ideas between Ghana, Guyana and Barbados on oil and gas exploitation. 

Already Ghana is helping Guyana develop her local content regime in the oil sector. The prime minister of Barbados Mia Motley, wants citizens of the three countries to benefit more from the oil find.

She explained that these developing countries have been beset by numerous challenges stemming from their exploitation and colonisation by developed countries.

But this consideration comes amid the global conversation on reducing the use of fossil fuels because of their harmful effect on the environment. This potentially means that Guyana and other Caribbean countries cannot fully exploit their oil and natural gas resources.

President of Guyana, Dr Mohammed Irfaan Ali, noted that the era of exploitation is over.

He was adamant that implementing the country’s decades-old Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS), which was recently updated, will ensure consistent energy plans.

He made it clear that Guyana will remain strong on climate change but will not shy away from pursuing a development path of oil and gas.

“I want to state the narrative directly so there will be no need for interpretation. We are pursuing this path, and we the responsibility… we will continue to find space and place to bring global solutions.”

Dr Ali reasoned that developing an energy mix and the responsible exploitation of oil and gas resources will help diversify the economy, “building out many new pillars.”

“Long-term development, not isolated policies.”

Dr Ali talked up Guyana’s global leadership in climate change, eco-systems and biodiversity, reminding that the country presents 18.3 million hectares of standing forests which stores 19.5 gigatons of carbons worth conservatively US$195 billion.

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