WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Peter Welch (D-VT) today wrote to U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry to express his concerns about the future of clean energy in Guyana. In his letter, the Senator urged him to engage with leadership in the South American nation to ensure the country follows through on its Low Carbon Development Strategy and other environmental stewardship efforts as it positions itself to be one of the highest oil producing countries in the world by 2025.
“I ask your office to monitor Guyana’s progress in meeting its commitments and report back on additional U.S. actions or assistance that would help Guyana reach this goal,” wrote Sen. Welch in the letter to Special Envoy Kerry. “I am encouraged by Guyana’s desire to control and manage its natural resources in consideration of long-term sustainability challenges. These efforts will play a critical role in shaping the country’s response to climate change. I am also encouraged that, during Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s visit to the country, the Government of Guyana emphasized its desire to strengthen its partnership with the United States on environmental priorities and reaffirmed its commitment to decarbonization objectives. We should do all we can to help Guyana be successful in that effort….”
Guyana’s offshore oilfields have driven a projected economic growth of 38% by the end of the year, according to recent reports, with real GDP projected to rise about 115% in the next five years. This rapid development will require accountability measures, as outlined in Sen. Welch’s letter:
“As international extraction companies begin drilling, it is imperative that the Government of Guyana ensure extraction companies are held accountable for preparing for and mitigating any potential environmental damage and hazards, especially given the immense risk deep-sea oil drilling poses for Caribbean nations. I encourage you to support U.S. government technical assistance to Guyana’s Environmental Protection Agency in achieving these ends,” wrote the Senator in the letter.
Guyana has established a Low Carbon Development Strategy and Natural Resources Fund. Should the country continue supporting these efforts, the proceeds from oil revenues would finance social programs, promote clean energy initiatives, and protect biodiversity in the country. It is essential that Guyana vigorously pursue to the strategy and funding to uplift the country’s citizens, preserve delicate ecosystems, and stimulate low-carbon development in keeping with the goals of the Paris Agreement. Sen. Welch requested the Climate Envoy and the State Department support and monitor Guyana’s progress in these efforts.
Read the full letter here.