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President of Guyana Levels Interview Host Who Tries to Shame Him on Carbon Emissions

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While trying to shame governments for carbon emissions might work oddly well in the Western world, the same can’t be said globally.

During an interview with the BBC that aired Friday, Guyuna President Mohamed Irfaan Ali managed to expertly dismantle attempts by the interviewer to shame him for his country’s possible contributions to climate change resulting from its newly discovered oil reserves.

Stephen Sackur, host of the BBC’s “HARDtalk,” asked Ali whether it would be environmentally friendly for Guyana — a small South American country north of Brazil — to tap into the reserves.

The interviewer acknowledged they could bring $150 billion worth of oil over the next decade or two but then decried the possible environmental toll that could result.

“That means, according to many experts, more than 2 billion tonnes of carbon emissions will come from your seabed, from those reserves, and be released into the atmosphere,” Sackur said.

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Ali was taking none of his moral righteousness, interrupting him and returning a question to him.

“Let me stop you right there,” the South American leader said.

“Do you know that Guyana has a forest, forever, that is the size of England and Scotland combined?” he said. “A forest that stores 19.5 gigatons of carbon, a forest that we have kept alive, a forest that we have kept alive?”

Sackur wasn’t too fond of the pushback, interjecting, “Does that give you the right — does that give you the right to release all of this carbon?”

Is climate change a pressing issue in the world?

No amount of whining about carbon emission would sway Ali, who heatedly fired back, “Does this 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, that stores 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,” he said.

But that wasn’t enough for the South American leader — he was out for blood.

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He told Sackur that Guyana has the “lowest deforestation rate in the world” and that even as the country moves to drill the oil reserves it will maintain “net-zero emissions.”

The BBC host attempted to interrupt, but Ali didn’t let him.

“I am just not finished just yet, because this is a hypocrisy that exists in the world,” he snapped. “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 the developed world going to pay for it?”

He continued questioning Sackur.

“Are you in the pockets of those who have damaged the environment?” Ali asked. “Are you and your system in the pockets of those who destroyed the environment through the Industrial Revolution and now lecturing us? Are you in their pockets? Are you paid by them?”

The back-and-forth, which begins at the 14:00 mark in the video below, went on for a few more minutes before Sackur finally changed the subject.

The Guyanan president did a perfect job shutting down the interviewer’s attempt at declaring moral superiority over climate change and global warming.

Ali leads a small nation in South America with an extremely small carbon footprint.

The discovered oil reserves are a massive deal for its economy, breathing life into the nation.

To try and shame Guyana for tapping into its natural resources is disingenuous and rude.

If Sackur is truly concerned about carbon emissions, why isn’t he hounding the leaders of China and India about what they’re doing?

The BBC host simply wanted to feel morally superior by taking the publicly accepted stance on the issue — and was called out for it in a big way.


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