The Amaila Falls Hydropower Project is the keystone of Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy, that was launched in 2009 by then-President Bharrat Jagdeo. But the project has been on hold since August 2013, when the project developer, Blackstone Group’s Sithe Global pulled out.
On Monday, Guyana’s Finance Minister, Winston Jordan, presented the state budget in Parliament. In his speech, he slammed the proposed Amaila Falls hydropower dam, the flagship project of Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy.
Norway has transferred US$80 million to the Inter-American Development Bank as part of the Norway-Guyana US$250 million REDD deal. Perhaps surprisingly, if Guyana spends the money it will involve the destruction of a large area of rainforest.
A paper published this week in Nature concludes that the Amazon is losing its capacity to absorb carbon. In the past decade, the carbon absorbed by the Amazon each year has decreased by about one-third.
Over the past two weeks, a series of articles has appeared in the Kaieteur News about Chinese logging company Bai Shan Lin’s operations in Guyana. The articles accuse Bai Shan Lin of operating illegally. The Guyana Forestry Commission responds that “there is no circumventing of Guyana’s logging laws by Bai Shan Lin”.
Gold mining in Guyana is booming. It’s the country’s biggest export. Last year Guyana exported gold worth US$1 billion. But government is failing to address the serious environmental and social impacts caused by gold mining.
In recent months, the Guyana Forestry Commission has released a series of annual reports, dating from 2005 to 2012. Janette Bulkan and John Palmer wrote a series of five articles for the Stabroek News commenting on the annual reports and recommending that the National Assembly should hold public hearings on the GFC.
“Checking deforestation requires respect for our basic rights, which are the rights of all peoples and all human beings. Deforestation is unleashed when our rights are not protected and our lands and forests are taken over by industrial interests without our consent.”