Guyanese President Rebukes BBC Journalist Over Climate Change Question. WATCH

Guyanese President Irfaan Ali engaged in a tense exchange with a BBC journalist during a segment on the BBC HardTalk show, where he addressed questions about Guyana’s carbon emissions amidst plans for oil and gas extraction from its coast. In a viral video capturing the heated interaction, Ali halted host Stephen Sackur, questioning his authority to lecture on climate change and implying bias towards industrialised nations.

Sackur referenced reports indicating that oil and gas extraction could result in over two billion tonnes of carbon emissions from Guyana’s coast. He pressed Ali about his attendance at the COP28 climate summit in Dubai.

Interrupting, Ali countered, saying, “Let me stop you right there. Did you know Guyana has a forest cover the size of England and Scotland combined? A forest that stores 19.5 gigatonnes of carbon. Forests that we have kept alive”. 

Challenged about releasing carbon, Ali swiftly responded, “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 that stores 19.5 gigatons of carbon that you enjoy, that the world enjoys.”

Ali criticised the lack of compensation for biodiversity conservation and accused developed countries of hypocrisy, stating, “Even with our greatest exploration of the oil and gas resources we have now, we will still be net-zero (in emissions).”

The Guyanese President also stated that his country is not compensated for the forests that its people have kept alive.

“Over the last 50 years, the world has lost 65% of its biodiversity. We have maintained our biodiversity. Do you value it? Are you prepared to pay for it? When will developed countries pay for it? Or are you in their pocket? Are you in the pockets of those who have harmed our environment? Are you in the pockets of those who ruined the environment during the Industrial Revolution and now lecture us? Are you paid by them?” Irfaan Ali inquired, his tone sharp.

Here’s The Full Interview: 

Here’s How People Reacted To It: 

The video resonated widely, with many praising Ali’s candid critique of perceived double standards towards developing nations.

People had plenty to say about the interview. “I admired how the President handled this reporter. He advocated for his country and the Caribbean. Do not come for us in the Caribbean, BBC! We did not call you!” wrote one YouTube user.

“Excellent job, President. “All Guyanese should be extremely proud of you,” said another. “Mr. President, we completely support you,” said a third.

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