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Guyanese president rebuts BBC journalist’s climate change lecture

MEXICO CITY | Xinhua | In a clip of interview released on Friday, Guyanese President Irfaan Ali exposed what he said is the hypocrisy of BBC and western countries against developing countries over the issue of climate change.

“Are you and your system in the pockets of those who destroyed the environment through the industrial revolution and are now lecturing us,” Ali asked BBC journalist Stephen Sackur who questioned the president on Guyana’s carbon emission rates as it planned to extract oil and gas along its coast.

The president of the South American country asked: “Do you know that Guyana has a forest forever that is the size of England and Scotland combined, a forest that stores 19.5 gigatons of carbon, a forest that we have kept alive?”

When the journalist asked the Guyanese president whether the rainforest gave him the “right” to release all the carbon, the Guyanese leader retorted: “Does that give you the right to lecture us on climate change? I’m going to lecture you on climate change.”

“Because we have kept this forest alive … that you enjoy, that the world enjoys, that you don’t pay us for, that you don’t value …” the president said.

“Guess what? We have the lowest deforestation rate in the world. And guess what? Even with the greatest exploration of the oil and gas resource we have now, we will still be net-zero,” he said.

“This is the hypocrisy that exists in the world,” he said. “The world in the last 50 years has lost 65 percent of all its biodiversity. We have kept our biodiversity,” he said.

Guyana is one of the most densely forested countries in South America. ■

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