- The South American nation of Guyana entered into an arrangement with ExxonMobil after vast oil resources were discovered off its coast, but many questions remain about what Guyana will actually reap from the project.
- Joining the podcast to discuss the project’s potential environmental, social, and economic impacts is award-winning journalist and podcaster Amy Westervelt: the 8th season of her acclaimed podcast “Drilled” examines this issue.
- Westervelt also discusses the current state of the world’s efforts to address climate change, the ongoing realities that are seemingly in direct contradiction with those goals, and her views on the power of podcasting.
- “What a total failure of international climate negotiations that Global South countries [are] in this position of having to use oil money to pay for climate adaptation. That’s ridiculous,” Westervelt says during the interview.
The South American nation of Guyana, whose economy traditionally has relied on tourism, agriculture, and fishing, has begun business with oil giant ExxonMobil to make a massive offshore oil drilling project a reality along its coast. As the world discusses how to tackle climate change, the corporation is racing to build infrastructure there to begin drilling operations that would normally take a decade.
This week on the podcast, veteran climate journalist Amy Westervelt discusses this project and what the tropical nation is likely to suffer from it, a reality which she covers in the latest season of her podcast, Drilled.
Given Guyana’s vulnerability to climate change and the coastal location of its capital city Georgetown, the project stands in stark contrast to global climate change goals, particularly for a nation whose traditional economic drivers could also be harmed.
Westervelt has reported that Guyana’s president justified the country’s move by saying it would pay for a clean energy transition. However, Georgetown, is already below sea level. “They’re doing the thing that will exacerbate that problem,” says Westervelt.
“I look at that, and I think what a total failure of international climate negotiations that Global South countries — the ones that have fossil fuel resources — are in this position of having to use oil money to pay for climate adaptation. That’s ridiculous,” she says.
At the same time, many governments of industrialized and wealthy nations across the world appear to be continuing development via a ‘business as usual’ approach, including U.S. President Joe Biden, who recently approved the giant Willow oil drilling project in Alaska, which could generate 9.2 million metric tons of carbon emissions each year.
- Oil production or carbon neutrality? Why not both, Guyana says
- Guyana’s future and challenges in oil: Q&A with filmmaker Shane Thomas McMillan
- Guyana seeks offshore oil wealth in a green economy
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Mike DiGirolamo is Mongabay’s audience engagement associate. Find him on Twitter @MikeDiGirolamo, Instagram, TikTok and Mastodon.
Banner Image: Oil production vessel Liza Destiny 200 km offshore of Guyana. Image via www.oilnow.gy.
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