Jagdeo upset at ‘junk economics’ report
Angered by a report which suggested that the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) is based on advice that could be described as ‘junk economics,” President Bharrat Jagdeo has accused Rainforest Foundation UK of being stuck in the colonial-era mentality.
International consultants, McKinsey and Company, have provided services to Guyana and other countries in the context of a global plan to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, called REDD, which was agreed to at the just ended UN Climate Summit in Cancun.
Rainforest Foundation UK has said that McKinsey’s advice has been used wholesale by Guyana to produce the LCDS, which forms the basis for a five-year forest-saving deal with Norway worth US$250 million.
The LCDS is also being supported with financing from the World Bank.
But Rainforest Foundation UK, which has been working since 1989 for the protection of the forest, says McKinsey’s advice is based on flawed analysis which could end up causing more destruction of natural forests and weaken forestry regulations in Guyana.
Jagdeo last Wednesday accused Rainforest Foundation UK of “nitpicking” saying they were doing so to attract funding.
The first McKinsey report for Guyana presented a deforestation scenario of 4.3% per year – which would result in near total destruction of Guyana’s rainforest in 25 years. But Rainforest Foundation UK says this is wildly inflated from the actual rate of deforestation, which is estimated to be between 0.1% and 0.3% per year.
According to the UK group, the McKinsey scenario suggests that Guyana could earn approximately US$580 million per year by cutting its forest and replacing it with high value agriculture at this inflated pace, but this figure is unreasonable, Rainforest Foundation UK argued.
“Although this is implausible due to poor soil quality, the President of Guyana repeated this figure in international meetings as the level of funding Guyana would need to prevent deforestation,” a study by Rainforest Foundation UK stated.
When questioned of the study by Rainforest Foundation UK, President Jagdeo said that it must be offensive to the group that Guyana was creating its own model.
“It must be offensive to them: How dare this Black person from a Third World Country want to talk about his own country’s rainforest and try to create their own model? How dare they do that?
“It happened when they thought that we needed to be civilised in the colonial era and still the colonial era mentality remains with a lot of these people.”
Jagdeo added of the thinking of Rainforest Foundation UK: “How dare people like us want to do our own thing without intellectual authority or the intellectual concept coming from them? That is people like the Rainforest Foundation UK. That is the philosophy that they have.”
Rainforest Foundation UK described McKinsey’s advice to Guyana as ‘McREDD’ and compares it to a ‘fast-food’ alternative.
“McREDD looks great and promises many things, but it is produced quickly, from ready-made ingredients, and could seriously damage health. In the end, junk economics could be more damaging to the world’s rainforests than junk food,” Rainforest Foundation UK states.
Guyana’s rainforest amounts to 15 million hectares – the size of England.
McREDD: a note from the Editor of ForestIndustries.EU: