Video of Guyana’s president snapping back at BBC reporter’s climate quiz goes viral: ‘Let me stop you’

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By Usa Express Daily


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A video of Guyana President Mohamed Irfaan Ali blasting a BBC reporter for trying to lecture him about climate change went viral this week.

In an interview with BBC journalist Stephen Sackur, the world leader rejected the reporter’s insinuation that his country will be contributing to climate change by allowing for oil extraction off its coast.

As Sackur implied that Guyana was in the wrong for doing so, asking the leader if he has “the right” to drill, an animated President Ali put his hand up and cut him off, asking, “Does that give you the right to lecture us on climate change?”

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Guyana’s President Mohamed Irfaan Ali recently blasted a BBC reporter for attempting to lecture him on climate change. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

The exchange began with Sackur asking Ali about the carbon emission rates that will come from Guyana’s push to extract fossil fuels along its coast.

“Let’s take a big picture of what’s going on here,” he began. “Over the next decade, two decades, it is expected that there will be $150 billion worth of oil and gas extracted off your coast. It’s an extraordinary figure.”

Sackur followed up with criticism, saying, “But think of it in practical terms: that means, according to many experts, more than two billion tons of carbon emissions will come from your seabed, from those reserves and be released into the atmosphere.”

As the reporter began asking the head of state whether he attended a recent international climate conference, the president held up his hand and said, “Let me stop you right there. Let me stop you right there.”

The president proceeded to turn the tables on the reporter, defending his country’s record of taking care of the environment and later accusing western countries of hurting it.

“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, a forest that we have kept alive?”

The interview became more contentious, with the reporter firing back, “Does that give you the right – does that give you the right to release all this carbon?” 

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President Ali pushed back on suggestions his country was harming the environment by claiming that Guyana has the lowest deforestation rate in the world. (Adobe Stock)

Ali was having none of it and cut Sackur off again. “Does that give you the right to lecture us on climate change? I am going to lecture you on climate change,” he declared.

Ali continued: “Because we have kept this forest alive, that stores 19.5 gigatons of carbon that you enjoy, that the world enjoys, that you don’t pay us for, that you don’t value, that you don’t see a value in, that the people of Guyana has kept alive.”

Still, the leader wasn’t finished. After claiming that his county has the “lowest deforestation rate in the world” and that even with the drilling, it will have “net-zero” emissions,” he accused western nations of being hypocritical on the environmental issues. 

Despite Sackur trying to cut back in, Ali continued to speak, “I am just not finished just yet, because this is a hypocrisy that exists in the world. The world, in the last 50 years has lost 65 percent of all its biodiversity. We have kept our biodiversity. Are you valuing it? Are you ready to pay for it? When is the developed world is going to pay for it or are you in their pockets?”

The president continued peppering the BBC man with questions, “Are you in the pockets of those who have damaged the environment? Are you in the pockets – Are you and your system in the pockets of those who destroy the environment through the industrial revolution and now lecturing us? Are you in their pockets? Are you paid by them?” 

The clip closed with Sackur trying to wind down the exchange, saying, “All right. All right, Mr. President.”

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