Home LCDS The political economy of the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS)
The political economy of the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS)

Last week I concluded my rather extended discussion on the current global economic crisis and the lessons to be learnt from this. I trust readers would not infer from this that I believe the global crisis is over and we can safely return to business as usual. Far from it, while this is an appropriate point to introduce other topics to the discussion, I promise I will return to the global crisis if there are significant untoward developments in the coming weeks as we close out 2009 and enter into the New Year, 2010.

Readers would recall that, at their urging, a couple of months ago I had promised to engage two topics. One is the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS). The draft LCDS was released for consultations by the government last June (2009). The other topic is to revisit my rather extended elaboration of the thesis regarding the “criminalization of the state in Guyana.” This was represented more than six years ago in these Sunday Stabroek columns (March 2003 to September 2003). Both topics are now extremely timely.

In regard to the first, the United Nations Climate Change Conference (UN-CCC) known as the Copenhagen Summit will be on us in less than a fortnight’s time. It has been planned to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which comes to an end in 2012 with a planned successor agreement (Copenhagen Protocol!) to avoid global catastrophe due to climate change and global warming.
In regard to the latter, the Joint Opposition Political Parties (JOPP) have issued a dossier calling for an international inquiry into human rights abuses in Guyana. As a consequence issues pertaining to the criminalization of the state are right now leading public political discussions.
The problem that I face, however, is that the promised revision of the draft LCDS is not yet available on the website of the Office of the President. The government promise reported in the media as recently as mid-October this year is that the revised LCDS will be taken to the National Assembly before the summit. The most recent substantial addition to the website has been the Memoran-dum of Understanding be-tween the Government of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana and the Government of the Kingdom of Norway regarding cooperation on “Issues related to the Fight against Climate Change, the Protection of Biodiversity and the Enhancement of Sustainable Development,” signed on November 9, 2009, and the accompanying Joint Concept Note on REDD+ cooperation between the Governments of Guyana and Norway.
Despite the absence of the final LCDS document at this late stage, I shall start my assessment of the draft LCDS, hoping the revised version will be as expected, made available in time for the Copenhagen Summit. What I intend to do is to develop an assessment of the LCDS from the perspective of what is termed a ‘political economy approach.’ To avoid confusion, I shall make clear for the remainder of this article what exactly is meant when I refer to a ‘political economy approach to the LCDS.’

What is meant by political economy
To begin with, this approach implies that my evaluation of the LCDS will be from a multi-disciplinary perspective. That is, it will encompass a range of disciplines, utilized in an integrated way, but with primary emphasis on the politics and economics of the LCDS.
The other disciplines involved include, but do not exhaust, the following: international relations, human ecology, history, geography, anthropology, culture and communications, as well as individual and social psychology and behaviour. As I shall demonstrate, such a broad inter-disciplinary approach is in fact dictated by the subject matter under consideration. There is no other approach logically possible.
Second, the special emphasis on politics and economics explicitly refers to the interaction between on the one hand, the state and the political environment, and on the other, the economic system. In the case of the economic system the main sub-disciplines utilized are resource economics, development economics, environmental economics and international development policy and institutions. In the case of the state and the political environment, these will be looked at separately and together in their international, regional and domestic contexts.
Third, and of equal importance to the others, this perspective locates the LCDS in a dynamic, fluid, process-oriented field of inquiry. The emphasis is going to be on explaining/revealing the determining factors (that is, ideas, beliefs, actions and behaviour) in the LCDS. These, I shall argue, define the particular rhythm which governs the economic and political policies and outcomes expected of the LCDS.
Empowered not intimidated

By establishing these issues up front, I do not intend to intimidate readers. On the contrary, my hope is to encourage readers to be empowered with some insights into what the LCDS (draft) holds forth for our country and its future development.
To make all this clearer, I will have to devote some time to a concise and focused presentation of the key elements in the structure of the draft LCDS. In that presentation it will be seen that the draft LCDS purports to be a dynamic structural-transformational and paradigm-shifting formulation of a strategy designed to put Guyana onto a low-carbon development path.
Paradoxically, and therefore ultimately illogically, this is presented within a simple, non-dynamic comparative static framework based on conventional and naïve neoclassical marginal economic analysis. Such poverty of method has underlain many failed conventional economic approaches to policy formulation in poor developing countries.
As I shall argue in this instance, it stems from the fact that the key intellectual ideas and indeed the intellectual authorship of the draft LCDS derive from the naïve adoption of the model presented in the McKinsey Report on Creating Incentives to Avoid Deforestation prepared for the Government of Guyana.

 

LCDS

The political economy of the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS)

Last week I concluded my rather extended discussion on the current global economic crisis and the lessons to be learnt from this. I trust readers would not infer from this that I believe the global crisis is over and we can safely return to business as usual. Far from it, while this is an appropriate point to introduce other topics to the discussion, I promise I will return to the global crisis if there are significant untoward developments in the coming weeks as we close out 2009 and enter into the New Year, 2010.

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Norway’s deception: Partnership or capture of Guyana’s rainforest

In this column last week I started what I hope will be a fairly full assessment of the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS). At the time of writing this column I have not been able to access the revised version of the Draft LCDS, which the government had promised to place in the National Assembly before the United Nations Climate Change Conference (Copenhagen Summit), which starts tomorrow. As I await the revised version of the LCDS, I shall confine my assessment to those topics which should not be significantly affected by likely revisions.

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Norway And Guyana’s rainforest: Why beggars do not choose

For this week’s column, let me begin by re-emphasizing a couple of observations I have made about global inter-governmental negotiations thus far, as I continue to evaluate the low-carbon development strategy and the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), between the Government of Guyana and the Government of the Kingdom of Norway, as well as its related Joint Concept Note between the two parties to the agreement.
Diplomatic principle.

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Norway and Guyana’s rainforest: Santa Claus or Old Higue

I hope that by now readers would have realised that Norway can in no way be looked upon as Guyana’s Santa Claus. I have also tried so far in recent columns to make it categorically clear that my principal intention is not simply to bash Norway as a historic polluter of the earth’s atmosphere. My main purpose in presenting Norway’s horrendous environmental profile is to assert the obligation this places on Guyanese to ensure our pristine forests are developed in an integrated, transparent, accountable and sustainable framework for the benefit of all Guyana. In particular to ensure that our national patrimony does not end up being mortgaged to the promotion of Norway’s studied and calculated efforts to deceive the world into believing that it cares more than any other nation about saving Planet Earth. As the saying goes “beware when Old Higue around looking for life blood.”

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Rule or exception: Double standards and fighting global warming

‘Dirty secrets’
I hope that I have already indicated clearly Norway’s double standards in its climate change and global warming actions. More generally, its Santa Claus image has taken a serious beating in the approach to the just concluded Copenhagen Summit. In his Guardian Weekly column last September, Mark Curtis bemoaned the fact that in spite of Norway’s benign image abroad it had “become the home of four dirty little secrets.” One of these is of course the environmental sleight-of-hand I have been dealing with in these columns in previous weeks.

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