Guyana’s government is being taken to court by two citizens seeking an end to offshore drilling by ExxonMobil and other large oil firms that will exacerbate the climate crisis. The case has been filed by Quadad de Freitas, a 21-year old Indigenous tourist guide from the Rupununi region, and Dr Troy Thomas, a university lecturer and former president of the anti-corruption organisation Transparency Institute Guyana . They claim Guyana’s approval of oil exploration licences violates the government’s legal duty to protect their right and the right of future generations to a healthy environment. It is the first constitutional climate case in the Caribbean to challenge fossil fuel production on climate and human rights grounds. The discovery of oil and subsequent production-sharing agreements with some of the world’s largest fossil fuel firms have proved politically explosive in the small South American country, where about two-fifths of the population live below the poverty line of US$5.50 a day. The multibillion-dollar Stabroek exploration block off the coast of Guyana is a joint-venture between the oil firms ExxonMobil, Hess Corporation and a subsidiary of the China National Offshore Oil Company. ExxonMobil estimates at least 8bn barrels of crude oil lie under the sea, […]

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