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An awakening for politicians

  • Published at 12:05 am May 23rd, 2019
Clean Energy

The political will to fight climate change is still in short supply

Within days of a UN report about the precarious impact of climate change, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has renewed a call for the strengthening of a fading political will to address the matter. 

The UN report suggests 20% of world biodiversity is at risk in the next decade, unless firm action is taken to reduce carbon emission to less than 1%. 

Without the recalcitrant US, it is doubtful whether Guterres’ call will have any impact, though most European countries have announced deadlines within a decade to prevent new vehicles from being anything but electric. 

What they haven’t done is address the phasing out of nuclear plants for energy supplies, and Germany for one is pipelining new fuel supplies from Russia much to the chagrin of the US.

Fossil fuels have to be phased out, and no one is guessing what this would mean to the economies of the oil rich petroleum exporting countries. This reach extends beyond the Middle East, and includes all major countries. 

Not enough investment and focus has been given to wind power and electricity as cleaner resources. That by itself creates a dilemma of sorts. 

With hydro-electric power coming under short supply, nuclear energy was seen as a substitute, and countries like Bangladesh have just begun to build nuclear power plants. 

The answer is so far seen as solar and wind power, and economically viable versions of the two have not been made available to countries such as India and China, arguably the largest polluters of the environment.

The climate change agreement was a start and an agreement to cut carbon emission to the extent of carbon trading. But ever since Donald Trump’s refusal to accept that climate change exists, even US scientists have gone on the back foot in finding answers. 

In the meantime, the decided change of weather patterns ranging from unseasonal cold snaps through heatwaves and bushfires continue, as reminders of what lies in store. 

Coal is another major pollutant, and countries dependent on the ore for sustaining their economies have not figured out the viable alternatives. Australia is one that doesn’t have an answer to the coral reef that they stand to lose. More so, they have no clue what such a loss will do to their aquatic resources and the delicate balance that nature has blessed us with.

Scientists are warning us every day and it is a lack of political will that prevents using the abundance of solar energy that can be obtained from the African continent and indeed the Middle East. 

Even children have taken to the streets demanding action from the politicians. They, on the other hand, are driven by populists and nationalistic demands of life and livelihood, and the despicable trade-in-arms that induce conflict and further the climate decline. 

Mahmudur Rahman is a writer, columnist, broadcaster, and communications specialist.