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Developing countries usually rely on cheaper non renewable energy to fuel their economies. It is undeniably condescending of developed countries to preach about the values of renewable energy when those very same countries’ mammoth economies were built off of coal and oil. However, because of the severity of climate change and the immediate nature of the issue the global community must pressure all of its citizens to pursue renewable energy.
Examples of non-renewable energy forms used more heavily in the past have been coal, oil, and natural gas. These carbon based energies were created millions of years ago as high pressure environments condensed still organic materials. Utilizing these energy forms yields enormous amounts of energy but at a great cost. The carbon dioxide emissions released from carbon based fuels incubates the Earth, trapping more heat than usual. This warming effect is responsible for a slew of cataclysmic trends, rising sea level, receding glaciers, and extreme draughts are only the tip of the iceberg. Climate scientists predict that continued fossil fuel use will make large swaths of the Earth inhabitable.
To combat the global climate catastrophe developed countries that currently control capital need to pressure developing countries to rely primarily on renewable energy. The World Bank, a coalition of wealthy developed countries tasked with managing poverty and promoting development, needs to be one of the enforcers. Watchdog groups have reported that the organization, which gives sizable loans to countries to jumpstart their energy infrastructure, was steering countries towards coal and oil investment. A powerful international conglomeration like the World Bank is clearly aware of the problem that climate change poses to us all and needs to lead the charge. That they prioritize quick financial gain over long term global stability is irresponsible and the height of greed. The World Bank has a long history of cozying to the coal and oil industry. The bank’s lending budget for 2017 was approximately $42 billion. This spending power if used to aid the management of climate change would make an enormous difference.
The narrative of numerous developing countries relying on cheap and dirty fossil fuels is not entirely true. Many Western nations like to imagine smog covered third world countries pumping carbon into the atmosphere and play the blame game. While China and India in the past have used massive amounts of coal and oil to fuel their economies many developing countries today are not as reliant, and are rapidly switching over to renewable.
Costa Rica may likely become the first developing country to derive its energy from 100% renewable energy. Costa Rico is of course a vibrant and diverse country home to many environmental advantages absent in other countries. Costa Rica is tapping into its geothermal reserves to produce energy, and has wind farms, hydro plants, and solar panels across the country.
The highly centralized and authoritarian form of government present in China makes a shift to renewable energy feasible. China has pledged to, by 2020, increase all non-fossil fuel energy by 20%. This includes quadrupling the use of solar power technologies, more than doubling use of wind, and phasing out coal. The final goal for Chinese government is to have renewable resources account for almost half of all energy use by 2050. This is ambitious because as of now China uses and produces more renewable energy than any other country.
Renewable energy options present a lucrative alternative for developing countries for multiple reasons. One of the main benefits provided by non-fossil fuel bases is their accessibility. Large shipping operations for imports of coal and oil, and technology needed to drill to reach reservoirs are not a necessity. As the price for renewable technologies like solar panels, hydro, and wind farms drop they will become the smarter more realistic option. Environmental havoc is also a constant issue when pursuing fossil fuels. In Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, one of the country’s main exports and natural resources is oil. The wealth oil brings is a stimulant but also a curse. The Niger Delta has been horribly polluted as a result of the countries inexperienced drillers who often are not equipped with the technology needed to safely extract oil. The extraction process is dangerous, and often sparks eruptions ending in death. The process also decays the surrounding rivers, destroying ecosystems and putting fisherman out of work. The chaotic practice also attracts pirates, siphoning any oil they can find and sowing instability. Investment by foreign energy businesses would preserve ecosystems and provide a safer alternative.
The only way forward is together. We as a international community must unite to find innovative ways to encourage renewable energy. Bodies like the World Bank and large and wealthy energy corporations must themselves transition to renewable energy and encourage developing countries that do not have the advantages of wealth and established industry. Despite how profitable short term investment in fossil fuels can, the temptation must be resisted. Climate change will inevitably cause instability, and instability is always bad for business.
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