Green and carbon
KATHMANDU, JUN 06 -
The biggest man-made disaster in the history of mankind, Climate change, is proving to be a test of humanity’s capacity to put public good over private interests. So far, humanity has failed. This issue of emissions, politically intractable, refuses to budge because of the differences between the developed and the developing countries over who should bear greater share of the burden of past and future emissions. The developing countries want the developed countries to do more because their historical emissions are largely responsible for present Climate change. The developed countries worry that their economies will be competitively disadvantaged if they alone commit to strict environmental standards. Nevertheless, there are some areas of agreement. All countries accept there is no alternative turning to renewable energy and transitioning to a green economy. That is why the slogan of the World Environment Day yesterday (Green economy: does it include you?), needs to be internalised by all countries.
Green economy means adopting carbon-neutral technologies. It is a solution put forward mostly by the developed countries, who in the past have made numerous commitments, including those in the Kyoto protocol, to reduce emissions. They have not followed up on their commitments. Instead, they want new agreements that puts greater burden on developing countries to do more to reduce emissions. Nepal’s position in this regard, like most of the developing world, is to refrain from making any commitments that could jeorpardise its economic growth. Nepal is right to take such a position because although the ideas behind green economy are good—and sooner or later, all countries will have to go green to avoid climate disasters and to create a sustainable future—developing countries should not give up their rights to choose their own development path. All agreements and commitments must take into account past and current inequalities of the global system as well as future energy consumption necessary for growth.
This is not to say that Nepal should hesitate from going green. The prospects of green economy in Nepal are good. Proper utilisation of already existing natural resources such as rivers, forests and the biodiversity of the country can contribute significantly to national income. In this context, it must be remembered that over 64 percent of population is dependent on firewood. Without alternatives, it would be difficult to transition to a green economy, a process which requires huge amount of investment and transfer of knowledge and technology from mostly developed countries to developing countries. Technology transfer means investing in renewable energy, for example, wind, solar, bio gas and hydroelectricity. For this, the government should launch a serious effort to attract technology, whether through bilateral or multilateral channels. Doing so will enable Nepal to not only to provide energy to the needy, but also to do its part to save the world from the disaster that is Climate change.
Posted on: 2012-06-06 08:35