“A treaty will happen only when nations see they can meet targets without compromising growth. The U.S. has shown that can happen.”
- Bruce Usher.
When these two topics are discussed together, every nation thinks in the following distinct perspectives:
- Strong and stable Economic growth is close to impossible without significantly high carbon footprint and
- A nation’s efforts towards reducing its GHG emissions, will come at a huge cost of sluggish economic growth.
These have led to meagre negotiations on carbon emission targets, as many countries (mostly developing) believe that they cannot bring a radical change in their ideologies concerning climate change, and would rather be comfortable with feeble policies and actions for reducing GHG emissions.
He agrees that, from the time the US signed the Rio Convention in 1992, it didn’t do enough to mitigate climate change, as international agreements were dismissed, domestic legislation was stalled, and greenhouse gas emissions soared. But he stresses on the fact that much has been done on this front in the last 6 years.
“Since 2005, emissions of greenhouse gases in America have declined by 10 percent while real GDP grew 12 percent and the per capita emissions have declined even further”, as quoted by Bruce Usher. The reasons for the same are:
- Since 2005, the cost of renewable energy has plunged, led by solar declining by more than half.
- Federal and state government policies & regulations have supported renewable energy to a greater extent.
- Energy Efficiency, though not in the headlines, has also contributed significantly.
- All those smart phones, tablets and other technological devices have become more energy efficient almost as quickly as we have been buying them.
He further noted that: “Forecasts that reducing emissions would wreck our economy have been made so frequently that most people now take it as fact; it just happens to be untrue.”
He suggested that the United Nations Climate Summit is not a forum for only some nations to discuss issues of Climate Change, but for all nations to collectively participate and develop a road-map to extenuate the effect of Climate Change, that casts an ominous shadow over our future. The progress of a nation, by undermining Climate Change, should not come at a cost of regress of some other nations.
The media article can be accessed here.
About Bruce Usher: Academic and entrepreneur focused on social enterprise to address global environmental and social challenges, especially climate change. He is also on the Board of Advisors of REConnect Energy.
Contributed by Siddhartha