The World Economic Forum brings together the global capitalist elite and their political puppets to ensure the sustainability of their money making machines. It has just launched the report from the latest gathering in Davos, which contains some enlightened recommendations that will please advocates of environmental protection and social justice. The issue ranked 6th in importance is rising pollution in the developing world. While the main focus is on China, the planet’s worst polluter at present, there are many points that are relevant to Mauritius. Here are some highlights:
- The industrialization of the developing world is creating unsustainable pollution levels. The solution requires a technological and an intellectual revolution; an alternative route to economic prosperity that preserves resources and limits carbon emissions has to be developed before it’s too late.
- The developing world has learned a lot about commercial models, infrastructure and technology from Europe and North America. Those patterns worked well economically, but the world’s carbon capacity cannot allow us to continue on this path.
- Developing countries will suffer the most from the weather-related disasters and increased water stress caused by global warming, consequences outlined in our other trend chapters. Even 2°C warming above pre-industrial temperatures – the minimum the world will experience – would result in 4-5% of African and South Asian GDP being lost and developing countries are expected to bear 75-80% of impact costs.
- As important as China’s role will be, the developing world must stick to targets set for renewable power generation, ensure high-polluting industries are properly regulated, and promote clean energy. As the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, China’s policies are critical in addressing global warming, and are also influential for other developing nations. The latter have the most work to do to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and will bear the impacts of global warming, yet the responsibility for the crisis can’t rest with them alone; World Bank research estimates high-income countries are responsible for two-thirds of the CO2released into the atmosphere since 1850.
- It’s important to understand that once high-carbon solutions have been implemented, they are difficult to replace. This means the decisions being made today on power generation, and the way our cities and transport networks are designed, are absolutely crucial. There’s a potential to have a big impact now, but the window of opportunity will close very soon.
Mauritius should be influenced by the targets China has set itself for renewable energy and we should also influence China to raise those targets and achieve them sooner. Instead, our Minister for Energy is reneging on the modest targets set by the previous government and charging full steam ahead towards burning more and more coal. However good a lawyer he is, Ivan Collendavelloo is proving to be a completely useless Minister with no global perspective or concern for the future. Therefore we challenge him to clean up or clear off.
Reference: Outlook on the Global Agenda 2015, World Economic Forum
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