Opening the Ambition Summit on December 12, 2020, prime minister of the United Kingdom Mr. Boris Johnson announced his government’s decision to bring an end to direct support for fossil fuel energy projects across the world. On December 4, 2020, the BBC in a report highlighted Denmark’s decision not to pursue new petroleum exploration activities offshore, especially in the North Sea, and targetting 2050 as the year to fully end all activities with regard to fossil fuels. Thus, Denmark aims to cut emission by 70% by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050. These actions and policy directions are due to the negative effect global warming has on the world. It is understandable, because we have one planet and until we discover another planet that is habitable and we are able to reach it, we must do our utmost best to protect planet earth.
Having a unified front with regard to countries coming together to help fight climate change is critical, and it is commendable to witness the progress being made by all parties that have signed onto the Paris Agreement. Britain and Denmark’s effort must be applauded and adopted by other developed countries in order for the world to gear toward transitioning to low-carbon energy sources.
The fact is that developed countries have greatly benefitted from fossil fuels. For years, fossil fuels have propelled and powered their industries, created wealth, improved their lives and helped these countries to be in the state that they are in currently. Although we must commend efforts to cut down carbon dioxide (Co2) emissions by these countries, it must also be noted that it is a responsibility owed the world to help curtail the problem of climate change after years of Co2 emissions by these countries.
But one big question is whether all countries should join the net zero bandwagon. Of course, presenting a unified front is indeed one way of solving this issue. However, the world is not balanced in terms of power and wealth. Countries that have benefitted from fossil fuel the most must have greater input in solving the issue. Likewise, emission levels must also count for something.
Developing countries that have recently discovered oil and gas resources, such as my nation Ghana, should also be able to utilise its petroleum resources to propel and power industries, create wealth and improve the lives of its people. It would be unfair for nascent oil producers to be disadvantaged as a result of problems caused by countries which have benefitted from fossil fuel for decades. The key thing is that countries which are now blessed with fossil fuel resources must exploit and use them in a sustainable way in order to reduce carbon emissions.
Most developing countries have less manufacturing capacity, emit less Co2 and are too financially handicapped to fully adopt net zero policies. However, developing countries should work toward having a diverse energy mix, adopt energy-efficient technologies as well as other climate change mitigation measures, as they build their capacity to fully join the net zero bandwagon.
Global warming and climate change are major threats to our existence. It was a topical issue before COVID-19 and will still be the number-one issue post-COVID-19; hence, it is prudent for us all – in the spirit of sustaining our world and making it a better place for us now and for future generations – to work together on achieving net zero in the long term.
About the writer:
King A. Wellington is a business strategist with expertise in executing projects and helping companies achieve their goals in diverse industries. King can be contacted via www.linkedin.com/in/kingwellington