Opening the Ambition Summit on December 12, 2020, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson, announced his government’s decision to bring an end to direct support to fossil fuel energy project across the world. On 4 December, 2020, the BBC highlighted Denmark’s decision not to pursue new petroleum exploration activities offshore, especially in the North Sea and targeting 2050 as the year to fully end all activities with regards to fossil fuels, thus, Demark aims to cut emission down 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, we must do our possible best to protect planet earth.
Having a unified front with regards 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 unto the Paris Agreement. Britain and Denmark’s effort must be applauded and adopted by other developed countries in order for the world to gear towards transitioning to low-carbon energy sources.
The fact is, developed countries have greatly benefited from fossil fuel. For years fossil fuel has propelled and powered their industries, created wealth, improved the lives and helped these countries to be in the state which 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 to the world to help curtail the problem of climate change after years of Co2 emission 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 benefited 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 utilize its petroleum resources to propel and power industries, create wealth and improve the lives of its people. It will be unfair for nascent oil producers to be disadvantaged as a result of problems caused by countries that have benefited from fossil fuel for decades. The key thing is, countries that are now blessed with fossil fuel resources must exploit and use the resources in a sustainable way in order to reduce carbon emission. Most developing countries have less manufacturing capacity, emit less Co2 and financially handicapped to fully adopt net zero policies. However, developing countries should work towards having a diverse energy mix, adopt energy efficiency 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 a major threat 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 to achieve net zero in the long term.
This article was first published on https://blog.bham.ac.uk/business-school/2021/02/16/joining-the-net-zero-bandwagon/