Ed’s note: Comfort vs climate


In our newsletter today is a summary of an article originally published by the MIT Technology Review, about the “aggressive, detailed and wide-ranging plans for combating climate change,” that Senator Elizabeth Warren has put forward as part of her presidential campaign.

These include “creating a Green Apollo Plan that would inject $400 billion into clean-energy research and development; a Green Industrial Mobilization Plan that would commit the government to spend $1.5 trillion on American-made emissions-free technologies; and a Green Marshall Plan that would provide $100 billion to help other nations buy those US products.”

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One of Warren’s other commitments is to “recommit the US to the Paris climate accords on day one of her presidency.”

Ultimately, her plans could cost the US Treasury some $3 trillion over the next decade; and the consensus is that it will be nigh on impossible to get this plan passed by the various levels of government.

It got me wondering about the overarching impacts that climate change has had on so many aspects of our lives, and on the utility sector in particular. It also made me wonder if we care enough to make a difference while we still can, or if other considerations – profit, jobs, economic prosperity – will ultimately keep us on the same path.

To be honest, it brought up more questions than answers.

What will it take in terms of extreme weather for society to realise that things need to change and that the change cannot happen in one country – but must be global. At what point will survival trump our insistence on ‘comfort above all’ and convenience? When will it become clear that ignoring climate change on one continent impacts the lives of people, half a world away?

This was brought home very clearly when parts of Southern and Eastern Africa were hit by Hurricane Idai – one of the worst to hit an area seldom impacted by such extreme weather events. Hundreds died, infrastructure was destroyed and in addition to the human cost, the financial cost has been devastating.

The increased levels of drought across Africa are another example. These cannot be a direct result of the excessive production of greenhouses gases or disregard for climate change. Africa as a continent is the lowest producer of greenhouses gases in the world.

The people of the island nation of the Maldives too are being impacted and affected by a climate crisis that they have not been responsible for creating – but the consequence of which they have to live with. Their president has been vocal on international platforms about the danger his nation is in of going the same way as Atlantis.

So what needs to change? What needs to happen for us to finally take a stand and insist that our governments do the responsible thing – not just for their citizens but for the citizens of the world?

At what point did we decide that the air-conditioned or centrally-heated comfort of a middle-aged housewife in Europe or the United States or China is worth more than the livelihood of a farmer in Africa or a fisherman in the Maldives?

Do you have an opinion on this? We’d love to hear what you think. Contact us at editorial@smart-energy.com.

Until next time!


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