To what extent do you agree that the global physical environment is showing healthy signs of improvement, following better international co-operation and use of cleaner technology? With an ever increasing population, quickly industrializing BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) Economies and growing Global Superpowers, world energy demands are increasing exponentially.
To meet the demand for this more energy is needed to be supplied, historically normally fossil fuels such as Oil, Gas, and Coal power stations would have been the solution but now, due the seen effects of climate change and the potential problems we would face, cleaner ‘green’ technology is being utilized.
In most MEDC’s, the green energy industry is one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy (in terms of investment), and progress is being made as has been seen with the construction of; massive wind farms (London Array), Solar Plants (California), Hydroelectric Dams (3 Gorges Dam) and even the switch back to Nuclear power (although this does have its own problems on the global physical environment in terms of pollution of Nuclear waste). Whilst this change is positive and is improving the global physical environment, there are still huge industries not wanting to conform to cleaner technology due to the increased costs.
Examples of this are commonly the massive multinational cooperation’s who exploit the lack lustre health and safety standards in LEDC’s for their own gain at the detriment to the environment, the Union Carbide factory in Bhopal in India was found to have left large quantities or poisonous fatal chemicals open to the air killing hundreds of people. On a national scale China, the second largest polluter, is on a current program of opening up a new coal burning power station every week, to help its energy needs.
Largely publicized global issues such as climate change have in recent years brought the world together and international co-operation to try to unite on solving certain problems for the benefit of the planet. The Kyoto protocol of 1997 was the first example of this, where the objective was the “stabilization and reconstruction of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. The aim was that all the participating nations commit themselves to tackling the issue of global warming and greenhouse gas emissions. The target agreed upon was an average reduction of 5. 2% from 1990 levels by the year 2012. Under the terms of the agreement countries have committed themselves reduction of Greenhouse Gasses by the targets of, 8% for the European Union and others, to 7% for the United States, 6% for Japan and 0% for Russia.
There are many problems associated with this treaty; it allows permits emission increases of 8% for Australia and 10% for Iceland over the treaty time. The USA (the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter) refused to co-operate with the treaty claiming it would damage the US economy. both very against the idea of the scheme because they see it as barriers placed upon them by richer countries with the aim of slowing down their very fast GDP growth.
They also cite the fact that when the current MEDC’s such as the UK were in the developing stage (i. . Industrial Revolution) there were no barriers in place to limit their growth and consequentially these countries grew larger into their current status. It is a key feature of these talks, that although there is a unifying desire to improve the global physical environment Nations will primarily look out for themselves and will be concerned more about the potential impact the treaty will have on domestic GDP rather than the Net gain to the global economy in terms of environmental improvements.
Finally it is also interesting to see that multination companies who preach cooperate responsibility often maintain environmental derogatory operations in LEDC’s where there is less health and safety measures in place. One example of this is Royal Dutch Shell exploiting the Nigerian Delta for oil reserves. Shell; implement poor environmental quality pipes which cause oil leaks causing massive damage on local ecosystems.