- Not denialist but pragmatic
- Prioritizes poverty eradication over climate change
- Protects our immediate geographical environment
This is a hot topic. It’s always trending, and climate change buzzwords are increasingly becoming fashionable.
How do you craft a policy that strikes a balance between development and climate change? It will be very easy to strike a balance when green technologies have attained cost-parity with pollutive methods of production and development.
Not Denialist but Pragmatic
The Climate change policy orientation that you deserve recognizes the seriousness of the climate change problem. It acknowledges the problem with no single iota of doubt.
However, the policy would also acknowledge the economic realities around climate change. Driving the climate change agenda is an expensive undertaking. We, at our current stage of development, might not be able to afford climate change undertakings.
The policy that we deserve as a country separates the Land Environment from the Climate, as a matter of policy. We should take maximum care of our immediate environment, the land we live in. We should focus on keeping the land as green as possible by planting trees en masse. We should avoid polluting our rivers unnecessarily.
The environment is ours and is within our control. The climate, however, is a shared responsibility with the world. The climate is the problem of the commons. It will be easy to tackle the problem of the commons at a global level when countries have roughly the same level of interest in tackling climate change. For now, our level of interest in climate change should be limited.
Our Best interests are not the same as the world’s
Our best interest and priority should be economic development. We need to develop economically at any cost. We are lagging behind by such a big gap. We have to develop, at all costs, there is no other way.
Now, climate protagonists will say that we have to develop in a sustainable manner, whilst taking climate change into account. We have to develop in a manner that is friendly to the environment. On that we largely agree but have some reservations on climate change being the super-important goal.
To us, the super-important goal is poverty eradication. At times, these two goals (addressing climate change and eradicating poverty) cannot be attained without placing one above the other. In those scenarios, our policies should diplomatically elevate poverty eradication above climate change. That’s where our best interest lies.
It is very important to balance the narratives and not blindly accept the narrative offered by nations that have developed already. Our problem sets are not identical. The biggest bag in their problem set is climate change whilst the biggest in our problem set is poverty, followed by corruption, with climate change taking a place at lower levels of the pecking order.
Some of the climate change proponents have never experienced poverty or lack. Some have never had any real problems in life besides boredom. Are we, as a nation willing to take advice from such people? They know better, they know more, but they don’t know poverty and starvation.
Whilst the activists preach that you can develop fast in a manner that addresses the climate change question, the reality is that the world is not yet at that point in time. Technology will eventually get us there, but we are not yet there.
Prioritizes poverty eradication over climate change
If the cost of renewable energy remains high, then we have to use non-renewable energy until renewable energy reaches cost-parity. Our priority should be on delivering a decent living standard at the lowest cost possible now (in the short run).
It’s not that we should not care about the long run cost (which are higher, because they are climatic costs). We do care about the long run, but not as much as we care about the short run. Once our people attain a decent basic living standard, we should shift our focus towards renewable and sustainable sources of energy and life.
We value survival now more than future survival. We are currently failing to survive. We are in poverty. Development usually requires industrialization. If the industrialization methods accessible to us requires us to burn coal to generate cheap electricity, then we should burn coal. Our interests are aligned to poverty eradication even if it might go against global pollution conventions.
Developed countries developed by exploiting the mother earth. We don’t have to follow suit, but if there are no cheap alternatives, we will have to do what we have to do in order to get rid of poverty.
If our industrialization process requires us to emit tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, we will do so without any remorse, because living today is worth more than living tomorrow. If we fail to live today, then tomorrow is of no value to us (not individually, but collectively as a nation). Ours is a fight for survival.
We seek to live today so that we can be able to fight climate change and other challenges tomorrow. If we cannot develop via industrialization, then we do not have a stake in the future world. The future world is not ours to enjoy. The world (the developed one) can move on without us.
For pragmatism purposes, the policy we deserve as a country is that which limits our participation in global climate change efforts to the bare minimum, until we develop enough to afford that luxury.
At the state level, we should not partake in climate change conventions, agreements, commitments, conferences, et cetera. Our time is better spent on industrialization and development. Poverty eradication deserves our undivided attention. Climate change is urgent but not equally urgent to poverty eradication via development of any sort.
The policy we deserve will cooperate with the world in tackling climate change, but not actively. We will not spearhead any efforts unless if doing so is financially in our best interests. Our policy choice should be non-active cooperation.
The policy will shift to active cooperation when the country has developed and all have food to eat, clothes to wear, decent accommodation and when we have earned a place for ourselves in the globalized world.