Oil Prices and Global Warming

Sunday, March 30, 2008

M.A. Saki| 

It is widely expected that efforts to develop green sources of energy will receive more attention with oil prices going through the roof.

The astronomical rise in oil prices may turn out to be a blessing in disguise since it may encourage a speedier transition to cleaner and greener alternative sources of energy, which would reduce the threat of global warming.

However, the higher oil prices should not be used as a pretext to resort to coal as an alternative source of energy since that would lead to a worldwide eco-catastrophe sooner rather than later.

Industrialized countries have the greatest responsibility for global warming and thus are duty-bound to cut their greenhouse gas emissions and help developing nations establish green industries.

The argument made by certain countries that lowering emissions would lead to an economic downturn is totally spurious because if global warming continues at the current pace, the world economy will be seriously affected by the ensuing environmental meltdown.

Protecting the environment of our home planet stands above everything.

Companies that have amassed billions of dollars from selling cars, trucks, airplanes, heavy machinery, and other industrial equipment over the years have enough money to invest in research projects to develop environmentally-friendly engines.

Zero-emission fuel cell cars are one example of such technology.  

Yet, unfortunately, the Kyoto Protocol was too little, too late, and greenhouse gas emissions have not been reduced to levels that would forestall a global warming disaster.

The scientific community is in consensus on this point.

It is essential that more zero-emission vehicles be produced since the tendency to use private cars is rapidly increasing with the expansion of the world population and the rise in the standard of living in developing countries.

For example, the number of cars and motorcycles produced in Iran, a nation of 70 million people, is greater than the number of children born every year in the country.

Add to this China and India, which together form about 35% of the world population and whose economies are growing at an extremely rapid rate, and one gets a better picture of the problem.

Energy subsidization has added more fuel to the fire. For example, in Iran the government subsidizes energy consumption to the tune of 40 billion dollars a year.

Likewise, energy conservation should be applied in construction as buildings are also a major source of emissions, again mostly in rich countries.

The more energy-wasting houses are built, the more injustice is done to our planet, so to fight global warming the masses should be taught to save energy.

In the same way as scientists have come to our assistance by creating a better life for our human race on Earth through innovations, they are now morally bound to develop eco-friendly technologies.

Current science suggests that hundreds of millions of people will face water shortages, the world’s food supplies will be threatened, widespread extinctions could be triggered, and millions of people will be displaced by the rising sea level if global warming gets out of control.

The damage caused by technology will be deemed to outweigh its benefits in the future if no solution is found soon to prevent drastic climate change.


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