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The Energy-Climate Dilemma
Every nation seeks to progress its economy with numerous agendas in mind. Some of the socially advances countries seek to consistently appraise the living standards of its peoples while others seem to only concerned with fronting regional dominance over others. Regardless of the case, economic development requires massive energy inflows which since the invention of fire been solely sourced from the natural environment (Steffen, 2015). The energy climate dilemma has in recent years come to the fore of nations whose leadership has come to accept that wanton application of fossil based fuels is having an increasingly counterproductive effect on the natural environment. Fossil fuels are in essence carbon based energy sources which when exploited release greenhouse gasses that affect the Earth’s ability to maintain a natural balance of climatic elements translating to erratic weather patterns (Steffen, 2015). On the other hand, dominant economies have opted to disregard calls by scientist to aggressively invest in renewable energy sources which present minimal adverse impacts on the environment. This paper presents a discussion on the current state of the energy-climate dilemma.
Fossil fuels are energy types known to be most responsible for greenhouse gas emissions. The natural carbon cycle is presently unable to convert excess CO2, a major greenhouse gas into carbon matter given that weather patterns and growth of human settlements have diminished areas covered by plant life (EPA, 2016). Russia is a perfect example of a country’s whose economic agenda is based on the exploitative use of its immense fossil fuel energy reserves to gain incomes that rives other quotas of its economy. Therefore, for Russia to adhere to calls to diversify into renewable energy sources and adopt efficient energy consumption protocols could literally make its economy to grind to a halt (Bradshaw, 2013). The former USSR banked on selling gas, petroleum and coal to European nations to manage its governance infrastructure as well as its large military. Russia inherited this trend whereby the abundance of energy resources diminished any heed to employ energy efficient economic and social development (Bradshaw, 2013). This implies that its economic paradigm presents one of the largest carbon footprints in the world.
Russia, as was with the former USSR remains at loggerheads with the current global superpower, the U.S. The two nations operate on different political ideologies which have always resulted in strained economic relations (Steffen, 2015). For instance, its incursions into neighboring Ukraine and annexation of the Crimean region by military force compelled the U.S. and its allies to impose sanctions on the Russian Federation which largely centered on fossil fuel exports to Europe. Unfortunately, Europe is not energy sufficient and such sanction will hardly hold true. To further ensure that Russia remains the major hold of known fossil fuel reserves, it has sought to venture into the previously untapped resources beneath the Arctic (Steffen, 2015). This is a region of great importance as it is believed to play a key role in regulating climatic conditions to levels allowing for human development. It seems that cooperation over the explorations in the region may not be fruitful towards combating climatic change since Russia upholds a different agenda which is to protect its economic lifeline (Steffen, 2015). However, it has the opportunity to follow the trend set by other countries and tap into the long term cost effectiveness of green energies more so, wind powers in parts of Siberia as well as the Arctic regions.
Conversely, the U.S. is in a position to tap into its scientifically astute military to make significant headway into tapping green energy and extensively integrating it as the main power source for its vast economic processes (Lovins, 2013). Unfortunately, the U.S. military seems less keen on harnessing green energy alternatives. The opportunity has been taken up by organizations within its civilian populations with great effect. The capitalist nature of the American economy has motivated companies and individuals to take up the positive tradeoff associated with exploring the use and furthermore investing in green energy production initiatives (Lovins, 2013). However, the U.S military is deeply involved into nuclear energy research and advanced applications, Nuclear energy sources are widely considered as green energy though they also pose catastrophic environmental damage in case of accidents (Lovins, 2013). Organizations such as NASA are into deep space exploration where space vehicles largely rely on solar energy for power. Such information is priceless towards finding solutions to the energy-climate dilemma and ought to be made available to other nations to ensure sustainable economic exploitation of natural environments with little adverse effects.
In conclusion, it is very important all world nations appreciate the need for a health natural environment. Erratic climate has seen many economies suffer immense losses from flooding, forest fires, crop failure, and devastation of natural water catchment areas. This implies that there is a need for countries such as Russia and the U.S. to re-think there economic paradigms to give critical consideration to sustainable energy sources. Their economies are dependent on human society while humanity only exists as a result of an enabling natural environment. Continues destruction of the natural environment as a result of climate change will only be shooting themselves in the foot. It is imperative that both categorically abide by calls to fully adopt green energies and phase out fossil fuels as painful as it may be for their economies.
Bradshaw, M. J. (2013). Global energy dilemmas: energy security, globalization, and climate change. Cambridge, UK: Polity.
EPA. (2016). Causes of climate change. United States Environmental Protection Agency. Retrieved https://19january2017snapshot.epa.gov/climate-change-science/causes-climate-change_.html
Lovins, A. (2013). Reinventing fire: Bold business solutions for the new energy era. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing.
Shah, A. (2015). Climate change and global warming introduction. Global Issues. Retrieved http://www.globalissues.org/article/233/climate-change-and-global-warming-introduction
Steffen, D. P. (2015). The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World. Comillas Journal of International Relations, (3), 140-142.