VISION CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT MICHAELMAS 2019
INTERSECTIONS OF CLIMATE CHANGE AND DEVELOPMENT
DEAR READERS, It is with great pride that we present to you the Michaelmas 2019 edition of Vision. As always, we hope that Vision continues to serve as a platform where academics at all levels of their studies are able to voice their opinions, discuss their experiences and offer unique insights to pertinent issues that face the ever-developing world. This term, we have recruited academics who share a passion for understanding the impacts of climate change. On the 5th of November 2019, 11,000 scientists from 153 nations have jointly declared that the earth is now in a state of Climate Emergency. Our increasing consumption of materials such as meat and plastic has had a devastating impact on the environment. In 1980, we were struck by around 200 extreme weather events. In 2018, this number increased to around 750 (BioScience Journal 2019). These events are particularly detrimental to much of the developing world, given their geographical location and a lack of protective infrastructure. Climate Change poses a serious threat to development in poorer parts of the world. Given that the climate crisis has largely been fuelled by more economically developed countries, it is now our duty and responsibility to address the challenges that it poses to the developing world. In this edition of Vision, our writers seek to explore these issues with nuance, bringing in their own experiences and academic in-
sight to produce a range of riveting articles. We are also honoured to feature an article by the Cambridge YouthStrike4Climate group, who have joined student-led Climate strikes around the world. We mustn’t forget that Climate Change is not topical. Rather, it is an issue that threatens our future as a species. We are grateful to everyone involved in the production of this edition. And finally, thank you, readers, for your continual support and encouragement! With Love, Munira Rajkotwalla Editor 2019/20 Our theme ‘The Climate of Development’ could not be more opportune, with increasing calls for climate change awareness both in Cambridge and internationally. We have endeavoured to broaden understanding of change, and also explore the climate of the development field itself, including alternative actors in development such as the use of theatre. I’d like to thank the committee for helping put on such an amazing series of events, to the Vision team and writers for producing an excellent magazine, and to sponsors for making this financially possible. Following the success of our charity fundraising last year, we have also decided to support another charity this term: Neno Macadamia Nut Trust. Symbolising the intersection of climate change and development initiatives, we believe their work fit perfectly with the climate theme. To find out more, and to donate, please go to their website at nenomacadamiatrust.co.uk. As we move on to Lent term, we are excited to announce our new topic, ‘Practicing Development: What Can We Do?’, with the aim of understanding how we can make an impact ourselves both during our time at Cambridge and in the future. We also hope to host our event on contemporary links between politics and environmental development, that unfortunately had to be postponed this term due to the upcoming general election. Further information on events will be released on our website at the start of next term. I hope you enjoy reading this copy of Vision, and look forward to CUiD’s events and magazine next term. If you have any questions about CUiD, or any suggestions, then please do get in touch with me via email at email@example.com. William Green President 2019-20
CONTENTS 4. HAS SELLING RAINFOREST WORKED? THE GUYANA-NORWAY REDD+ AGREEMENT ELLA DUFFY 7. THE WOOD FOR THE TREES: SEEING VALUE IN VULNERABLE INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE SAM BROWN 9. ECOTOURISM: REFRAMING CONSERVATION OR CREATING DANGEROUS
MARKETS? ROSIE WRIGHT 12. TRUMPâ€™S WILDFIRE POLICY OVERLOOKS CLIMATE, FANS POLITICAL FLAMES, LETS ECONOMY BURN TIMOTHY ARVAN 14. CLIMATE CHANGE AND INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITY: A DANGEROUS NARRATIVE LOTTIE ELTON 16. PURSUING BOTH CLIMATE MITIGATION AND ENERGY ACCESS
OLIVIA CHEN 20. RENEWABLE ENERGY: WHO BENEFITS AND WHO DECIDES? WIND POWER IN THEISTHMUS OF TEHUANTEPEC PAOLA VELADSO HERREJON 22. DIGITAL GREEN INDUSTRIALISATION: RECONCILING GLOBAL EQUALITY AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT MATEUS L.LABRUNIE 24. LEAPFROGGING: MIND THE GAP BETWEEN THE TECH AND THE PEOPLE
MELINA MITSOTAKI 28. WALES AND CLIMATE CHANGE: HOW FOSSIL FUELS AND RENEWABLES HAVE GOVERNED ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT LUKE THOMAS 30. STUDENTS BEHIND PICKET LINES: FIGHTING FOR CLIMATE JUSTICE
CAMBRIDGE SCHOOLS ECO COUNCIL 3
HAS SELLING RAINFOREST WORKED? THE GUYANA-NORWAY REDD+ AGREEMENT
ELLA DUFFY In 2009, an innovative project became the posterchild for Norway’s interest in Guyana has therefore been suspected the REDD+ programme (the United Nations Collabora- to be an attempt for Norway, the biggest REDD donor tive Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforesta- worldwide, to maintain its ‘green’ international image tion and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries, set whilst remaining a major oil producer. The choice of Guyup in 2008). Guyana, a country on the Caribbean coast of ana as a funding partner is in itself odd. Norway’s two South America with an estimated 75-85% forest coverage other major funding partners are Brazil and Indonesia, (FAO, 2010; Guyana Forestry Commission & Indufor, countries with historically incredibly high rates of defor2012, 2013; Guyana Forestry Commission & Poyry Forest estation where financial incentives could make real differIndustry, 2010.), would be funded by Norway to conserve ence in willingness to participate in conservation. Guytheir vast expanses of rainforest. USD$250 million was ana, on the other hand, seemed a strange choice, being promised to Guyana, to be paid on a results-led basis and roughly the size of the UK but home to only 784,000 peoinvested in Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy ple, and with an already extremely low annual deforesta(LCDS) projects. There were seven original projects in the tion rate compared to global figures (0.02% in 2009-2010 first years of the project, ranging from improving forest compared to the global average of 0.52% in 2005-2009). and biodiversity mapping to Amerindian land titling and Norway had no previous bilateral ties with the country, micro-enterprise grants for rural communities. Ten years and no previous political or commercial interests. Guyana on and the agreement, which was only supposed to last is classified as lower-middle-income by the World Bank five years, has shown little real progress and has had a but, at the time of the REDD+ deal, was ranked in the limited effect on the indigenous communities who were Corruption Perception Index (Transparency Internationsupposed to benefit from the finances. The REDD schemes are, in theory, a simple and effective way to curb deforestation, keeping rainforests as carbon sinks and reducing the volume of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere. Governments and their forestdwelling peoples are financially rewarded for not cutting down trees, and this money can be fed back into lowcarbon development projects; this ‘peopled’ aspect of REDD schemes is denoted by the ‘+’ in ‘REDD+’. Howev-
al) as 133rd out of 180 countries, meaning it had a similar lack of government transparency and freedom of the press to Russia and Iran. Bade (2013) puts this strange choice down to ‘aid in a rush’. Norway was pushed for time before the Fifteenth session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December 2009, so organised the deal without any kind of risk assessment until ten months after the agreement was signed.
er, what this overview hides is that REDD programmes This lack of clarity is characteristic of the project as a can allow richer countries to continue on a ‘business as whole. The agreement between Guyana and Norway was usual’ trajectory domestically, whilst offsetting the emis- first heralded as a potential model for REDD+ to be imsions through prevented deforestation in the Global plemented globally and Bharrat Jagdeo, Guyana’s presiSouth. Another whole article could be written about the dent at the time, was even nominated for a Nobel Peace neocolonial undertones of this, but even ignoring the nar- Prize because of his environmental efforts. Despite the rative behind it, there is surely an obvious problem if initial excitement over REDD+ in Guyana, however, the REDD is exploited in this way.
project was plagued by misunderstandings and slow prog-
ress. Finances have been slow to trickle through from the efited local communities, including a long-needed AmerWorld Bank fund into which Norway pays, and the politi- indian land titling program. cal momentum seems not to have been maintained through the 2015 change in presidency. A hydroelectric dam was supposed to be the first large development project funded through the scheme, but the plans collapsed due to parliamentary opposition and private sector withdrawal. There is a silver lining: there has been significant progress in one of the seven original projects, and forest monitoring and biodiversity mapping has improved with Norway’s input. A major player in the program is the indigenous population of Guyana. Roughly 10% of Guyana’s population is indigenous; Guyanese Amerindians are the majority population in all the hinterland regions. It is these hinterland regions with which REDD+ concerns itself, as much of the Guyanese hinterlands are virgin rainforest. Early conversations in the initial agreements were that Amerindian people would be fully communicated with and consulted at all stages of the REDD+ program. In addition, the program’s funds were mainly to be used on projects that ben-
An impact assessment from Laing (2018) reveals that nothing has really come of the REDD+ program for forest -dwelling Amerindian people. While there was talk early on in the project about having robust communication between Amerindians and the government, this seems to have been superficial and Amerindian communities were concerned about the lack of information given to them. There has been no significant cost to Amerindian communities through REDD+, but also no significant benefits; all that has materialized are a few grants of USD$25,000 and some solar panels. There were hopes of economic benefits to remote communities from REDD+, but slow implementation coupled with a long history of Amerindian mistrust towards the government has simply resulted in more scepticism about their commitment to Amerindian communities. Laing (2018) says that “it is neither a grand success or a complete failure” but that at least the initial excitement over REDD+ opened up potential political channels for more effective communication between
NORWAY’S INTEREST IN GUYANA HAS THEREFORE BEEN SUSPECTED TO BE AN ATTEMPT FOR NORWAY, THE BIGGEST REDD DONOR WORLDWIDE, TO MAINTAIN ITS ‘GREEN’ INTERNATIONAL IMAGE WHILST REMAINING A MAJOR OIL PRODUCER. 5
Amerindian village councils and national government in the future. It would seem, then, that Norway’s funding of Guyana, a country that already had very low levels of deforestation, may have been an ineffective choice in the first place, and that the REDD+ program has amounted to very little human development in the decade that it has been running. While the forest and biodiversity monitoring scheme has been successful, the on-the-ground development projects have not materialised and there has been a noticeable reduction in the commitment to proper communication with Amerindian communities. Aside from these issues with the implementation of the program, there are also conceptual issues with REDD itself. It is not in any way an effective program if the donor country uses it to ‘offset’ their own domestic emissions whilst staying on a ‘business as usual’ trajectory, as this amounts to no net gain in preserving forests at all.
WHERE DOES THIS LEAVE GUYANA? The rate of deforestation has risen in the last decade (but not extensively) and ecotourism has boomed. The government continues to pride themselves on backing environmentally focused policy. However, they will have increasingly more environmental issues to deal with in the coming years; not only will the low-lying country be affected by sea level rise with anthropogenic climate change, but also recently discovered offshore oil wells may provide opportunities for extractive industries to threaten Guyana’s ‘green’ reputation. As for REDD, schemes continue to be implemented globally, some with a great deal more success than this early version of the program in Guyana, but the question remains over whether they can provide more than just a carbon offsetting solution for richer nations.
THE WOOD FOR THE TREES: SEEING VALUE IN VULNERABLE INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE SAM BROWN THE GLOBAL EXISTENTIAL CRISES OF CLIMATE CHANGE AND ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE PRESENT A TWO-PRONGED ATTACK ON THE LIVELIHOODS OF INDIGENOUS POPULATIONS, WHILE SIMULTANEOUSLY LIMITING OUR ABILITY TO REVERSE THESE SELF-INFLICTED PROBLEMS. The Shipibo-Conibo are an indigenous people situated with other factors for consideration, specifically the hualong the Ucayali River in the Amazon rainforest. Cou- man
pling a modern existence with centuries of tradition, the encompassing threat of climate change. This intersection Shipibo-Conibo have retained a shamanic understanding needs to be considered if we are to advance a truly incluof health that closely ties the individual to a spirit world. sive plan that recognises how improving global health Crucially, bodily prosperity is placed in a reciprocal rela- and tackling climate change are closely intertwined. tionship with the surrounding natural environment and its spirits: human health is dependent on its harmonious congruence with nature.
While indigenous populations clearly live in all varieties of ecosystems, those situated in rainforests provide the most obvious example of where medical developmental
The ayahuasca brew is just one example of how the Ship- and sustainability goals misalign. The biodiversity of ibo-Conibo medical outlook manifests itself. A powerful tropical rainforest is truly astounding. Rainforests covers psychostimulant made from a unique combination of the less than 7% of the Earth’s surface, yet are home to about ayahuasca vine (Banisteriopsis caapi) and the leaf of the 50% of all land animal and plant species1. Indigenous chacruna plant (Psychotria viridis), ayahuasca allows the populations are active agents in the conservation of this user to access their inner subconscious landscape and biodiversity2. The territories of the world’s 370 million experience
‘spirit-assisted’ indigenous people cover 24% of land worldwide, and
healthcare is viewed with scepticism and condescension contain 80% of the world’s biodiversity. It is perhaps unin the West, yet indigenous medicine like this deserves surprising then that this fertile land which holds so much respect not only for the crucial lessons it teaches us about pharmaceutical potential is also a target for biofuel proour relationship with nature, but also for the vast wealth ducers and farmers, two recent perpetrators of the Braof knowledge that lies imbued in indigenous practice. In zilian fires. line with this, the power of ayahuasca to treat cases of severe depression has started to be investigated by ethnobotanists, with promising early results.
Biodiverse land is thus a precious resource that, if utilised sustainably, can be central to our defence against the looming threat of mass antibiotic resistance. Earlier
The benefits of exploring indigenous medical knowledge this month, for instance, scientists working in a tropical can therefore be seen in two broad avenues of under- forest near Los Tuxtlas, Mexico discovered an antibiotic standing: the ecological and ethical education Western- produced by a soil bacterium that may help lead to a ers can obtain by learning about how indigenous popula- ‘plant probiotic’, more robust plants and other antibiottions interact with the environment as an equal entity; ics. Looking beyond antibiotics3, rainforests have been at and the pharmaceutical potential of study into shamanic the centre of many of the last century’s key drug developpractices, as well as the opportunities for drug develop- ments. The Ccurare lianas plant, for instance, has been ment that biodiverse indigenous land presents. This po- used for centuries by South American indigenous groups tential for learning, however, sits at a tense intersection to make paralysing poison darts; in Western medicine,
an isolated compound derived from the plant is used to has been adopted by others to emphasise the transience treat such diseases as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's, and of knowledge when we disregard the rights of indigenous other muscular disorders. As one would expect, the list of peoples. Dr Mark Plotkin, an ethnobotanist at Conservaworld-changing medicines derived from plants in these tion International, argues that: “each time a medicine regions goes on and on.
man dies, it is as if a library has been burned down.”
The pharmaceutical potential of biodiverse areas goes Clearly, to view shamans singularly as simple sources of beyond simple extraction, however. The rainforest has all knowledge is to reduce their humanity, but Dr Plotkin’s manner of medical tricks up its leaves. Forest organisms point still stands. An anxiety about engaging with tradioften serve as chemical templates from which research- tional medicine on equal and respectful terms is a loss for erscan synthesize drug compounds. The blueprint for both ‘sides’, reducing the continuity of knowledge transasprin, for example, was derived from extracts of willow fer down indigenous generations and wasting a pivotal trees. Recent research indicates that birth control medi- opportunity for Western researchers. cation could similarly be revolutionised by drugs derived from rainforest plants, as could pesticides and cancer treatments. To reiterate, however, this scientific opportunity must always be mediated by a concern for the people who have maintained the very rainforest we see as a resource, and who sustainably obtain their livelihoods from its biodiversity.
The reciprocal relationship indigenous peoples have maintained with their environments over vast periods of time has implications that go beyond medical research. Traditional ecological knowledge (or TEK) allows indigenous populations to live in harmony with nature, in complete contrast with the extractive dynamic the Western world has cultivated with its environment. Until the
The ravages of deforestation therefore materially impact twenty-first century, indigenous peoples were viewed as indigenous populations through the destruction of their victims of the effects of climate change, rather than as homes, but also through the loss of the plants used in agents
both traditional and Western medicine. Cassandra Qua- knowledge they possess of long-term resource manageve, a leading ethnobotanist, emphasises the dual loss that ment, indigenous groups represent the best possible deforestation represents. She argues that we need to model for ecological harmony for Westerners to emulate. “help preserve these areas, and create safe havens for Indigenous management practices, such as the ritualized these people before it’s all gone,” for the sake of indige- burning of vegetation to improve soil productivity, are nous peoples, but also for the “biological resources” in- both culturally and ecologically important. herent within indigenous medicinal knowledge and biodiverse land. It is as much about preserving indigenous cultural capital as it is maintaining a future source of antibiotics. We may have only screened less than 15% percent of plant species for their medicinal potential, but the ‘potential’ of indigenous knowledge presents a far more unquantifiable possibility.
Indigenous knowledge therefore sits awkwardly at the juncture between being a crucial resource for the future and a fragile entity that necessitates tact in any interaction with it. While the dominant narrative in recent writing about indigenous peoples and climate change has been focused on the industries driving deforestation in the Amazon, for instance, a long-term perspective war-
The biodiversity of much indigenous land therefore pre- rants consideration of this other, existential threat to our sents an opportunity as much as it poses complex ethical shared world: antibiotic resistance and corresponding and developmental challenges. According to researcher trends in global health. A crucial step towards a better and writer Rhett Butler, who runs the critically acclaimed society is to increase public recognition of the IMwebsite, Mongabay.com, rainforests are also home to portance of rainforest medicines in our modern pharsome 50 percent of the world’s species, “making them “an macopoeia, while simultaneously elevating the vulneraextensive library of biological and genetic resources.” ble position of the very people who lay the groundwork This “library” metaphor is an apt turn of phrase which for so much of Western medicine’s advancements.
Madidi offers an excellent example to fol-
ECOTOURISM: REFRAMING CONSERVATION OR ECOTOURISM: CREATING DANGEROUS REFRAMING CONSERVATION MARKETS?
low. Given the vital significance
Amazon in reducing atmospheric
house gases, environmental concerns are at the forefront. However, indigenous ownership and providing local
OR CREATING DANGEROUS MARKETS?
are another core part of the resort’s mis-
sion. Our guide, Raul
sums up this balance,
telling us that the ecolodge helps protect not just the land, by preventing
It's the first night of my honeymoon and I'm showering used for logging and other damaging activity, but also from a bucket of rainwater under the star-pricked dark- their traditions of culture and custodianship. During our ness of the rainforest canopy. We've eschewed the tradi- stay we get to learn a little of this as we are taught to make tional luxury hotels and are instead staying at the Madidi handicrafts and cook local dishes. Jungle Eco Lodge, a resort in the Bolivian Amazon which aims to minimise the environmental impact of its guests, in part through its water, electricity and waste management.
Madidi also offers a fairly representative sample of those who would dub themselves eco tourists: a combination of well-to-do vacationers who want to experience a unique environment with a personal touch and a younger
We’re not alone in looking for alternative ways to travel. A ‘backpacking’ crowd who are keen to take up the more 2018 study by the World Travel and Tourism Council sug- adventurous outdoor activities including trekking and rivgest that almost 10% of travel-related revenue now comes er tubing. All eighteen guests are white and from the EU, from ecotourism - a powerful share of an industry that UK or USA. It is these demographics that have triggered accounts for one in ten jobs across the globe. It’s part of a some of the backlash against the ecotourist movement, growing movement in reaction to a greater understanding with critics dubbing it a process of “greenwashing”: plaof the negative impacts of travel, including environmental cating the consciences of wealthy travellers to keep tourist degradation, overcrowding and climate change. And, giv- revenue coming in without challenging any of the power en the financial importance of tourism for many develop- dynamics that underpin a lot of global poverty. In reing countries, it’s a potential bridge between economic sponse to this Raul takes us to an abandoned banana and environmental concerns: two areas that are more of- farm, where the lodge team are contemplating building ten placed in opposition. Such is its potential that the Sus- additional accommodation, to spot the Madidi titi. This tainable Development Goals reference tourism three monkey was only identified as a new species back in 2006 times, highlighting the important role it could play in pre- and originally named after a casino. The money that the serving livelihoods, cultures and the environment - if it is casino spent on bidding to name the monkey has been done well.
given to a local organisation that protects Madidi from
deforestation. His point seems clear: outsider interven- migration habits affected by the water loss. This is borne tion is inevitable and so it may as well be for the genuine out by patchy sightings - we spot only a few straggling gibenefit of local people and wildlife. I’m reminded of the raffes and a distant wildebeest in our three- day trip - and words of river advocate Heather Hansmen: “we love what our fellow travellers are vocal about their disappointment. we know and we protect what we love”. Good ecotourism In a business dependant on both tips and favourable reschemes hope to encourage people to act and advocate for views from tourists this may well translate into future rea place after they return home. They seek to embed a rela- ductions in visitors and revenue undermining the hopes tionship with a destination that goes beyond a standard of sustainability that ecotourism claims to offer. vacation, although perhaps only for those who can afford A Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) report it.
links this to the rise of ‘last chance tourism’ where tourists
However, not all ecotourism is created equal and criti- create spikes of resource demand on places and species cisms are justified. Two years later we are travelling that people think won’t exist for much longer. Not only across Botswana to experience the Okavango Delta, an does this risk hastening their demise but it creates short oasis in the Kalahari Desert dubbed one of Africa’s ‘seven term infrastructure needs which, rather than become a wonders’. It’s a unique ecosystem and one under threat useful investment for a community, end up being abanfrom both climate change (due to increased water loss), doned when interest dies down. This also raises the conand political interests. The popularity of the region for cern of what the philosopher Michael Sandel calls the tourism has helped stave off threats of damming in the ‘moral limits of markets’: once an action has been given a area, since tourism is the second biggest contributor to financial incentive it erodes the moral imperative that Botswana’s economy. It also has provided economic op- preceded it. If environmental protection becomes profitaportunities for the local people to work as polers for the ble but only for a brief time will it risk undermining previiconic makoro canoes which are the main transport ous motivations? around the area. However the experience feels very differ- A few days after we leave Okavango I find myself discussent to our stay in Madidi, with less of a focus on protec- ing this issue with our ranger, Cedric, at the Stanley & tion. Perhaps it’s the influx of greater numbers, around Livingstone reserve and rhino sanctuary across the border 50,000 tourists each year, to a smaller, more fragile area. in Zimbabwe. As part of the park’s anti-poaching training We see litter floating in the delta as we glide past and programme, he is gently dismissive of this perspective, when we arrive in our ‘eco camp’ I’m frustrated to note reminding me that ecotourism operates alongside many that we’re dependant on bottled water in plastic contain- other markets which impact local perceptions about coners.
servation. He opines that no amount of tourist tips will
Vocational opportunities have also encouraged large compensate, for example, a poacher who could expect to waves of migration to key access towns such as Maun, net up to USD$60,000 for a single rhino horn. For him , where we’ve come from, meaning that financial and cul- and his colleagues, their work is about making Zimbabwe, tural benefits are not so clearly realised as in more remote and the world, a better place; the benefit of ecotourism is Madidi. Over a lethargic game of Uno in the blistering simply to cover the costs, in this case paying for better seheat, a poler named David tells us that he’s not planning curity than can be afforded in the state-owned parks. He on staying in the job beyond the summer, talking of the tells us enthusiastically about local campaigns and innofierce competition over tips and hoping that there are bet- vations being developed to protect the region’s national ter prospects for him elsewhere.
parks, reminding me again about ecotourism’s opportuni-
This reflects another concern cited by critics, which is that ty to teach and inspire. So, faced with the full complexities ecotourism may unwittingly trap people into unsustaina- of the situation, how do we make sure that we support the ble paths of development. There’s a gloomy consensus full potential of ecotourism and avoid being part of its amongst our guides that the animals are “moving on” problems? I’m still left with more questions than answers. from the areas most easily accessible from Maun, their Ecotourism is a young enterprise, though, and will likely
continue growing and adapting, with new variations and some travel providers can’t or don’t choose to pay. So a push towards greater legitimacy. Perhaps there are still whilst they are a starting point, any conscientious ecosolutions waiting to be found that will help resolve some traveller must take the time to do further research. Durof these dilemmas.
ing our planning we speak with other travellers and locals
Another cautionary note from the GSTC paper was the where we can, look for resorts backed up by other charirisk of tourists wanting to become ‘short term locals’, ties and try to read impact reports, always knowing that wherein a genuine desire to see ‘behind the scenes’ of everything comes with bias. For those to whom that glossy travel brochures risks commodifying ways of life in sounds a little too much like ‘revising for your holidays’, a way that fossilises people. Instead we should remember there’s also travel agents who will undertake this for you if the agency and ingenuity of the individuals creating and you trust them to be sufficiently critical on your behalf. running ecotourism ventures and look to support where There’s also no consensus on exactly what the focus of we think it’s being done well.
ecotourism should be and whether climate change, habi-
For us, the key to that has been becoming ever more in- tat conservation or other environmental concerns should formed. There’s a plethora of different schemes springing be prioritised, making this another instance in which indiup to help the perplexed traveller such as the Green Tour- vidual decisions can influence further developments. For ism Business Scheme or the Eco Hotels Certified mark. those who consider climate to be the ultimate consideraHowever the lack of clarity or monitoring of such labels tion it’s possible that even the best resorts or tours still has also led to criticisms of greenwashing.
This has won’t provide sufficient balance. A 2012 European Envi-
prompted a further layer of oversight from organisations ronment Agency (EEA) report held tourism to be the like the Ecolabel Index and the European Ecotourism La- fourth highest contributor to pollution amongst the belling Standard, which have arisen to assess the relative world’s industries, with travel (mostly flights) constituting values of different certifications and bring a level of stand- 75% of this total. Given that many ecotourist resorts are in ardisation. Yet the current situation is that there is still no further-flung destinations than many ‘standard’ hotels, single regulatory body nor any real restriction on using due to the rare ecosystems they are trying to protect and the
as promote, there may often be no way for their target audi-
‘responsible’, ‘sustainable’ or ‘pro-poor’ tourism. Further- ence to fully forgo flights and other carbon-emitting more, even legitimate schemes can charge fees which transport to get there...
FOR ABSOLUTE PURISTS THAT MAY MEAN STAYCATIONS ARE THEIR ONLY ANSWER. BUT DOES THAT COME AT THE EXPENSE OF THE OPPORTUNITIES OF EXPLORING NEW CULTURES, OR SIMPLY PROVIDE THE CHANCE FOR DIFFERENT COMMUNITIES TO BETTER APPRECIATE WHAT THEY HAVE LOCALLY? SHOULD WE, FOR EXAMPLE, BE TEACHING MORE ABOUT THE CLIMATE CHANGE-RELATED LOSS OF THE EUROPEAN HEDGEHOG RATHER THAN RELYING ON EXOTIC LOCALES TO MOTIVATE US? OR ARE NEW INNOVATIONS LIKELY TO PROVIDE AN ANSWER HERE TOO? ONE PROMISING EXPERIENCE WE HAD RECENTLY WAS IN PREVIEWING A VIRTUAL REALITY TRAVEL EXPERIENCE WHICH AIMS TO RECREATE A SNOW LEOPARD ENCOUNTER COUPLED WITH NARRATIVES FROM LOCAL GUIDES. GIVEN THAT THEIR HIMALAYAN TERRITORIES ARE FRAGILE AND NOT EASILY ACCESSIBLE, THIS COULD BE AN ALTERNATIVE THAT STILL ENABLES LOCAL PEOPLE TO SHARE THEIR STORIES AND BE PAID FOR CONSERVING THE ANIMALS. OR PERHAPS IT IS A WARNING THAT IF WE DO NOT GET ECOTOURISM (AND OUR OVERALL CLIMATE CHANGE STRATEGY) RIGHT, THESE CULTURES , ANIMALS AND HABITATS MAY SOON ONLY REMAIN IN A VIRTUAL WORLD. 11
TRUMP’S WILDFIRE POLICY OVERLOOKS CLIMATE, FANS POLITICAL FLAMES, LETS ECONOMY BURN TIMOTHY ARVAN President Donald Trump has been known to fight fire their forests and California has no such water scarcity7. with fire, aggressively countering his detractors on issues Based on a prolific body of misinformation, the Executive from border security to the economy with trademark fire- Order directs Trump’s Interior and Agriculture departstorms of charged and often fallacious tweeting1. The Ad- ments to dramatically upscale brush and dead tree reministration’s response to last fall’s catastrophic Califor- moval on federal lands, prescribing the extraction of 4.4 nia wildfires has been no exception to this pattern. In the billion board feet of timber across 4.25 million acres in wake of blazes which claimed 98 civilian lives, an inflam- the coming year8. While the efficacy of efforts to lower matory Executive Order2 has ignited a fiery debate over fire-causing fuel buildup has long been debated9, the the efficacy of California’s forestry strategies. Ultimately, Trump Administration’s “strategy” to increase logging by the policy amounts to little more than political blame- 31 percent since 201710 has been roundly condemned by shifting and dangerously misguides the public on effec- fire ecologists as ineffective11. Unmoved by logic as ever, tive fire management. Most consequentially, the federal the president compounded a cause for political uproar government has eschewed both economic logic and moral with the suggestion that he will withhold millions of dolduty by failing to address escalating climate change costs3 lars in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to the region.
disaster aid to California12 unless local officials “get their
The Executive Order in question is clear in its objectives act together.” This attempt to hold the state’s feet to the to promote “active management” of federal forests and fire is, of course, an unethical intimidation tactic beneath rangelands, reduce wildfire risk and protect public safe- the dignity of the Chief Executive. ty4. Cloaked in the lofty language of a federal wildfire As the government plays politics with critical funding, strategy, however, the Order lays out a series of illogical efforts to quantify the damage of California’s fires have and ignorant policy prescriptions that align with the pres- recently yielded the startling estimate that 2018’s blazes ident’s equally head-scratching claims blaming the state’s could become the most expensive natural disaster in US fire problem on insufficient “raking and cleaning5 […] like history13. In the face of multi-billion dollar costs, Califorthey do in Finland” and “bad environmental laws” caus- nia’s major insurance providers have scrambled to reing local water shortages. To be clear, Finns do not rake6 think the risks and associated coverage for wildfire prote-
ction in vulnerable areas of the state14. However, losses tive reality is that climate change is already here, imposextend far beyond the scope of traditional insurance- ing an ever-diversifying array of threats to humanbased estimates accounting for destroyed property, fore- natural systems. Indeed, wildfire risk projections predict gone business income, and public health impacts from a significant intensification of the frequency and scale of hazardous smoke-related particulate matter. For in- catastrophic fires in California through 2100, all while stance, lost employment opportunities and declining population growth and continuous development of the tourism are expected to create severe declines in tax reve- state’s economic centers will magnify threats to local nue for local and state governments. Additionally, factors communities20. In light of this dire outlook, misconceived including mudslides15, exacerbated by heavy rains in are- policies like Trump’s abdicate federal leadership, reas uprooted in the fires, increase the costs of restoration nounce science and ignore the obvious humanitarian and and further drive down regional property values as fire- economic imperative of addressing climate change, all in wary residents debate whether to rebuild or move out. the interest of political expediency. Considering the full breadth of impacts, AccuWeather Ultimately, Trump’s federal wildfire plan amounts to firplaces total economic losses at $400 billion16, or roughly ing politically-tinged insults at California’s progressive two percent of the 2018 American GDP.
institutions and should remain in the Twittersphere
Notably, economic losses from wildfires are inequitably where it belongs. distributed, disproportionately burdening low-income minority residents whose tighter budgets mean relatively high transition costs of relocating and finding new jobs. These populations may additionally experience a higher incidence of respiratory diseases and deterioration of pre -existing health conditions as low socioeconomic status has been identified as a principal indicator of health risk17. As such, long- term wellness outcomes for the poor are unduly harmed by exposure to fire-induced particulate pollution. Indeed, municipalities across the state must grapple with broad public health repercussions
MEANWHILE, IN STATES LIKE CALIFORNIA, UNMITIGATED CLIMATE CHANGE IS SURE TO PRODUCE AN OUTCOME WITH WHICH TRUMP IS ALREADY INTIMATELY FAMILIAR: “FIRE AND FURY THE LIKES OF WHICH THE WORLD HAS NEVER SEEN.”21
from fire-induced urban air pollution episodes, while rural regions face innumerable agricultural and land management challenges, demanding innovative adaptation strategies. The sheer magnitude of California’s damages, combined with the weight of distributional injustice, underscores the economic and social case for urgent federal policy to combat climate-related threats. However, while a chorus of fire experts have called for comprehensive measures18 that incorporate adaptation plans and employ controlled burns to prevent massive, destructive blazes, the Trump Administration is content to distract, deflect, and demur. Speaking to California reporters at the height of twelve active fires, former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke falsely maintained that “this has nothing to do with climate change,” preferring to blame “environmental terrorists” for obstructing management efforts19. The objec-
CLIMATE CHANGE AND INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITY: A DANGEROUS NARRATIVE LOTTIE ELTON The demand that individuals everywhere ‘do their bit’ to fairness on international actors. In This Changes Everyhelp mitigate the climate crisis is, in many ways, a posi- thing, Naomi Klein articulates such a perspective: “this is tive and inspiring one. As Swedish climate activist Greta a far more expansive vision than the familiar eco-critique Thunberg declares, “no one is too small to make a differ- that stresses smallness and shrinking humanity's impact ence.” However, the oft-asserted demand that everyone or "footprint." That is not an option today; we must use ‘do their bit’ can have insidious implications, suggesting our institutions to act”3. Narratives that emphasise indithat the predominant agent of change is the individual. By vidual efforts can contribute to the depoliticization of inference, this absolves the governments and corpora- global warming when they are presented as the only options who are most responsible for climate change and tion for fighting climate change. most capable of lessening its impact. It also obscures the variable responsibility that different countries have for the climate catastrophe. Due to their position of historical subjugation, countries in the ‘Global South’ are left vulnerable against a change they themselves did not significantly contribute to. Conversely, the ‘Global North’ will be for a time insulated against the crisis that it has precipitated, as its citizens continue to consume on a level unimaginable elsewhere. The concept of climate justice demands that governments and corporations accept culpability, and so challenges the narrative that places blame on all individuals equally. To suggest that climate justice
IN SUGGESTING THAT EVERYONE, EVERYWHERE, REDUCE THEIR CARBON FOOTPRINT, ONE WOULD HAVE TO PRESUME A FAIRLY UNIFORM CURRENT LEVEL OF CONSUMPTION AND EMISSION...
is focused mainly on ‘individuals everywhere’ is to depo- However, the variability in per capita consumption liticise and decontextualize it, and to make it amenable to around the world is vast, an assertion tellingly borne out by statistics.
status quo powers.
The representation of climate justice as demanding a uni- The average American consumes around 32 times as versal reduction in individual emissions is simultaneously many resources as the average Kenyan and produces aptoo broad and too narrow. Suggesting that ‘individuals proximately 54.6 times as many metric tonnes of carbon everywhere’ decrease their carbon footprint assumes a dioxide4. Such evidence undermines any descriptions that unified category of individuals, homogenous in their cul- detail human emissions solely in the aggregate and that pability for the climate crisis. Climate justice actively op- imply everyone should reduce their carbon footprint. poses such a perception, challenging the notion that an all Bonneuil and Fressoz argue that the term ‘Anthropocene’ -encompassing ‘humankind’ has “generated a single hu- might be better replaced by ‘Oligathropocene.’ man footprint”1. In their book The Shock of the Anthropo- The variability in individual responsibility is paralleled by cene, Christophe Bonneuil and Jean-Baptiste Fressoz crit- variability in international responsibility. Climate change icise
for must be historicised. By 1825, the UK was responsible for
“presenting an abstract humanity uniformly involved – 80% of the world’s emissions, with the first evidence of a implying uniformity of blame”2. The focus on the global increase in temperature emerging around the ‘individual’ is also too narrow, as climate justice trans- 1830s5. The industrial revolution also provided the impecends the individual, and places the onus of redistributive tus for the extension of European imperialism in the 18th,
19th, and 20th centuries. Between 1850 and 1900, Europe- atable initiatives such as individual reduction of emisan per capita income increased by 222%, whilst the per sions. capita income in Africa and Asia rose by just 8% and 1% Climate justice requires both an alteration in the actions respectively6. Famine all but disappeared from Western of western individuals, and a change in how the internaEurope during this time, but Asia and Africa experienced tional system operates. These individual and systemic food shortages of unprecedented scope7. By 1914, colonial transformations have failed to eventuate because they run powers controlled 85% of the world’s surface, and had counter to the central tenets of free-market capitalism. firmly established a structurally unequal international Active remedial measures would require the redistribuhierarchy in which the dominance of the imperialist pow- tion of wealth, a concept antithetical to neoliberal princiers was contingent upon the disempowerment of the ples. Market elites make climate action political heresy by Global South8. The central premise of climate justice espousing the capitalist axiom ‘grow or die.’ The vision hinges upon this iniquitous history and its manifestations sold by globalisation – one in which capitalism enables in the present day. Global North countries are largely re- consumerist, western-style patterns of life to be enjoyed sponsible for the climate crisis, yet their poorer counter- by all – is a fiction. The planet cannot support the profliparts will feel its impact most harshly. Climate justice gate consumerism of the West. Mahatma Gandhi obdoes not require all individuals everywhere to reduce served this, saying – “God forbid that India should ever emissions; it instead obliges powerful western nations to take to industrialism after the manner of the West ... it bear the financial burden of protecting their former colo- would strip of the world bare like locusts”14. But admitting nies.
that western patterns of life cannot be enjoyed by all un-
The central focus of climate justice – the call for climate dermines the very legitimacy of the international order by reparations – has undeniable ethical purchase. However, revealing that it is based on inequity. After such a recogthe climate agreements negotiated thus far explicitly pre- nition, Global North countries would necessarily be clude any such compensation. In 2009, for example, the forced to redistribute wealth to their poorer counterparts. non-binding Copenhagen agreement established a target However, this recognition does not seem likely. Richer of limiting warming to 2 degrees Celsius above 19th centu- countries have the luxury to deny the urgency of climate ry levels9. Lumumba Di-Aping, the head of the G77 group change, possessing, for now, the resources necessary to of 130 nations, castigated the agreement for its lack of combat it. The stakes are lower for the Global North, auglegal gravitas and its amenability with the status quo; he menting even further the disparity of power in climate decried it as "a suicide pact, an incineration pact in order negotiations. to maintain the economic dominance of a few coun- Ultimately, climate change will affect everyone. However, tries"10. In this vein, the Guardian newspaper described describing global warming as a ‘great equaliser’ is misthe conference as sounding the ‘death rattle of climate guided; it implies a uniform threat, experienced by all justice’11. Moreover, despite the significance of the 2015 people on the same terms. This is not the case, and differParis accords, the agreement implicitly repudiates the ent nations have varying capacities of adaptability with prospect of potential reparations. It still proved too radi- regard to coping with the threats posed by climate cal for President Trump, who withdrew the US from the change, as well as differing levels of culpability. The deagreement on the grounds that it “handicapped the Unit- mand that individuals recycle, eat less meat, walk to ed States economy in order to win praise from the very work, and vacation at home focuses solely on the individforeign capitals and global activists that have long sought ual, and so obscures this disparity and the urgency of systo gain wealth at our country’s expense”12. According to temic change. To be sure, recycling more, adopting a Klein, climate justice demands a ‘Marshall plan for the plant-based diet, and flying less are important and helpful world’ where poorer countries could demand financial initiatives. However, they cannot be the only response to and technological assistance from their richer counter- climate change, or else they serve as redirections of parts”13. The international community seems to emphati- blame, symptomatic of the reluctance of powerful nations cally reject this position, and focuses instead on more pal- to admit responsibility.
PURSUING BOTH CLIMATE MITIGATION AND ENERGY ACCESS OLIVIA CHEN
This year, there remain in the world, by the World such, the United Nations has included universal acBank’s most recent estimate, 840 million people cess to energy as one of the 2030 Sustainable Develwithout access to electricity, and 3 billion people opment Goals. It is numbered goal 7.1: “by 2030 enwithout access to clean cooking. The population sure universal access to affordable, reliable, and without access to electricity is mostly concentrated in modern energy services.” Recently, a Global ComSub-Saharan Africa, whereas the population without mission to End Energy Poverty has been convened to clean cooking spans the African, Asian, and Latin address this very challenge. American continents. In every part of the world, ur- Access to electricity, even for the smallest appliances, ban residents tend to receive modern energy solu- can significantly alter quality of life. Additional light tions well before rural residents.
bulbs can improve security and extend the produc-
Lacking access to modern energy is a significant im- tive hours of the day beyond sunset. In many cases, pediment to countries’ economic development. As having electricity gives children more time to do the16
ir homework at night, benefiting their education. velopment agenda, and increasingly at the forefront Chargers keep mobile phones - which are more ubiq- of political agendas around the world, is the chaluitous than electricity supply in many countries - lenge of climate mitigation. Sustainable Developfunctioning as sources of information and tools for ment Goal 13 mandates â€œ[taking] urgent action to communication. At a higher level of electricity sup- combat climate change and its impacts.â€? Climate ply, fans can combat heat and fridges can extend the change is considered by many to be the key chalshelf time of perishables. Surveys conducted by the lenge of our generation, bound to impact all of huGlobal Off-Grid Lighting Association have found manity, rich and poor. that most households report improvements to their quality of life, health, and income thanks to electricity access. Beyond the household, electricity can facilitate essential community services in schools, community centres, and hospitals. In particular, lights in hospital operation wards and refrigeration for vaccines are essential for healthcare improvements. At the industrial level, productivity gains from electrifying processes can jump-start economic growth.
AT FACE VALUE, THE OBJECTIVES OF CLIMATE MITIGATION AND ENERGY ACCESS SEEM INCOMPATIBLE. HOW DO WE EXTEND ELECTRICITY AND CLEAN COOKING FUELS OR TECHNOLOGIES TO FURTHER POPULATIONS WITHOUT INCREASING THE GLOBAL GREENHOUSE GAS FOOTPRINT? WOULD COMMITMENT TO CLIMATE MITIGATION STRONGLY RESTRICT ENERGY ACCESS EXPANSIONS AND THEIR R ESULTING DEVELOPMENT GAINS? Long-term modelling has shown one way that we can balance both of these urgent and important
Access to clean cooking, though sometimes less visi- objectives. The International Energy Agency has ble an issue on the international political agenda, is mapped out the Sustainable Development Scenario, similarly fundamental for economic growth. Those which is a future in which both Sustainable Develop-
without typically rely on burning biomass for heat ment Goals in discussion (as well as air pollution imand
traditional provements) are achieved globally by 2030. In this
cookstoves are used, smoke is not typically redi- pathway, energy access is achieved in a way that is rected outside of the house. The World Health Or- not only net neutral for climate mitigation, but even ganisation estimates the indoor air pollution to helpful in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Leadcause 3.8 million premature deaths per year. These ers of governments and the energy sector can adhere health consequences fall disproportionately on to elements of this Utopian scenario: women, who are often in charge of cooking, and can First of all, renewable energy is incorporated heavily exacerbate gender inequality.
into the portfolio of energy access solutions. Solar
Clean cooking is also an issue of productivity. As tra- photo-voltaic panels and hydro-power for electricity ditional cookstoves have low efficiency, cooking can generation, as well as biomass in more efficient take long periods of time. It also takes time, up to 5 cookstoves [IS1] are considered cost-effective lowhours a day, to gather the necessary fuel. Various so- carbon solutions. For a point of reference, in the lutions can contribute to health, equality, and eco- Sustainable Development Scenario, over threenomic growth. Modern cookstoves that burn bio- quarters of new electricity connections are provided mass can be significantly more efficient and cleaner, by renewable sources. even if they use the same traditional fuel. Other im- Renewable energy sources can pose limitations on proved options are cookstoves that run on liquefied the end-user if not installed thoughtfully. For exampetroleum gas, natural gas, or electricity.
ple, to ensure that solar energy can provide adequate
Also included in the same United Nations 2030 de- levels of energy services, solar panels can be combin17
ed with battery packs to ensure lighting at night, etc. tivities such as service sector office jobs. However, Companies selling solar home systems typically in- the historic trajectory of economic development has clude batteries for this purpose and allow houses to been closely tied to increasing energy consumption. access electricity off-grid. These solutions are partic- Sustainable Development Goal 7.1 focuses on the ularly cost-effective in places with lower population household as a starting point. This paints a relatively density, where it might not be justifiable to expand complete picture for cooking, but electricity usage is expensive grid infrastructure.
far more ubiquitous in our societies. A householdâ€™s
Second, energy access solutions can maximise the electricity consumption approximately triples from added-value of any unavoidable greenhouse gases by simple task lighting and phone charging to water selling efficient end use appliances. Efficient appli- heating, cooling, and air circulation. As analysis pubances provide necessary energy services - lighting, lished by the United Nations has demonstrated, sceheating, cooling, washing, etc. - with a lower electric- narios based on different levels of household electricity supply. This not only limits the associated green- ity consumption yield very different greenhouse gas house gas emissions of power usage, but also reduces footprints. electricity bills, and makes battery capacity last long- Electricity is also necessary beyond the household. er hours for off-grid households.
For commerce to develop, more kilowatt-hours of
Third, it turns out that the goal of clean cooking is electricity and litres of fuel are needed to run shops quite compatible with climate mitigation. When us- and restaurants, propel sewing machines, power ing traditional cookstoves, the incomplete combus- computers, etc. Some argue that industry is the estion of biomass fuel can lead to significant methane sential starting point for combating poverty: by elecemissions. This methane can be reduced significantly trifying industry, we can enable a greater jump in
by replacing traditional cookstoves with more effi- revenue than at the household level. Industry can cient, modern cookstoves. Even though modern provide a sufficient anchor load of electricity demand stoves may directly burn fossil fuels or rely on power to justify investment in power infrastructure. generated from fossil fuels - the methane avoided When considering the likely future increases in entypically outweighs newly emitted greenhouse gases. ergy consumption from the populations first receivThis is because methane is a powerful greenhouse ing access now, we find all the more justification to gas with 25 times the warming potential of carbon support renewable energy and efficient technologies, dioxide over a 100-year period. The more inefficient for the sake of the climate. cookstoves are replaced, the more of the greenhouse effect can be avoided. While clean cooking is inherently important, for health and socioeconomic reasons, this finding provides additional motivation to prioritise this goal. Energy access is only the first rung of a ladder of increasing energy consumption that facilitates economic development. In recent years, several advanced economies have finally decoupled their economic growth from energy consumption. This happens especially in countries where the economy
shifts away from manufacturing to lower-carbon ac-
BUILDING POWER SYSTEMS BASED ON CLEAN ENERGY TODAY, ESPECIALLY IN ALL CONTEXTS WHERE LOW-CARBON SOURCES ARE THE MOST COSTEFFECTIVE OPTIONS, WILL ALSO KEEP THE DOOR OPEN FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS OF THE DEVELOPING WORLD TO INCREASE THEIR ENERGY CONSUMPTION WITHOUT FEAR OF CLIMATE CONSEQUENCES.18
RENEWABLE ENERGY: WHO BENEFITS AND WHO DECIDES? WIND POWER IN THE ISTHMUS OF TEHUANTEPEC. PAOLA VELASCO LA TIERRA ES NUESTRA NO DE LAS EMPRESAS: “THE LAND BELONGS TO US, AND NOT TO CORPORATIONS” - PROMOTING COMMON INTEREST IN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS WOULD BE MORE EFFECTICE IF SOLUTIONS RESULTED IN ALL STAKEHODERS BEING BETTER OFF However, this is rarely the case since strategies to reduce cent to reach 486,749 MW in 2016 (GWEC 2016). Nevergreenhouse gas emissions usually result in winners and theless, its development has been marked by local social losers (WCED, 1987), and renewable energy technologies opposition that can be found in developed and developing (RETs) have not proven to be the exception. The adoption countries alike. of ambitious renewable energy targets has had profound One example of adverse social implications is the develsocial, economic and environmental implications that op- opment of wind energy in indigenous communities in erate at scales ranging from local to global and has raised Southern Mexico. Given the saturation of the energy marquestions about social justice in capitalist societies. kets in developed countries, the wind energy industry has Therefore, identifying key social justice issues related to turned their attention to emerging economies with signifenergy has become hugely important in advancing the icant wind resources. Mexico is considered to be an ideal proliferation of clean energy.
location for large scale wind energy production, particu-
Wind power has largely improved from a technical point larly the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, a region that has been of view, becoming a relatively cheap and exploitable re- identified as one of the best areas in the world to establish newable resource that is now at the core of many strate- wind farms. The average wind speed exceeds 10 m/s, gies for climate change and the energy transition. It has while in the world 6.5 m/s is the average for energy genbeen successfully implemented mainly in Asia (203,643 eration. Moreover, wind in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec is MW), Europe (161,330 MW), and North America (97,611 relatively stable, with a high percentage of wind hours per MW), becoming the world’s fastest-growing source of year, marking its energy potential standing as excellent. power generation in the last decade, and growing at 8 per Following a major energy reform in 2008 that facilitated
international private capital investments, large interna- has led to the development of corporate practices that are tional utility companies started to operate in the region, implemented on an ad hoc basis and at the developer’s producing up to 3,527MW in 2016. Nevertheless, these discretion. Consequently, developers view their contribuinstallations have faced levels of local social opposition. tions as altruistic, not as part of indigenous communities’ For instance, in 2012, a 396MW development that was right to profit from their land and resources. Often, develplanned to be the largest in Latin America was cancelled opers only offer benefits in exchange for acceptance of due to conflicts linked to land speculation and ethnic ten- new windfarms or enlargement of existing ones. Moreosions between Zapotecs and Huaves. This caused an ap- ver, these benefits are only received by a few, yet ills are proximate loss of $7 million for the main investors (the spread throughout the region. Environmental impacts on global investment bank Macquarie, based in Australia, the local wildlife – particularly birds and bats – as well as Mitsubishi Corporation, and Dutch pension investment noise pollution, are felt by similarly by everyone within group PGGM). While the establishment of wind farms neighbouring communities. Thus, this unequal distribuwas a good opportunity for the region in theory, the lack tion of benefits and ills has caused a number of local conof social acceptance put further investments and the well- flicts that ultimately derive from different levels of rebeing of the local population at risk.
sistance to new wind energy developments.
One main concern raised by indigenous communities in Therefore, the development of wind energy infrastructure the region is the unequal distribution of benefits and ills in Mexico has demonstrated that sustainable solutions derived from wind energy developments. The Isthmus of are not necessarily paired with socially equitable outTehuantepec crosses the state of Oaxaca, a region shaped comes. For development to sustainably evolve to tackle by an indigenous identity in the legacy of colonialism, inequalities, adequate bottom-up processes to establish a with high levels of poverty. 56% of the Oaxaca population more equal distribution of benefits and ills should be put consider themselves indigenous, and it is one of three in place. This is the holy grail of all development activistates with the highest indigenous population percentage ties, and renewable energy projects are no exception. This in Mexico (INEGI 2015). It is also one of the most mar- is easier said than done, and the quest for the tools to ginalised. 84% of the municipalities face a ‘moderate’, make this happen in practice continues, well beyond the ‘high’ or ‘very high’ grade of marginalisation, according to Isthmus of Tehuantepec. the National Population Council’s (2015) marginalisation index, which considers deficiencies in basic education and housing, residence in small, dispersed and isolated localities, and low monetary income. Given the poverty situation, communities initially welcomed wind energy developments as a way of generating external income paid through land lease agreements and employment. However, members of the community argue that contrary to their initial expectations, only a small fraction of the population has benefited economically, resulting in the emergence of social inequalities that did not exist before the establishment of wind farms in the region. For instance, only 6.2% of the population has been a creditor to a land lease and 1.6% has a job in the local wind energy industry. Furthermore, wind energy developers in the region are not formally obliged to provide benefits to local communities. The lack of institutionalisation of benefit-sharing
DIGITAL GREEN INDUSTRIALISATION: RECONCILING GLOBAL EQUALITY AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT MATEUS L.LABRUNIE The environmental issue that I find most disturbing as growth of demand in order to survive. This is not to say that an a development economist is the claim that if developing coun- alternative should not be proposed or discussed, just that it is a tries’ consumption levels reached those of the world’s most de- much more long-term issue that would require profound sysveloped countries, there would be insufficient resources on the temic changes. planet to sustain it. Diamond calculates that this situation
Within capitalism, therefore, the only way of reconciling
would be similar to having 80 billion people at current average these two objectives is through a drastic reduction in the rate of consumption levels. While there can be some discussion as to resource use, or throughput. That is where technological develwhether we could sustain the consumption of slightly more opment comes in. Resource-efficient technologies can reduce than our current 7.7 billion people, it is pretty clear that there the amount of non-renewable materials used to produce outsimply would not be enough resources, including energy, water, puts. The question then is whether new technologies will be minerals and agricultural products to sustain 10 times more. able to lower throughput at a faster rate than the growth of outIf we assume that current rates of resource use will remain con- put. There are many reasons to doubt this, and to some extent a stant, the world is either condemned to have a large group of revision of our current consumption standards seems inevitacountries in low levels of consumption, with a significant part ble. However, we should not underestimate the power of huof their populations in poverty, or bound to head towards an man ingenuity. Those that have done so in the past have often environmental catastrophe. This raises the question of whether been embarrassed, such as Malthus with his catastrophic deit is possible to reconcile global equality between countries with mographic predictions. environmental sustainability.
In this regard, there are reasons to be optimistic about
There are two contested ways to reconcile both of these the impacts of the so-called Industry 4.0 on the rate of resource objectives. The first involves a generalized change in mindset use. Industry 4.0 refers to the industrial application of new away from consumerism, reducing the consumption aspira- technologies such as artificial intelligence, internet of things, tions in developing countries and current averages in devel- cyber-physical systems, and additive manufacturing. This enaoped ones. This is argued by the authors of the de-growth liter- bles smart, connected and adaptable production. This may ature. What is envisaged is a world of simpler lives, with more greatly impact sustainability. Firstly, the digitization of supply attention paid to basic human needs and less to what Veblen chains optimizes the matching of supply and demand in realcalls “conspicuous consumption” – goods and services de- time, avoiding material losses associated with overproduction, signed for the public display of social status and economic pow- and optimizing the distribution of raw materials. Additive maner. The second approach would be a drastic increase in the effi- ufacturing can also be used to realize new, complex lightweight ciency of resource use, achieving a similar average output but structures that can be applied to save materials. Secondly, more with a drastically lower throughput, making it possible to sus- efficient energy consumption can be expected with the imtain our current consumptions.
provement in capacity utilization and in throughput times in
The problem with the first option is that a generalized factories. Energy efficiency can also be obtained with the use of change in mindset is, in addition to being highly unlikely in the the Smart Grid, reducing losses during grid transmissions. short-term, incompatible with capitalism. If one accepts the Thirdly, with the increasing traceability and monitoring of Keynesian principle of effective demand, it becomes clear that a product usage, Industry 4.0 may support the realization of generalized reduction in consumption in capitalist economies closed-loop life cycles, such as through the reuse of individual leads to a decrease in economic activity. This, in turn, gives rise product components, and the facilitation of partnerships beto many social issues such as unemployment, wage reductions, tween companies and end-of-life stakeholders (e.g. recycling less social welfare and financial crisis risk. These could even companies), making it easier to integrate the remanufacturing result in social unrest that would seek to dismiss the environ- of individual parts into the life cycle. Every product, from elecmental agenda as a priority. Capitalist economies need a tronics to plastic bottles, may be traces from its production to
the end of its life cycle, and the state of its components tation of these technologies to specific existing productive acmonitored. Of course, this is not enough, but it is a great ena- tivities, than to completely overhauling their economies. bling
An intersection between these two issues of environmen-
Conversely, there are also reasons to doubt the environmental tal sustainability and economic catch-up lies in the fact that it sustainability of Industry 4.0. For example, although 4.0 tech- might be easier for new firms and industries in developing nologies might lead to higher energy-efficiency, primary energy countries to adopt new greener production paradigms, than for consumption may rise with the increasing use of data-centres, established firms in developed countries to convert their old telecommunication networks, cloud storages, computer equip- plants. After years of activity and incremental innovation, esment, and the constant monitoring and adaptation of produc- tablished firms are already competitive in the old resourcetion processes. Additive manufacturing processes are currently inefficient production paradigms, and therefore could be more highly energy-intensive, especially in the production of the resistant to technological and organizational changes. In that starting materials used in these processes. In terms of quantity sense, jumpstarting processes of digital green industrialization of materials used, the trend is also not clear. The increasing in developing countries can represent an opportunity for tackintegration of sensors, actuators and transmission devices in ling both global inequality and environmental sustainability at new smart products and equipment will lead to an enormous the same time.It must be observed, however, that this adoption demand for new and critical raw materials, such as “technology of greener production paradigms will not derive automatically metals” that in general are non-recyclable.
from the workings of free forces in the market. Development
As such, there is no consensus on whether new digital technolo- and adoption of new technologies, especially frontier ones, ingies can help create a more sustainable production. There is volves committing large capital investments and facing radical uncertainty not only about their direct impacts, but also their uncertainty – situations where it is not even possible to make indirect ones – the transformations they may induce in firm probabilistic calculations about the future. Consequently, if and consumer behaviour. The key point here is, however, that these processes are left purely to the market, they will most there is still time to influence the direction in which digital likely never happen. Furthermore, the path of less resistance to technologies are developing. Instead of asking how 4.0 technol- non-renewable and resource inefficient technology will mostly ogies can impact sustainability, perhaps a more interesting be taken. Thus, the crucial role of state in both driving producquestion to ask would be how can sustainability principles ori- tive development processes and in making sure that they are ent the development of 4.0 technologies.
environmentally sustainable must be discussed. Historically,
In addition to their effects on sustainability, there are the state has been fundamental not only in promoting industrireasons to believe that new digital technologies might represent al and technological development through many policy instruwindows of opportunity for some developing countries. Histori- ments such as tariffs, subsidies, public procurement, and techcal records show that technological paradigm changes have of- nological licensing, but also in giving direction to these develten allowed for new entrants to challenge the leadership of es- opments. The state mission of getting the man on the moon led tablished firms and countries. At the firm level, think of Kodak, to the development and adoption of many space-related techand its loss of leadership with the introduction of digital camer- nologies. The state missions of defeating their opponents in as. At the country level, think of the emergence of Japan and combat led to the development and adoption of many warfare South Korea as leaders in the highly dynamic electronics indus- technologies. Why not expect the same with worldwide state try in the 1980s. Or earlier, think of the US and Germany catch- missions of sustainable production? ing-up to the British leadership at the end of the 19 th century by
It also doesn’t seem fair to make developing countries
entering new industries such as chemicals and electric equip- bear the full burden of cultivating green industries, given that ment, or by adopting new technologies in old industries such as developed countries did not have the same preoccupations steel production. This is the process of “creative destruction” when they were industrializing, and today they remain responthat Schumpeter described as the central feature of capitalism. sible for most of the world’s resource consumption and enviTaking advantage of the opportunities of Industry ronmental issues. Imposing environmental restrictions for de4.0, however, requires a somewhat developed level of techno- veloping countries on top of all the restrictions they already logical and production capabilities. Therefore, countries with a have seems just another way of ‘kicking away the ladder’, that more established industrial base, such as some middle-income is, stopping developing countries from taking the path that decountries, seem better positioned to address the challenges of veloped countries took in their own development processes. digitalization. Contrastingly, for most of the developing world This is even more problematic given that many restrictions that the discussion refers more to the effective absorption and adap- developing countries have today are due to their colonial past.
A more welcome approach, then, would be a positive one, with financial and non-financial stimuli for developing countries to adopt greener technologies. This would not be aid, but international subsidies and technology transfers, which are closer to the policies that the developed countries of today used in the past. In some way, incentives for green industrialization could be a mutually beneficial opportunity for paying the colonial debt. I know this is quite a utopian approach. I believe it is unlikely that developed countries will voluntarily facilitate developing countries’ industrialization processes – green or not. In the end, capitalism is a competitive system, and change is only achieved by developing countries through their own policies and efforts, in most cases against various and strong contrary pressures. Most likely, the environmental issue will be addressed – of course not openly, and often not even consciously – by maintaining a large part of the global population in poverty, and with a much less drastic change in the rate of resource use. This might work for a while, and the emerging digital technologies may play a part in buying us some time. But overall, if we do believe in the possibility of a more equal global
LEAPFROGGING: MIND THE GAP BETWEEN THE TECH AND THE PEOPLE MELINA MITSOTAKI
landscape, at some point we will have to face the daunting question of the compatibility of an ever-growing, everaccumulating system, with the environmental limits of our planet.
It is easy for people with a tech background in the
what it refers to, here is a handy definition by the
developed world to forget about the alternative
UN Conference on Trade and Development
pathways of technology. This was certainly true for
(UNCTAD): the bypassing of intermediate stages
me, with an undergraduate degree in engineering
of technology through which countries have his-
and all my peers pursuing careers in the largest
torically passed during the development process
tech hubs in the US and Europe. Things changed
when I decided to take on an internship with the
There are various examples of developing coun-
UN Environment in Jamaica this past year. That
tries adopting technologies that have ripened or
was when I first encountered the notion of leap-
been mainstreamed in developed countries with-
frogging development, and realized that tech can,
out having to go through the entire development
in fact, escape its hubs and diffuse into all corners
process themselves. Whether that be mobile tele-
of the world.
communication networks in Western Africa or
In Jamaica I was able to learn about the internal
bank-account-free money transactions through
structure of a country while also experiencing it
mobile phones in South Asia, the leapfrogging ap-
externally through everyday interactions and ob-
proach has been gaining ground and popularity
servations. On one hand, through the UN I experi-
(UNCTAD, 2018)(Chhabra and Das, 2019). And
enced the attitudes of the Caribbean Community
that should be expected. The promise that leap-
to sustainable development through the govern-
frogging gives to developing countries for acceler-
mental activity of its various member states. In
ated development has an undeniable appeal, it
other words, I read quite a few policy documents:
comes as something like a deus ex machina. Ex-
proposals, reports, action plans. These alone pro-
cept, in this case, the promise does not materialize
vide good insight on countriesâ€™ development mod-
magically. Leapfrogging requires extensive calcu-
els and their place in wider global power dynam-
lation and planning. Most importantly, it necessi-
ics. On the other hand, in my daily life outside the
tates in-depth comprehension of the existing soci-
UN I was getting a glimpse of what it is actually
opolitical conditions of the country at hand. This
like to live in a developing country that is follow-
necessity is precisely what I intend to call atten-
ing the said models and strategies. This linking of
theory to everyday observations allowed me a
In Jamaica, I found development to be inextrica-
more critical look at the pragmatism of the strate-
bly linked to political strategy which was a driving
gies employed and the feasibility of the projects
force for its implementation. Development was
also at the forefront in in-person discussions on
My introduction to leapfrogging came through the
environmental and energy aspects of development
official channels of the UN which is perhaps an
between stakeholders and government representa-
indication of its top-down nature as a develop-
tives, for Jamaica and the Caribbean as a whole.
ment strategy. Leapfrogging is an effort by highly
Some overarching questions were: What is Jamai-
established international organizations to improve
caâ€™s strategy post-Paris Agreement to achieving its
living standards of millions of people on the
Nationally Determined Contribution as it relates
ground and has become something of a buzzword
to its carbon emissions? How can we effectively
in the world of international development. For an-
green the energy sector as outlined in Jamaicaâ€™s
yone lacking the background or a clear idea of
national strategic plan for sustainable develop-
ment, Vision 2030? What technologies can be suc-
could support solar-powered charging stations. To
cessfully adopted and introduced in the Caribbean
add to that, cheap solar-powered charging makes
to facilitate sustainable development? One such
EVs all the more appealing when compared to the
facilitating technology that occasionally found its
forbidding cost of imported gasoline in many Car-
way into forum discussions and stood out to me as
ibbean islands. However, during Edghill’s short
a case study subject was electric mobility, more
presentation I perceived some inertia and maybe a
specifically Electric Vehicles (EVs).
slight hint of skepticism among the Jamaican au-
In today’s world, EVs are widely deemed as the
dience. This triggered my curiosity.
paradigm of clean transportation. In the face of a
I later attempted to look closer at this idea of leap-
planet that is struggling to keep its CO2 emissions
frogging EVs into Jamaica to understand why they
under control, and a road transportation system
have not taken off in Jamaica as they have in Bar-
that is responsible for at least one-tenth of global
bados. Not only have they not taken off, but there
emissions (C2ES, 2017), EVs are now seen as the
exists no EV infrastructure in Jamaica whatsoever
promise to revolutionizing road transportation.
to support the use of EVs, e.g. charging stations.
Within the automotive industry, they have already
One obvious factor is that Barbados is significantly
made a strong market entry. Most large car manu-
wealthier, with a GDP per capita over twice that of
facturers are producing many of their new models
Jamaica (Country comparison Barbados vs Ja-
with hybrid or purely electric engines. Purely elec-
maica 2019, 2019). This could serve as an explana-
tric cars require no gas at all, bringing their direct
tion for the weak marketability of EVs in Jamaica,
emissions down to zero, and operate on rechargea-
both on the consumer end, but also on the end of
ble batteries. They can be charged at home or at
public or private stakeholders that would have to
public stations that often supply power from re-
subsidize the necessary infrastructure. While the
newable sources, such as solar. This transition in
economic line of reasoning alone is extremely im-
the automotive industry has received support from
portant and gave me a satisfactory answer to my
national and international policymakers alike, and
question, I could also not look away from another,
already some states are employing financial mech-
complementary line of reasoning. The cultural line
anisms to incentivize the purchase and use of EVs
or reasoning became apparent to me when I start-
ed thinking about one very specific aspect of car
At one of such events, UNDP’s UNCut Discussions
on Climate Change, the co-founder of Barbados-
As had become clear to me through my everyday
based company MegaPower, Joanna Edghill, was
observations, car servicing very unsurprisingly did
discussing and promoting the commercial success
not escape Jamaica’s status as a developing coun-
of EVs in Barbados. According to MegaPower, Bar-
try. I had seen the high number of unofficial car
bados has made significant progress in e-mobility
service stations and decided to ask some local
with 200+ EVs on the road and 50+ publicly ac-
friends about how Jamaicans typically choose to
cessible charging points (Megapower Barbados,
service their cars, and if they prefer mechanics not
2019). Edghill, being herself a serious advocate for
affiliated to official retailers. I discovered that un-
the suitability of EVs for Caribbean countries, was
official servicing is in fact very common. It is
very encouraging toward Jamaican stakeholders
cheap and effective, largely because many of these
entertaining the idea. Without a doubt, the Carib-
mechanics never receive official training. They
bean climate has an abundance of sunlight and
know car parts, engine components and how to 26
troubleshoot most common problems - an ade-
Naturally that brings up the question: does the
quate skillset to earn them their living. In this
much lower cost of recharging an EV make up for
given dynamic, I wanted to introduce a thought
the expensive servicing? It is an interesting cost-
experiment: assuming EVs went mainstream in
benefit analysis for end-users, and my personal
Jamaica, what would the implications be for its
take is that it also depends on how strong the in-
current car service market?
centives are for them to abandon that which they
Things would certainly not look very hopeful for
are used to.
owners and mechanics of these informal service
The implications of introducing any new technol-
stations. EVs and traditional gasoline vehicles are
ogy to a country exogenously are not just con-
like apples and pears when it comes to servicing.
tained within the economy. Developers have to be
Aside from the common checks, like tire pressure
sensitive about how this new technology will in-
and braking systems, servicing an EV is very dif-
teract with the country’s social framework as a
ferent (Volkswagen UK, no date). In simple
whole. The right systems, infrastructure, and in-
terms, an electric engine conveniently comprises
stitutions need to be in place so that the condi-
fewer components than a traditional gas engine,
tions are ripe for any new entry in the market,
which is good in principle because there are fewer
and in many cases these factors also involve cul-
things to break. At the same time, though, the
tural receptiveness. What is suitable for one de-
bulk of its operation depends on electronics and
veloping country might well not be for another.
software rather than on mechanical connections
Of course, the wider social implications of leap-
between physical parts. Thus, servicing an EV
frogging a certain technology can never be com-
roughly amounts to checking its electronics, and
pletely exhausted or exactly predicted. In the case
electronics are no layman hobby. Current me-
of Jamaica, cultural considerations are yet to be
chanics in Jamaica could certainly not check for
played out in the continuation of the EV relay
and troubleshoot software problems in an electric
that Barbados has started. Time will tell as to
car. There is no knowledge and skills for that
whether they will indeed be a practical hindrance
there yet. Thus my thought experiment yields two
to its implementation. Regardless, it is crucial for
all parties affecting and affected by international
THE MECHANICS SHARE IN THE LOCAL ECONOMY WOULD SUFFER FROM AN AB-
is true that the benefits of introducing novel technology to developing countries can significantly
RUPT TRANSITION TO ELECTRIC MOBILITY
boost economic growth and people’s living stand-
AND THAT WOULD LIKELY RESULT IN UNEM-
ards, or even improve the environment, but that
PLOYMENT FOR THOSE ACTIVE IN THAT MARKET. 2)
development work to have a critical approach. It
EV OWNERS WOULD HAVE TO VISIT THEIR OFFICIAL RETAILERS TO HAVE THEIR CARS
is only if it is done with great thought and a willingness to understand the existing dynamics within. Leapfrogging is like buying a new outfit; it might look exciting before you try it on, but it is only worth it when it fits.
SERVICED—AND THAT IS SIGNIFICANTLY MORE EXPENSIVE. 27
WALES AND CLIMATE CHANGE: HOW FOSSIL FUELS AND RENEWABLES HAVE GOVERNED ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT LUKE THOMAS In the 1960s, as theories surrounding climate change be- Welsh economy is a clear example of Westminster’s misgan to emerge, its consequences were already evident management, not only of the 1980s mining crisis, but also across the Welsh Valleys. At 09:13 on the 21st of October of Wales. Today, Wales is home to the highest level of 1966 in Aberfan, 150,000 tonnes of coal waste buried a child poverty in the UK and is the only place to see child school. 144 people were killed; 116 of which were chil- poverty levels rising. In my home ward, 41.3% of children dren. The events of that morning wiped out a generation live in poverty. Wales continues to suffer socio-economic of people from Aberfan. It was the last day of term and issues three decades after the mining crisis and there is a the school was closing early at noon - had the landslide clear need to reassess the policies surrounding the ecooccurred only a few hours later, it would have been emp- nomic progression of the country. In contrast, London is ty. An estimated 6000 people have been killed in Wales the richest region in northern Europe, but Wales is the as a result of coal mining; for them, the climate crisis be- poorest. Adam Price, the leader of the nationalist party in gan long before now, it began in the coal mines.
Wales, stated that ‘the solutions to our problems will nev-
Coal has been at the very heart of the Welsh economy for er come from another country’s capital 150 miles to the centuries. It brought employment, opportunities and in- East.’ The devolution settlement, however, has meant that frastructure. By the early 20th century, one in four work- Wales now has a significantly greater say in its own afers in Wales were coal miners.
The country was re- fairs. The Senedd (Welsh Parliament), is responsible for
nowned worldwide for its slate and was home to one of many decisions including the Welsh NHS, education and the world’s largest coalfields. The desire for coal fuelled the environment. The environment is one of the factors development across Wales; it became home to the world’s high on the national agenda and in October 2011, Wales highest railway viaduct, the world’s tallest canal aqueduct was the first country in the UK to introduce a charge for as well as the first ever steam train. Railways were built to plastic bags. More importantly, in April of this year, the connect communities to the mines, which in turn allowed Senedd was the first national Parliament in the world to communities with one each other. Wales was even home declare a climate emergency. to the first operational public railway in the UK, which A month after declaring the climate emergency, the Welsh ran from the Gwendraeth valley into my hometown of Government controversially axed a scheme to build a Llanelli. But, climate change tortured the Welsh econo- £1.6bn M4 relief road. The relief road was to be built due my. A desire for cleaner energy meant that fuel sources to congestion around a two-lane tunnel which results in a switched from coal to gas and biomass; and as the coal bottleneck on the motorway. This was deemed a huge mines closed, so did the quarries, ports, and most im- win for environmentalists, since the relief road would portantly, the railways. When the coal mines and rail- have ‘ploughed through the unique, wildlife-rich Gwent ways closed, communities became economically and so- Levels, pumped more climate-wrecking emissions into cially isolated. The transport links were only built to ex- our atmosphere, and ultimately caused even more conploit Welsh natural resources and not to connect the gestion and air pollution’. Nonetheless, others claim that country; we’re yet to see a railway or a highway connect- this decision could be detrimental to the much-needed ing
the North and South.
investment along the south coast, in particular the Valleys
Before the mining crisis, Wales’ economy kept up with the which saw the blunt of the economic hardship after the rest of the UKs, but the closure of the mines resulted in mining crisis. Nonetheless, the First Minister of Wales, the Welsh GVA (Gross Value Added) falling to just 77% of Mark Drakeford, had the final say in the decision and the UK average by 1999. Some state that the decline of the stressed his concern about the surrounding wildlife and
acceptable impact on our other priorities such as public
Plaid Cymru and even the Welsh Conservatives all sup-
transport’. After the climate emergency was announced in ported the project, but in June 2018 the UK Conservative Wales, the Welsh Government and Cardiff City Council
government scrapped it. On the very same day they voted
both announced that they were to heavily invest in public
for the £14bn expansion of Heathrow airport. As Wales
transport. £58m is to be invested in Cardiff Central rail-
was refused investment in green energy production,
way station and £119m has been secured from the EU to
Westminster greenlit the expansion of the UKs biggest
develop a South Wales Metro. The city council has also
single source of greenhouse gases. This was not only a
announced a £1bn scheme to transform public transport
kick in the teeth to environmentalists, but also to those in
across the city to reduce car journeys. This scheme is to
Wales, as the promise of jobs and investment was broken.
integrate with the South Wales Metro and is to include
Further to this, the UK Conservative government also
green and electric buses. A new bus station is set to open
broke other environmental development promises includ-
in Cardiff by 2023 and the scheme is expected to be com-
ing electrification of the South Wales railway lines past
plete by 2030.
Cardiff, electrification of the North Wales railway lines
Despite Wales suffering economic hardship from its overreliance on mining of fossil fuels, climate change is no longer hindering development in Wales, but is in fact actively encouraging it. Wales currently outdoes the whole of the UK in terms of its renewable energy consumption, where it currently meets 48% of its energy demands by renewable sources compared to just 11% across the whole of the UK. It is also on target to reach 70% by 2030 and an ‘ambitious’ target from the Institute of Welsh Affairs
and they failed to reach a deal for a nuclear power plant which would have brought 9000 jobs to Anglesey. Several political parties are calling for more devolved powers to allow for a greater degree of environmental control and energy production to give the green light to those projects rejected by Westminster. Some argue that this, and the economic hardship that Wales continues to endure proves that Westminster has not been making the correct decisions for them.
predicts that 20,150 jobs could be created if Wales meets 100% of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2035. Climate change and investment in renewable energy could give the Welsh economy its much-needed boost. Currently, Wales is the fifth largest electricity exporter in the world, just behind Canada, Germany, Paraguay and France, whereas the British state is not even in the top ten. Wales produces enough extra electricity to almost satisfy the energy consumption of the whole of Scotland, but despite this, Wales pays more for its electricity than the rest of the UK, where the Welsh average is 15.13 p/
WHILST THE WORST OF CLIMATE CHANGE IS YET TO COME, WALES HAS ALREADY SEEN THE HUMAN AND ENVIRONMENTAL COST OF FOSSIL FUELS OVER SEVERAL CENTURIES. DESPITE PROVIDING COAL TO THE REST OF THE UK AND THE WORLD FOR CENTURIES, IRONICALLY A THIRD OF WELSH PEOPLE NOW LIVE IN FUEL
kWh compared to the UK average of 14.40 p/kWh. Regu-
POVERTY. BUT WHAT GOES AROUND COMES
lation of energy prices is not a devolved issue and as such
AROUND, AND AS A RESULT OF CLIMATE CHANGE,
the Welsh Government has no control over the effect of price hikes and austerity measures on the poorest region
THERE IS A PUSH FOR INVESTMENT IN PUBLIC
of the UK; meaning that several families in Wales have to
TRANSPORT AND RENEWABLE ENERGY, DRIVING
choose between heating and eating. Climate change is not only developing the physical land-
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ACROSS WALES. CLI-
scape, but also the political landscape of Wales. In 2014,
MATE CHANGE MAY HAVE RESULTED IN THE DE-
the UK Government announced a £1.3bn Swansea bay
CLINE OF THE WELSH ECONOMY – BUT IT COULD
tidal lagoon, which could have brought over 2000 jobs and powered 155,000 homes. Labour, the Lib Dems,
PROVE RESPONSIBLE FOR ITS REVIVAL TOO. 29
STUDENTS BEHIND PICKET LINES: FIGHTING FOR CLIMATE JUSTICE CAMBRIDGE SCHOOLS ECO COUNCIL
The street is filled, from six year olds with their par- A FEW HUNDRED? ITâ€™S HARD TO TELL FROM WHERE I ents to seventeen year old sixth formers with their friends. I hear the chanting around me and I see the
AM BUT IT SEEMS THAT THE ORGANISING HAS PAID
homemade signs and banners that make me wish I OFF. A ROAR OF ENCOURAGEMENT FROM UNIVERSIhad brought mine. We pass intrigued pedestrians TY STUDENTS HITS US AND I SEE THEM HERE TO and slightly confused drivers who sit in their cars waiting for us to move. When turning the next corner
GREET US. THE PERSON CHANTING FROM THE MEG-
I get a glimpse of how many people are actually here APHONE CHANGES THE CHANT AND I STRUGGLE TO
as I nearly bump into the XR steward.
KEEP UP. I CONCLUDE THAT THIS IS A GOOD STRIKE. 30
Following Greta Thumberg’s lead after the first UK representatives, as well as with the city council and strike on the 13th February 2019 we’ve had monthly regional planning & environmental groups on the strikes in which we (the Cambridge Schools Eco emergency chalk stream crisis facing Cambridge and Council) decide the theme, timings, route and ac- the surrounding area; water could soon be scarce in tions. These strikes have been highly successful, and Cambridgeshire. We’re very engaged in this matter shining a light on the important issue of climate and intend to continue to influence the local and nachange that is affecting people now and will affect all tional government’s decisions. Being a part of a globof us as one of the most pressing issues of our time. al movement encourages us. We, the Eco Councillors have attended meetings with WE WILL BE VIGILANT ABOUT WHAT THE CAMBRIDGE local organisations such as Cambridge Zero Carbon Society and Extinction Rebellion Cambridge. We’ve
CITY COUNCIL DO FROM NOW. WE HAVE PRESENTED
also managed to get our message out by the local THEM WITH OUR OPEN LETTER LAYING OUT OUR
press, being interviewed on local radio, meeting our CLEAR DEMANDS TO TACKLE THE EMERGENCY LOMP, Daniel Zeichner, and taking our message about the climate emergency to the Secretary of State for the Environment, Michael Gove.
Overall we’ve achieved all these actions in just ten months. Unions such as NEU, Cambridge & Districts
AFTER FACING OUR DIFFICULT QUESTIONS AND Trades Council and UCU have joined our Youth HEARING OUR READINGS OF EMOTIVE POEMS Strikes and helped to build them within their organi(INCLUDING DREW DILLENGER’S HIEROGLYPHIC sations. Climate campaigners such as our local STAIRWAY), GOVE RELEASED A “LANDMARK STATE-
Greenpeace group and Artist Unions have been re-
energised by us. There is no going back now. We
MENT” ON THE ENVIRONMENT EMERGENCY THAT have built up our local movement for Climate Action
and we hope to do much more in the future. “This is
WAS WIDELY REPORTED IN THE PRESS:
“THERE IS A POLITICAL NEED TO ACT - BECAUSE WE
a crisis,” says Greta Thunberg, and we have to treat it like a crisis.
CANNOT LEAVE THIS PLANET TO THE NEXT GENERA- Our movement has always been led by children in TION MORE POLLUTED, MORE DANGEROUS, DENUD- decision making, leading the protests and chants as ED OF ITS NATURAL RICHES AND INCREASINGLY INHOSPITABLE TO ALL LIFE.”
well as speaking at the Strikes. We would like to, however, thank the adults of Cambridge XR who keep our marches safe on the routes we choose as we
THIS IS A MINUTE BUT IMPORTANT STEP FORWARD march through the city centre by volunteering to AS THE GOVERNMENT NEEDS TO TAKE A STRONG steward on the day. STANCE IMMEDIATELY TO AVERT CLIMATE DISASTER. BUT OF COURSE THEY ARE TAKING TOO LONG FOR THE PEOPLE WHO ARE BEING GREATLY AFFECTED RIGHT NOW IN COUNTRIES LIKE BANGLADESH AND SUDAN
We attended meetings with local and global business 31
IMAGE ABOVE ‘OUR LAST MARCH ON THE 25TH OF OCTOBER DURING THE HALF-TERM “SPEAK FOR THE TREES”. WE MARCHED THROUGH THE CITY LIKE THE MOVING FOREST IN MACBETH TO PRESENT THE COUNTY COUNCIL OUR OPEN LETTER.’
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