Tuesday, June 2, 2009

What’s Next: Strategy to address Greenhouse Gas Emission

The strategy to adopt in addressing greenhouse emission level is rife in the political corridors of the State houses and the Federal houses. While most strategies on the table seem amendable enough to change, one thing is very certain: the concept of sustainability. Sustainability requires that prescribed strategy today does not make narrow choices that will push the responsibility of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to the coming generation of leaders. As Andreas Edwards puts it in Sustainable Revolution, Sustainability entails the three Es: environment, economy and equity. The strategy prescribed must be such that the imbalance in the environment due to carbon dioxide emissions is stabilized enough, if not totally eradicated, to help maintain harmony in the ecosystem. The strategy must be such that excessive stress is not introduced to an economy that is underperforming, if not tanking. Finally, there must be equity in the quality of life attained today through correction of environmental imbalance with responsive strategies, just as what is expected by future citizens.

According to the Executive Director of Greenpeace: in the end, protecting the environment is about very clear choices. We can either standup for what is right – our health, humanity and heritage on this planet of ours – or we can sit by and watch while decisions are made that threatens to destroy our collective future. Proponents of corrective strategies to reduce green house gas emissions recommend that any strategy adopted must be two pronged: 1) able to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from automobile; 2) able also to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation. We have all witnessed the successes and failures of both the adaptive management strategy versus the pragmatic strategy of the last two administrations, with respect to forest conservation. While the adaptive management strategy emphasized environmental sustainability and involvement of local decision makers, the pragmatic strategy excluded the moral and legal presumption, focusing more on utilitarian conservation. Which of these strategies has worked well in the arena of forest conservation is still subject to debate. The baggage that either of these strategies carries has made me take a long look at many of the proposed strategies for controlling greenhouse gas emissions, and say: we must get it right this time to make the effort worth its while.
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