At What Cost?
March 26, 2017




Ok, let me get this off my chest just to feel better.

Tonight is “earth hour”, a time, I think 8:30, where everyone is to put out their lights and electricity to say, ‘hey, we want to address this climate change problem. And we’re going to do it because we want the world to know we care.’

I don’t like these things. This is silly and does nothing.
When I was in Haiti, electricity was a privilege. Only the privileged had it. Fossil fuels are the most affordable way for poor people to get power. I was fortunate to stay in a compound where they paid a ridiculous amount of money to have power from 7 p.m. till 7 a.m. The native Haitians had no such options.
The only way for poor people to be able to cook in Haiti is with sticks, twigs, and dung. And keeping things in the fridge? A fridge? What is that?
Instead of renewed energy, what the planet needs is greater investment in research and the development of green energy.

Increasingly, the world’s rich nations insist that these people — the world’s poor — should have no new fossil fuel access. Foreign aid is increasingly tied to renewable energy projects such as building solar and wind power capacity, or tiny “off-grid” energy generators. This has a real cost — and it’s the world’s worst-off who pay.

So symbolism like this is ok, because after an hour we’ll watch our TV, get on our computer, and go back to warming up our cars in the cold, even though we’re against CO2 emissions screwing up our air. And if this would address the poor, I’d be first in line.
But it doesn’t address the needs of the poor. They need more light. And fossil fuels is the most inexpensive and expedient way. The poor have no advocates, like the people of Haiti. Or Kenya. Or the Congo. Their governments could not care less about the people.
This appears rather hypocritical: The rich world relies heavily on fossil fuels, getting just 10% of its energy from renewables (renewables are resources  which can be used repeatedly because it is replaced naturally. Examples are: oxygen, fresh water, solar energy, timber). Contrast that to Africa, which gets 50% of its much lower energy consumption from renewables.)
That’s why we need to do something. It would be great to clean up our planet (although I don’t buy totally into this ‘climate change’ mantra), but at what cost? And why do the poor have to suffer for it?