Oil Matters: Economic and Environmental Prospects Hinge on Global Cooperation

By Gorelick, Melissa | UN Chronicle, July-August 2006 | Go to article overview

Oil Matters: Economic and Environmental Prospects Hinge on Global Cooperation


Gorelick, Melissa, UN Chronicle


FOR DECADES, THE BATTLE LINES OVER OIL, the world markets and the environment have been clearly drawn. But recently there has been an unprecedented shift in the conversation surrounding-energy issues. Scientists and politicians have finally managed to rouse an undecided public to a climate crisis that may be "inconvenient", but is increasingly and disturbingly "true". Meanwhile, economists worldwide are attempting to dispel apocalyptic predictions about the global oil supply. The international community finds itself in the difficult position of gauging energy truths on a daily basis. How would a polar ice cap melt affect the subarctic world? What do exorbitant gas prices really mean? While oil talk is messy, its bottom line is clear: today's energy problems are global ones and require global solutions.

To this end, the United Nations has led the way in coordinating a unified international energy effort. Moreover, it has taken innovative steps to draw human voices into a debate that, for all its urgency, can seem daunting and inaccessible to those that it affects most: consumers and workers the world over.

Three UN treaty bodies met in May 2006 to address the economic and environmental impact of energy usage. The fourteenth session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development heard from groups as varied as trade union leaders, indigenous representatives and technology specialists as it discussed a long-term international energy strategy. A week later, the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues held a regional meeting on the Arctic, where representatives of the Arctic Council spoke passionately about the changes occurring in their homelands. Finally, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) met in Bonn, Germany, during the 24th session of subsidiary bodies to tackle the issue of a post-Kyoto Protocol strategy for the first time. The Protocol's initial commitment period, ratified by 163 States in an attempt to lower global energy emissions, expires in 2012.

Keeping fossil fuels available, realistically priced and environmentally friendly goes beyond what Governments alone are able to do. However, energy debates have nonetheless been plagued by regional strife, and cooperation is often elusive. The question of energy-specific regulations has been a contentious one for countries with high or rapidly rising industry levels, such as the United States, China and India. In 2001, the United States formally withdrew from the Protocol, citing the need for more country-specific guidelines. China has likewise refused to sign, worrying that the treaty does not take into account its energy needs as a rapidly developing nation and asserting that as the world's most populated State its emissions should be measured per capita. Both China and India contend that they will persist in requiring substantial energy supplies as they continue to develop.

Leading UN environmental bodies like the UNFCCC acknowledge that such divisions between industrialized and developing countries are a problem. Working under the principle of industrialized response, the Kyoto Protocol and other environmental agreements urge that industrialized nations lead the way in emissions reduction, while developing nations have only semi-voluntary participation standards. UNFCCC, however, has seen the conflict as an opportunity to launch radically progressive environmental and economic programmes, according to Hennig Wuester, Special Assistant to the UNFCCC Executive Secretary.

The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Protocol, for example, offers industrialized nations the chance to invest in the energy clean-up of developing nations and use this as credit towards their own emissions targets. Such projects create a cohesive global goal from what was once a series of detached regional problems. Indications are that these unifying incentives are working, said Mr. Wuester. The UNFCCC Secretariat estimates that CDM will reduce worldwide emissions by over 1 billion tonnes by the end of 2012--a success that will prove to be a great promoter of international cooperation. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Oil Matters: Economic and Environmental Prospects Hinge on Global Cooperation
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.