Social and economical benefits can be part of our climate commitment
by Stephanie Cabovianco
2015 is a critical year in the world of climate change. By December, the world is due to agree not only on a globally inclusive legal framework to address climate change over the next 15 years, but also on how we’re going to develop in general.
This important agreement on climate change will be set in Paris this December. Before this happens though, all countries are setting until October their long term climate action commitments, known as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), and should be done in a clear, transparent and understandable way for everyone. The global goal? According to the world’s smartest scientists, we need to achieve 100% renewable energy supply by the year 2050.
In order to accelerate government decisions in that direction, last month many national organizations joined other 30 environmental organizations from different parts of Latin America in a FARN’s initiative to demand a participative process, so the national climate commitments can be open to the community.
There are also good initiatives in Chile and Mexico, which are driving a consultation work in coordination with the civil society. However, many organizations involved emphasize that while the consultations are necessary are not sufficient, and demand the evidence submitted to be actually included in the contributions.
Argentina is one of the largest economies in South America, and also one its major greenhouse gas emitters. However, Argentina has exceptional conditions to produce wind and solar energy, both at the residential and industrial level. Throughout our marvelous coast, solar energy has the chance to flourish, and 70% of the country is suitable for wind energy.
Despite this, our economy is strongly based on fossil fuels and is still depending on energy importation. Fossil fuels are a dense form of ancient energy, and they took millions of years to become so. Their use is not only causing temperature imbalances in the world (with the consequences it entails), other problem of depending on this type of energy is that they won’t last forever.
Nowadays the national imports in the country exceed an annual US$ 5.5 billion budget in natural gas. On average, we spend more than US$ 13 billion to bring in fossil fuels each year.
In this context, only 1.4% of the electricity came from renewable sources in 2013 (it haven’t change that much), despite we have a national law that states this contribution should reach 8% in 2016. We also need to set more ambitious goals and create favorable conditions to achieve clean energy self-sufficiency. So shifting to renewable energy not only improves our climate change perspective, but could it also mean important savings in energy supply?
Colombia, Uruguay and Chile are all great examples for all the region. They have developed their renewable energy sectors extremely quickly, and have enjoyed considerable outside support in foreign investments.
Asking for climate finance from developed countries could empower the creation of clear long-term policies and the design of a national action plan. Currently, although there are related national laws (for native forests, glaciers and renewable energy), they have either a history of weak implementation, a downward trend in their budget, or worse still, a total lack of one.
Subsequently the educational system, the labor market, the public finance and the expenditure prioritization decisions need to be addressed over the long term. While this -emerging- long term sustainable view takes place, some financial support from developed countries may be available to develop renewable energy across Argentina, and that should be taken into account at the time we present our commitments.
All this means that the climate change matter requires an important cultural change from us, as we tend to act reactively after things happen. It’s time to use the available information and be proactive. Now is the moment. Join climate action!
Check out some organizations you can work with to tackle climate change in Argentina:
– APrA (Agencia de Protección Ambiental)
– Banco de Bosques
– Colectando Sol
– Escuelas Verdes
– Fundación Biósfera
– Fundación Energizar
– Fundación Sustentator
– Fundación Tierravida
– La BioGuía
– Los Verdes
– Movimiento Agua y Juventud
– +O2 Ingeniería
– RAMCC (Red Argentina de Municipios frente al Cambio Climático)