By Jan Arden
There is no doubt that the global challenges and threats posed by climate change deserve the full attention of world leaders assembled almost simultaneously at the COP27 in Egypt and the G20 in Bali, Indonesia. The Egyptian presidency has stated that scientists assessing the nature and climate crises have repeatedly concluded that “this decade represents a critical window for tackling interdependent biodiversity, land degradation and climate crises”.
While today many rising economies included under BRICS have been unleashing their own catch-up development plans over the past few decades and are consequently under pressure to reduce their carbon footprint, they can legitimately claim that the developed world has used the fossil resources of the planet for centuries since the Industrial Revolution without paying its fair price and with the accumulated effects on the environment and global warming which are now so intractable.
The questions that have remained relate to:
– what carbon-emission reduction objectives are being set and adhered to by individual countries,
– the highly technical and scientific issues of how to shift away from fossil-fuel technologies and the critical questions of who finances the much-needed corrective measures, and
– what mega-conglomerates and corporate private sector in general should contribute to the global effort?
Mauritius, as a small island state, is particularly vulnerable to a rise in seawater levels and any changes in global salinity that might erode our coral reef barrier and our pristine beaches if the arctic and Antarctica ice-covers start to melt away. A third level of uncertainty concerns global warming effects on climate changes, rainfall patterns and the frequency or intensity of cyclones in the South-West Indian Ocean that may have concomitant effects on droughts and floods, agriculture, food production and general economic development.
Government cannot pretend to discover these problems today or send its Environment Minister to Sharm El Sheikh, as the issues have been canvassed for at least two decades and strategic plans worked out particularly around the ‘Maurice Ile Durable’ concept and the consequential action plan that emerged after large-scale consultations with all NGOs, concerned citizens and all relevant parties were held by the previous political regime. Entrusted by Navin Ramgoolam, expatriate Mauritian consultant Joel de Rosnay and Osman Mohamed played key roles in charting the way forward on such a complex but vital multi-departmental issue (including the CEB and the private power producers) which should have remained above petty partisan politics. The plan was neither perfect nor cast in stone and could have been updated regularly, but it probably offered the best cadre for concerted action covering several ministries and key agencies like the CEB.
Sadly, the work done and the MID Commission were both scrapped immediately after the 2014 general elections and the term itself became politically banned as the current regime addressed other priorities of its own. Today, with the siphoning of all CEB’s accumulated reserves towards government’s general coffers, the wasted monies in CEB subsidiaries and Terragen’s refusal to continue generating electricity for the national grid for unknown reasons, which even a meeting with the PM could not resolve, observers more knowledgeable about the security of our power supply during the upcoming peak summer period and the general public are legitimately concerned. Read More… Become a Subscriber
Mauritius Times ePaper Friday 18 November 2022
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