i want to talk now about policies. we keep harping on and on about the people in power and how they should enforce environmentally sensitive policies, that we rarely ever stop to think about what these policies really are, and how they impact our lives.
to have a policy, is to set a standard as a matter of principle. now, this is not specific to malaysia, but i think just about every country in the world could do with a heap more principles, especially where it comes to the environment. once a person, an organisation, a community or a country choses to adopt a policy, it goes on to outline measures on how this policy can be upheld. usually, policies will come with goals to achieve. the measures outlined therefore, serves to achieve these goals.
so far so good?
so now, the most famous policy that the world got together to formulate is the kyoto protocol. you’ve all heard about it. for a short while, there was a band named the kyoto protocol. but really, who many of you know what this is all about?
the kyoto protocol was formulated at a united nations conference in june 1992. according to the united nations framework convention on climate change, the protocol was intended to achieve stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.
the document, is legally binding and concerns four greenhouse gasses (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, sulphur hexafluoride), and two groups of gases (hydrofluorocarbons and perfluorocarbons). specifically, it targets annex1 (developed) countries, but also commits other member countries as well.
under kyoto, developed countries agreed to reduce their collective GHG emissions by 5.2% compared to the year 1990. so far, 183 counties have signed and ratified the treaty. one country (usa) has signed but does not intend to ratify the treaty. and 13 countries have no position expressed on this matter.
malaysia ratified the kyoto in september 2002.
so what does the kyoto expect its signatories to do? reduce GHG emissions. everyone works together to bring down world GHG levels. how? more environmentally friendly industries, industrial method and industrial materials.
of course, the controversy is, apa gunanya kita reduce our gasses when people like the usa continues to pollute and thereby canceling out our efforts? well, there are supposed to be measures in place to ‘punish’ counties like this. it is actually pretty impressive what countries can do when the gang up. well, its a threat la, and there is trade pressure on the usa for it.
but let’s come back down to where we are. what does a policy like this mean to us? it means, if we actually implement and enforce it properly, that our factories etc must maintain (because we’re a developing country) or reduce the level of gases we release into the atmosphere. reduce can. increase cannot. rightfully la. whether or not this is really happening, i will not comment.
but let’s look at a more micro level and face certain realities. recycled paper, is often more expensive than fresh paper. machines that guzzle fuel and releases smog is cheaper than machines that are environmentally sensitive. to drive to the shop is just so much more convenient than having to walk there. car pooling? recycling? the lines suddenly blur between what is cheap and easy versus what is clean and green (and possibly expensive).
unfortunately for us, almost all of us would heed on the side of economics, and could we really be blamed for it? especially during these economically unstable times? well, no. not for now for us, at least. we still have our reserve in trees and forests. what we must do therefore and however, is to ensure that we protect these green lungs of ours. reduce pollution. do not increase pollution.
for now, i said.
you see, this first phase of the kyoto protocol is to expire at the end of THIS YEAR. the super countries in the world are already beginning to outline a new policy to replace kyoto – one that will make the world’s reduction target even higher. so high, that it might even begin to stretch the developing countries. yes, eyes on copenhagen, denmark, this december. that is where we will find out.
so now, do we want these policies? policies that will make us greener, the hard way if need be? take the factories that pollute offline. or replace them with new clean technology – either way, this brings up the cost of things. policies that will force you to car pool. force you to recycle. force you to make your own compost in your back yard?
and that is where our clash of perspectives begin: what defines luxury? as a developing country with relatively low poverty rate, what’s luxury to you? is luxury having games and toys etc. or is luxury having a comfortable green life? if you had enough money after fulfilling your basic human need, would it be spent to buy toys, or being green?
if a normal notebook is RM5 and a notebook made with recycled paper is RM8, which would you choose?