“It is unrealistic to expect individual nations to make, independently, the sacrifices necessary to conserve energy. International leadership and worldwide cooperation are essential if we expect to protect the world’s energy resources for future generations.” Discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the opinion stated above. Support your views with reasons and/or examples from your own experience, observations, or reading.
The statement asserts that international leadership in energy conservation is required for the world’s energy resources to be conserved for future generations and that individual nations are unable to do this on their own. I disagree with this statement. Firstly, individual nations have been driven to adopt energy conservation initiatives without international leadership; they will be motivated to do this simply to preserve energy for the benefit of their nation. Furthermore, often international leadership and worldwide cooperation fail to influence the entire world to conserve energy. Therefore, it is not unrealistic for individual nations to make sacrifices to conserve energy, and international leadership and worldwide cooperation is not always required.
Factors other than international leadership or world cooperation have driven individual nations to conserve energy. For example, most nations in Europe develop and use automobiles that are highly energy efficient. This is not the case worldwide. Such nations are motivated to conserve energy purely for the benefit of their own nation as they recognize that the earth’s resources are limited and must be conserved for future generations. Energy efficient transport in such nations is not just limited to automobiles but public transport as well. The governments and society in these individual nations have chosen to find ways to conserve energy, which proves that it is not unrealistic to expect the sacrifices necessary to conserve energy.
Although the goals of international energy conservations and other environmental initiatives are to encourage all nations of the world to conserve the earth’s resources, they often fail in reaching their objectives. For example, the Kyoto treaty was designed to reduce the world’s green house emissions and many countries have signed this treaty. However, the United States refuses to enter the treaty as it believes that following the Kyoto protocol will have negative ramifications on the economy due to loss of jobs and other consequences. In turn, Australia refuses to sign the treaty unless all developed nations are involved, its view being that it will be unable to remain competitive if its energy consumption is limited whilst its competitors will not have such impositions placed on them. McDonalds is an example of a food chain, with franchises in many countries that strives to conserve energy. It has adopted the use of energy saving lights and has tested, only in the United States, 5 advanced energy saving restaurants. Although, this is a great accomplishment for energy conservation, this has not led franchises within other countries to follow suit. These examples show how international leadership is not always able to induce the nations of the world to conserve energy.
In conclusion, it is not unrealistic to expect individual nations to make the sacrifices necessary to conserve energy. Furthermore, international leadership and worldwide cooperation that aims to promote energy conservation does not always succeed in finding support from all nations of the world. Therefore such initiatives cannot be relied upon to persuade individual nations to conserve energy and that it still possible to achieve energy conservation without international leadership.