The United Nations Climate Change Conference will take place in Paris starting 30th of November. Many Countries are expected to pledge the reduction of CO2 emission, how each country will achieve the UN goals set to start in 2020 is not yet clear.
During the Durban conference last month, several countries have submitted their plans on how they will reduce carbon emissions by after 2020. 30 countries including Norway, Gabon Russia and the U.S. have joined the group of nations that will fund technologies and subsidies private plans.
But how effective are these plans? And how did they work until now?
There are 3 major ways for a nation to reduce it’s carbon emissions
The first is subsidizing private companies to build green energy plants. These include Solar farms, wind farms, hydroelectric plants and more.
But this does not always have the wanted Environmentally friendly effect the programs were created to generate.
Hydroelectric plants , especially the ones situated along small rivers, require all the river water to be funneled through a pipe thus creating pressure that becomes energy. However this changes the ecosystem itself, cuts animal access to water, destroys algae and other plants on the riverbed and kills the fish habitat.
So instead of creating a more environmentally friendly way of producing energy, sometimes hydroelectric plants are subsidies for doing the exact opposite.
Wind Farms have been known to be build in unsuitable areas and so have solar farms.
Both require constant flows of air or solar heat, and unless these requirements are met, subsidizing them is not effective as cost to production value.
In some cases privately owned companies are more interested in building these production plants regardless of location since the subsidies on the equipment and power generated make a profit anyway.
The problem is that they make a profit only for the private enterprises, and not for the Country that financed the project or the environment.
The Second major way to reduce CO2 emissions a Nation can employ is through the use of Green Certificates.
Green Certificates are a tradable commodity that prove that a certain amount of electricity was produced using green technologies.
Polluting industries can buy these certificates sometimes in order to be allowed to raise their maximum pollution quotas allowed by a governmental agency. In short if you have a pollution creating factory the buy of Green Certificates allows you to continue polluting by taking the money you spent buying the certificate and investing it in the environment.
This is not very effective neither in reducing Co2 emissions nor on maintaining a balanced budget. In the end Industries continue polluting and the state ends up paying for it by subsidizing the green energy producers.
The third major approach to reducing nationwide CO2 emissions is by Education. By enticing people to throw away less, to recycle and to engage in environmental practices you can reduce the need for energy and material imports, thus reducing the need for combustible fuels.
For example through education you can tech people to waste less paper or water or plastics. This means less trees cut, less water treatment plants , les energy use and less waste.
This is the only sure way to reduce CO2 emissions with low costs and low negative impact on the economy. It can also ensure that environmental practices do not need to be enforced by the state, but are rather a common civil agreement between citizens.
Image Source: globalwarmingcrusade.com