Why Investing in Green Technologies is Worthwhile if You Really Want to Solve the Problem
Earth was doing just fine at first until humans discovered ingenious ways of improving the way of life. After several decades of exploiting Earth’s natural resources, we are now facing the effects of climate change.
Increased rainfall leading to floodings.
Hotter summers and colder winters.
Rising sea levels.
Widespread infection of diseases.
Water shortage and food scarcity.
Like a body experiencing organ malfunctions, these effects are just symptoms of the bigger problem. To treat these symptoms, we have to look at the root cause of the problem — greenhouse gas emissions from man-made activities.
But here’s the ironic thing.
The third world countries (also called developing countries) are the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change despite being the least contributors to global warming.
Why? Because in the unjust world, the ideal targets for bringing down a system (or in this case, the human race) lie in the weakest link.
So even if the first world countries are more responsible for global warming with their immense contribution to the world’s GHG emissions, they have ample resources to cope up with climate change anyway. But third world countries are not so lucky. In terms of survival, chances are very low.
We can’t win over climate change if we don’t approach it with a collective global effort. So if we truly want to treat the effects of climate change, we start reinforcing the weakest links. Otherwise, it’s a messy domino effect.
Developing Countries are the Most Vulnerable to Climate Change Effects
The least vulnerable countries to the effects of climate change are the U.S.A, Canada, Chile, and most parts of Europe. Meanwhile, the most vulnerable countries are in Asia, particularly in the Southeast region, and parts of Africa. Indeed, most of the developing countries come from Asia and Africa.
Now, let’s compare it to the global share of carbon dioxide emissions.
Asia and Africa have the least contributions with less than 2% of the global CO2 emissions. The exceptions are China and India, which are still developing nations. Europe seems to be in the best position considering they have lesser CO2 emissions and they’re also one of the least vulnerable to climate change.
According to the World Bank, least developed nations will experience 75 to 80% of the climate change effects. In contrast, 70% of the GHG emissions that caused global warming in the first place were produced by the richest 20% of the world’s population. Nobody ever said life was fair.
We should focus our solutions on third world countries because these nations can’t afford to recover, let alone face, the impacts of climate change.
How Is Global Warming Affecting the Third World Countries?
Global warming which leads to climate change effects is already happening. Here’s how it’s affecting the most vulnerable nations:
According to the World Health Organization, warmer temperatures will increase the likelihood of an additional 250,000 deaths per year from diseases like malaria between 2030 to 2050. Third world countries have zero to limited healthcare systems. It’s a major factor why diseases like a malaria outbreak occur in Africa.
Not to generalize, but some poor countries are left to treat diseases using traditional medicine. In cases where hospitals in the cities can provide decent healthcare, the poor don’t have health insurance. Unfortunately, the poor die first because of poverty even though the diseases are treatable.
Flooding and Drought
Because of geographical locations, Africa is more susceptible to prolonged droughts while Asia to heavy rainfalls. When these natural disasters affect livelihood, agriculture, and properties, it will push these nations further into poverty.
Moreover, developing countries have limited resources dedicated to the research on advanced technologies for disaster response and resiliency programs. Flood control systems, weather signals, and agriculture technologies have to be sourced out from developed countries.
Droughts and floods will affect agriculture. People will clamor for food resources as food production drops because of seasonal unreliability. According to the World Bank, when a major food crisis will happen because of global warming, the most affected parts of the globe will be Sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia.
Despite water covering the Earth’s surface by about 70%, some parts of the world are still facing water shortages. That’s because just 3% of Earth’s water is freshwater, in which only 1.2% of it is drinkable. According to National Geographic, the rest of the potable water is in glaciers, ice, or located deep in the ground.
Humans can go on for days without food, but not water. So during droughts in the desert or El Nino in tropical countries, it’s more challenging to find water resources.
When unsustainable practices of humans go unchecked, it’s at the expense of the animals, forest, and fauna. When global temperatures go up, the oceans and seas absorb the heat in an attempt to cool down the Earth. And when the waters get too warm, it’s unable to absorb oxygen which cuts life off the marine ecosystem. Considering the Earth’s bodies of water are life sources for the species above ground, you can imagine the messy domino effect.
Solution: Green Investment Initiatives
We already know that green technologies are the solution to global warming. Humans can continue improving the way of life through sustainable means. But if we truly want to solve the problem, we have to focus green investments on the mitigation of climate change effects in third world countries.
Here are some green investment initiatives around the world:
#1 Canada’s $2.65B Climate Finance Pledge
Canada is one of the sizable contributors to CO2 emissions globally. But it is with their moral responsibility that they’re financing the most vulnerable nations. About $1.5B of this Climate Finance Pledge, which was paid in full in March 2021, will be invested in:
- Clean energy technologies
- Sustainable agricultural and forestry technologies
- Watershed management
- Climate resilience
As of April 2019, the geographic distribution of the $2.65 billion goes to Sub-Saharan Africa (39%), Asia-Pacific (30%), Latin America (21%), Europe & Middle East (4%), and the rest of the world (6%).
#2 Feed The Future by the U.S. Government’s Global Hunger and Food Security Initiative
This investment focuses on improving food resilience in developing countries through agriculture and nutrition. Some of their target countries are located in Africa such as Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Ghana, Kenya, etc. From 2011 to 2019, about $3.5 billion was spent on financing food security
#3 Invest4Climate by the World Bank and the United Nations Development Program
Two years after the Paris Agreement, the World Bank and the UNDP co-launched the Invest4Climate initiative in 2017. The main purpose is to mobilize, coordinate and deliver solutions with public and private financial institutions to bridge the climate investment gap. Among its target solutions are:
- Resilient coastal investments for the management of coastal erosion and flooding in West Africa
- Climate risk insurance in the Philippines to enhance disaster response and recovery programs
- Replace unsustainable practices like deforestation with climate-smart agriculture
- City Resilience Program for the financing of the most vulnerable cities during times of climate disasters
- Investments in electric vehicles for sustainable mobility
- Help Ethiopian coffee farmers with their resiliency to climate change
- Early climate warning systems across Africa
- Launching green bonds to pool funds for climate mitigation projects
- Carbon pricing policy-making among global leaders
- Financing a 750-ultra mega solar power plant for New Delhi’s metro rail system
- Geothermal energy facility investments in Indonesia
- Improving energy efficiency in India
#4 SERVIR by NASA and USAID
Through a joint project between NASA and USAID, SERVIR aims to use advanced technologies in satellite data to better prepare more than 45 countries when it comes to extreme weather that leads to natural disasters. With the help of SERVIR, Kenya was able to reduce crop damage from frost by 40%, Laos improved its flood response after a burst dam, and Bangladesh came more prepared with the early flooding signals. This project will reduce casualties and speed up recovery in developing countries.
Since 2010, the Green Climate Fund is a collective effort among 194 governments to reduce GHG emissions in developing countries. Although most developing countries do not significantly contribute to global warming, China and India are the biggest exceptions. Although China has been leading in the emerging clean energy technologies, it has a lot to make up for considering it’s still the biggest air polluter in the world.
The fund also aims to support the most vulnerable countries against the negative effects of climate change. With its diverse portfolio, the Green Climate Fund addresses all sectors with over 170 projects equivalent to about $33.2 billion.
#6 The Global Climate Change Alliance Plus by the European Union
The GCCA+ is a climate change fund program by the EU members that help the least developed countries improve their resiliency to the effects of climate change. With over €750 million from 2007 to 2020 through 80 national programs, the GCAA+ supports countries in Africa, Asia, Caribbean, and Pacific regions across different sectors.
After all, we only have one planet to live on thus far. So whether we like it or not, we need everyone’s help to solve the problems of climate change and hopefully reverse global warming. Let’s not go far from the current circumstance that we’re in right now. If the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed anything, it’s that we are interconnected no matter how big the world is.
While green technology trends are good for the environment, the more efficient strategy of solving the climate change problem is to help the most vulnerable nations. It’s time to move on from pointing fingers, and start being accountable for each other’s actions.