I listened to an April 6 newscast in which it was reported that the oil and gas producing and selling giant Shell was advocating for carbon tax as a must for the country and for the world.
It was also reported that most such corporations in the world are not equally on board with Shell. It delighted me that Shell has come forward with this proposal. I am not going into the details or efficacy of the method of carbon taxing they subscribe to. My interest is in their willingness to open up the issue and admit that global warming is a reality and fossil fuels play the major role in it. That is a good beginning.
Many world corporations dealing with fossil fuels, including the pipeline companies and some national and provincial governments like Alberta, vehemently take positions for the continuing exploitation and promotion of fossil fuels. I believe that the intensity of some of these giants is because of their realization that this natural resource will be soon on the way out of the market because of its destructive effects, and before that happens, these entities want to make good of what they have under their ground. Hence, they are in a hurry and aggressive.
Their craze for making fast and easy money is just understandable. Short-sighted and short-lived politicians and profit oriented corporations cannot be easily persuaded away from such desire and their fight to achieve their goal at any cost. These two groups cannot but be mutual supporters. What the world needs today is real caliber men and women with statesmanship and courage of conviction at the decision points.
I feel that these multinational corporations and political decision makers have to think differently. The use of fossil fuels is definitely coming to an end. The cut off time fixed by concerned world leaders to reverse the trend of global warming is 2050, just 31 years away from that date. These corporations and the governments are amassing great wealth by way of huge profits, perquisites, and taxation.
Instead of misappropriating or siphoning these revenue for conspicuous consumption and irresponsible spending, the very same money could be diverted to slowly build up on alternate energy sources, which are available in plenty and the research in harnessing them are far advanced and within the means of these corporations and governments, provided they are willing to share the vision and take it up as a mission. They will be the prime beneficiaries of such diversification. First, they will not be out of business when fossil fuels will be out of currency, second, they may make the same or even greater level of profit, and finally the peoples of the world will have a safe and sustainable planet to live in.
The governments and the industry must take the lead to transform and redesign our systems and equipment of transportation, infrastructure, production, distribution, and storage techniques. Maybe business leaders, governments, technocrats, visionaries, etc., must put their heads together, revisit mega projects, and look at the advantages of diversification, and to a paradigm shift to smaller projects distributed into the rural and interior regions of the country whereby the need for long distance mobility is reduced except to tourism, public service businesses and visiting of distant relatives and friends. In other words, create to the maximum extent possible self-sufficient villages, municipalities, counties, provinces, and nations.
We need visionaries in the fields of social sciences, science and technology, software and communication techniques, capital management, people’s development, international development and cooperation. The ideologies of capitalism, socialism, liberalism, communism, to name a few, need to be revisited. The world needs to move to a new type of social and political organization. I may come up shortly with a crazy plan proposal for our small and beautiful P.E.I.
Rev. Dr. George Palamattam is associate pastor at St. Paul’s Parish in Summerside.