“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.
Energy conservation has of late become a hot topic of conversation as there are fears that we may soon deplete all the world’s natural resources and leave nothing for future generations. In this conversation, the debate is whether individual nations should be expected to sacrifice on their own accord in order to conserve energy or whether international co-operation is required. I believe that it is unreasonable to expect nations to act independently because of several reasons – one, because not all nations may have the knowledge and ability to conserve energy and second, because any nation would not want to sacrifice if other nations are not doing the same. Furthermore, some nations are heavier users of energy than others and it is necessary to ensure that all such nations are cutting back on energy use as well.
The first reason that nations cannot be expected to act independently is that not all nations have the same level of awareness about the energy issues that could potentially affect our planet. While energy conservation has been popular in the more developed nations such as United States and Western Europe, several countries in other parts of the world are not educated about the issue. In fact, the less developed are more concerned with advancing their economies, and often times that comes with the cost of higher use of energy. An organized worldwide body would be able to measure such competing demands and reduce the demand on developing countries to reduce energy consumption at the expense of their economic growth.
Another reason for international leadership for energy conservation is that without some form of agreed upon worldwide co-operation, many countries may be hesitant to reduce energy consumption. This behavior arises from a selfish aspect of the human race, but one that is nonetheless existent. Countries would be less willing to sacrifice for the sake of future generations if they see that all other countries are not following suit. In such cases, some form of leadership is required to ensure that all countries are pursuing the same goal. An example can be seen in the case of oil production – The OPEC is an example of an organization that has a defined purpose that provides assurances that all member countries will act to further the goal of the organization, and penalties will be imposed if they do not. This allows increased co-operation among the countries.
Perhaps the most important reason for requiring all nations to co-operate is that some countries make up an unusually large proportion of the world’s energy consumption. For example, the United States, uses much more energy per capita than most countries in the world. In such a case of skewed energy consumption, a nation that uses very little energy cannot make much of an impact even if it does independently decide to reduce energy consumption. We require an organization to take control of this important issue and have all countries come to a common solution, and if required, impose conservation upon high energy consuming countries.
In conclusion, while there are reasons to be made for both side of the argument, it can be seen from the above-mentioned reasons that we cannot depend on countries to act independently to conserve energy. Not only are several countries not sufficiently aware of the great danger of depleting our resources and its impact on future generations, they would also be less inclined to act even if they did know if they could not be assured that other countries would act in the same way. Furthermore, since some countries are bigger culprits in energy consumption, some form of international leadership is required. Thus, there is a greater case to be made for international leadership and worldwide co-operation to ensure that energy is conserved for the benefit of our future generations.
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