The growing movement to stop climate change

Published October 15, 2020, 4:51 PM

by Manila Bulletin

One development arising from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is the huge drop in industrial activity around the world, as factories shut down, millions of cars stayed off the roads, and people stayed home in lockdowns ordered by governments to help stop the spread of the virus.

This year, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) led by Saudi Arabia and other oil-producing nations led by Russia slashed production by 90.7 million barrels per day (BPD), about 10 percent of the global supply.

But with the improving situation, OPEC expects world oil demand to rise in the next few years. It should jump to 97.7 million BPD next year, 2021, OPEC said. It should reach 99.8 million BPD in 2023, and grow to 102.6 million by 2024. World oil demand is expected to plateau in the late 2030s, then begin to decline.

Even as the world’s top oil suppliers assessed the situation resulting from the pandemic, a movement was launched by an international group concerned by the world climate crisis. It called on governments and citizens to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half over the next decade and get to net-zero carbon pollution by the year 2050.

The speakers at the TED (Technology-Entertainment-Design) event free-streamed around the world condemned firms that make fortunes from polluting fossil fuels; that would include the OPEC nations and companies. And they called on people to use their voting power to elect officials who prioritize stopping the climate crisis; that would reject United States President Donald Trump who has dismissed the claim that climate change is behind the fires now sweeping the US west.

Pope Francis added his voice to the movement to stop the increasing damage to the environment. The climate crisis is real and must be urgently confronted in ways that are socially just, he said. “The earth must be worked and nursed, cultivated and protected.”

The organizers of the event named “Countdown” set a goal of mobilizing governments and citizens to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half in the next decade and zero pollution by the year 2050. Last month, China President Xi Jinping surprised the world when he announced before the UN General Assembly that China will now start cutting its carbon emissions and end its net contribution to climate change by 2060.

These are among the more recent reports related to fossil fuels and climate change around the world. We in the Philippines recognize the tremendous difficulty of lessening our dependence on fossil fuels to run our industries, but we are doing our share through the development of renewable energy such as wind power and sunlight power farms.

 
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