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Let`s not miss the party 

Published: 29/November/2019

Does the Yingli Chinese company scenario, the death and bankruptcy of an environmental bright light accurately reflect what`s really happening?

Maybe I am ignorant? but I have never heard of the company, Yingli, or know of their history. Yingli were listed on the US Stock exchange, they were worth millions, employed thousands and were one of China`s darlings. They are now no more.

I am sorry for my ignorance and I am sorry for the pain they must be experiencing in bankruptcy. I am also concerned for those who they owe money to, but what remains important, concerns the bigger picture. The facts that this company was once the pride of China and was at the forefront of global sustainability but it is now dead is surely of concern. Even the most conservative must inquire why it occurred and examine how this effects society?

The answer will differ and depend on the type of person you ask and the way that life has treated them. You will get a different answer from Sir David Attenborough to the tramp lady who trudges the footpath looking for cigarette butts.

Some people are on schoolies and don’t care because they are concentrating on having a good time and it`s their good fortune and turn, (they do live in the west after all). Others do care but can`t afford to do anything about it, the money just does not go far enough, I can`t justify not buying little Johney good food or presents for Christmas and if I do not drive, I will lose my job. Some people just don’t care, there will always be small minded loud, selfish obnoxious twats in this world.

Many think it’s the futures problem; why not? Are the facts even true? We have been lied to so many times, why do I have to stop enjoying myself because you tell me this time it is different?

A dichotomy, China has dubbed down its commitment towards the renewable energy sector creating much concern ahead of the next UN meeting. Lower demand is experienced in Baoding, a city just south of Beijing, nicknamed the “Power Valley” due to the number of solar manufacturers shrinking as a result of falling government subsidies for solar projects. The concern is the timing and the far reaching societal impacts.

During the first half of this year, China’s investment in renewable energy has fallen a whopping 39 per cent and both demand and supply reflects this. The recent US withdrawal from the Paris climate accord has increased attention on China, both the greenest country in the world, but also the most polluting. It applies more wind and solar power than anybody else, but it is also the world’s highest constructor of new coal plants. She is responsible for many million new coal (cheap power) consumers.

During 2018, Chinese emissions were at a record high representing more than half of the global increase in energy related CO2 emissions. In the next 12 months, the International Energy Agency forecast further emission growth, by another 3 per cent. What this all means is nicely summed up by Lord Turner of the Energy Transitions Commission “Everything is at stake for the planet, because the Chinese economy is so much bigger than any other.”

If China’s current pledge concerning CO2 emissions and a peak by 2030 is true and left unchallenged, Turner claims, “Let’s be clear, at that rate, we are on the path to climate disaster.”

Remember please two things, it is not just China who signed the Paris climate accord, and secondly, the world at large is responsible for the current climate challenge. But the reality surrounding the pledge to limit global warming to well below 2C is not achievable and currently the world is on track for 3C of global warming by the end of this century.

The outcome of these forecasts will be higher sea levels threatening more than 600 million people, according to a recent report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. (Strange that that number corresponds with the number of 600 million new power consumers from India and China. That a lot of 6`s, ne ne ne ne. (That`s meant to be an omenesque eerie song and should also explain the cheap power reference in brackets earlier!)

Five years ago, the Chinese economy was growing robustly and environmental policies were at the core of China`s economic transformation and movement away from energy intensive heavy industry. However, today, the economy is actually growing at its slowest rate since the early 1990s, and is responsible for a change in attitude. These sentiments are recognised by Mr. Tu, a local economist who explains “now, the highest political priority is trying to stabilise the economy”.

So, although China may have pledged that its carbon dioxide emissions will peak by 2030, that promise in reality, enables China to keep increasing its emissions for the next decade, at a time when every tree, every second counts.

Let`s hope we are not led by self-interested politicians and businessmen to a point of no return. I would rather be wrong then right and have my children or grandchildren unable to afford a ticket off the dying planet.

There remains hope but our consumption patterns may well define our history. If the trend continues overseas and is adopted locally, so that consumers only support those who operate ethically the planet will survive.

More expensive products and services, in the short run yes, until technology provides. Hardship on those developing countries potentially but that could be avoided if leading governments provided financial solutions with survival rather than cash profit as a motive.

Surely it is like the wise man once said, “there is no point being the richest man in the graveyard.”

I actually do believe the scaremongers this time. This is not a call for war where doing nothing was an option. There are so many people now. I believe we owe it to our children and or to our grandchildren to believe the levels of CO2 within the atmosphere are as high as the scientist’s report. We owe it to our future to understand the cause and effect of living.

It would be a great shame if we killed the golden goose because we could not be patient for technology, or we chose not to believe what was put in front of our faces. Hitler happened for a reason. Ignoring atmospheric CO2 would actually be worse than ignoring the little corporal. So are we to crack on thinking others will fix it and continue to justify cutting trees that removed CO2 from the atmosphere whilst we have no solution? or are we to help our leaders through supporting corporates who do the right thing and by supporting logic offered by leaders of honour.

Corporate Social Responsibility has started overseas. Let`s not be late to the party for the sake of one last dip in the pool or believing it is somebody else’s problem.