Visionary Politics: Saving the Environment for Future Generations



Political leaders have a key role to play in developing and taking action to combat the world environmental degradation, according to a recent survey of 1,350 professionals in position to make or influence large climate-related decisions in their governments, companies, or other organizations across 120 countries.

The performance of key actors – particularly national governments – has been inadequate to date with rhetoric at much feted climatic conferences over-dominating action states the survey.

Respondents in the survey conducted by the GlobeScan for the World Bank, The World Conservation Union (IUCN), and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), noted that there is currently little consensus on solutions to climate change.

In many parts of the world, the destruction of the environment is a daily reality in spite of the numerous statements that have been made about the terrible state of the environment.

But visionary political leadership can indeed influence a paradigm shift that can promote better treatment of the environment through requisite legal and policy mechanisms, but most importantly through political text that highlights the urgency of the matter followed by action.

As Kenyan Nobel Peace Laureate Wangari Maathai succinctly puts it the generation that destroys the environment may not be the one that pays the prize.

It is the future generations that will confront the consequences of today’s destructive activities of the current generation, she says.

Halting the destruction of the environment for the sake of future generations takes peering into the future so that we are able to truly perceive the impact of our actions. In that respect, leadership can be a powerful force to direct the behavior of nations toward the accomplishment of some common environmental objectives.

The survey showed strong and consistent views that government leaders worldwide need to act quickly and agree on a set of clear, inclusive, and long-term policies in order to put climate solutions in place.

The survey sought the views of 1,350 professionals in position to make or influence large climate-related decisions in their governments, companies, or other organizations across 120 countries.

According to the survey, decision makers are most in need of political support, policy development, and regulatory clarity in order to implement climate change solutions

Respondents gave high ratings to four elements that leaders need to prioritize in order to achieve a global impact on the environment, and these include: a) the inclusion of all major carbon-emitting countries; b) a commitment by wealthy countries to provide aid and technology transfer to assist developing countries to meet targets; c) legally binding targets for each signatory country; d) different types of commitments based on countries’ stages of development.

“After the need for policy development, respondents pointed to technology as key, particularly in seizing the many opportunities they see in the areas of energy demand management and energy efficiency,” states the report.

“They saw the current generation of bio-fuels production from food crops as the least promising of 18 rated technologies for reducing greenhouse emissions “without unacceptable side-effects.” Current nuclear technology also received a low rating,” adds the report.

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