Soapbox: publisher's perspective |

Should We Be Worried?

Soapbox: Publisher's Perspective | 22 July 2022

We are all already worried about the future of the whole planet, after the (many) UN Climate Reports and COP26 and a thousand scientists research papers etc etc and so we should be, says publisher Alistair Speirs. We are just not making enough effort to make drastic and lasting change, and at the same time still pursuing the same industrial, commercial and resource-based activities without a thought about anything but recovery, and by that we mean economic recovery, not climate recovery! 

Our leaders, world-wide, are not really leaders, but elected officials who have, for the most part, personal and political agendas which are not in line with the aspirations of their people, and are not making the much-needed decisions to change things before its too late. And here we come back to the same old problem, money politics. 

In Indonesia, the amount of money being made out of coal and plantation-based products (mostly palm oil) is simply enormous, I mean far, far, more than the government can ignore if it wants to keep a healthy balance of payments. But that very success is the reason that no-one wants to give it up – especially the few families who control most of the wealth and whose influence is there very strong. So where does that leave us? Have a look at this Massachusetts Institute of Technology Index which shows the progress of 74 of the world’s countries in their pursuit of a low carbon future. 

The top end is pretty much occupied by Europe and Japan, plus Canada and amazingly Costa Rica. Then we get into those who are trying hard, and making progress, which includes USA and China. Then we get a bit depressed at the third list who are not making progress which include India, Mexico and the Middle East Countries. Then we get to the laggards which does not make good reading especially when we get to Indonesia in position 70 out of 74. 

Is this correct? If it is we need to a be very ashamed, then we need to start fulfilling the pledges we have made at COP26 and make the changes which will preserve the very country we say we love. Preserving the profits of already very rich businessmen is not the way forward. And proclaiming ourselves as leading member of G20 when we are 70th on this list is really a very sad thing to do. 

The members of the G20 and their ranking are: Argentina 68 (also not good), Australia 52, Brazil 34, Canada15, China,26, France 7, Germany 8, India 42, Indonesia 70, Italy 17, Japan 19, Republic of Korea 10, Mexico 54, Russia 64 (not a surprise), Saudi Arabia 51, South Africa 31, Turkey 69, the United Kingdom 4, the United States 21and the European Union. So we are the very bottom of the G20. 

We have the money to make sports stadiums as big as the biggest in the world, and Moto GP and Formula E tracks to bring the world’s racers here, so that shows we have the cash and the technology for very modern construction and the organisational ability to make these things come to life, but once again, are these the priorities in a country swamped with garbage, running out of water, and suffering the worst air pollution in the world ( again in June 22)? I think not.

Our children’s future is at stake and this chart fills me with great sadness. I hope you too.