The real question is, “Do we really want to educate underdeveloped countries to follow the lead in environmental destruction and cause them to become dependent on volatile sources of foreign oil at a time when world oil production has peaked and is beginning to decline?”
There is no doubt that developed countries should own up to their poor environmental policies (past and present) and practice what they are now beginning to preach. But at the same time, it would be a tragic mistake to teach underdeveloped countries how to pillage the environment for the sake of industrialization and progress. It’s not even a matter of hypocrisy at this point; rather, it’s providing underdeveloped nations with the tools and knowledge that we’ll all need in the forthcoming post-oil world.
But moreover, we should take into consideration the circumstances in which underdeveloped countries are being asked to go green. For example, people who live in remote villages where power lines cannot reach are finally able to obtain electricity through solar power. Electricity brings a renewed interest in education, which in turn aids in lifting entire populations out of poverty. And with education comes innovation, when people innovate new ways to make a better life for themselves and even help the environment at the same time.
Fossil fuel derived from petroleum has indeed been the underlying driver of the world’s economy for well over a century. But in the last fifty years, its use has skyrocketed and this has now caused numerous analysts and energy insiders to warn of dwindling supplies at a time when demand has increased significantly. Military battles for this critical resource have already broken out and will only grow more numerous as oil supplies diminish.
For countries seeking to develop, it is a matter of unfortunate timing. But this is where going green comes into the picture – and with recent technological advances in renewable energy production, it is possible for them to develop without creating a dependence on volatile foreign sources of petroleum which are soon to run out anyway. Therefore, the question would be one of prudence when asking underdeveloped nations to go green.
So long as industrialized countries focus on educating underdeveloped nations how to harness renewable energy (while at the same time providing them with the tools and equipment they need to go green), asking underdeveloped nations to go green is a far better choice for all.