t f

Problem 4

Disagreement on responsibility between the developed and developing world to transform the way energy is produced and used.

Problem Dimensions

Perception of Equity

“Perception of equity”[1] allow stakeholders to use differing metrics of GHG emissions (for example per capita, GDP, or historic basis) to deflect the responsibility of controlling emissions.

  • · The standard of living found in developed nations is built on fossil fuel consumption. Developing nations strive to attain this lifestyle but are pressured to develop in more sustainable ways.
  • · The world’s largest GHG emitters, in developed and developing nations, seek to escape the Kyoto Protocol. Without joint participation and enforcement the initiative loses its meaning.[2]

Self-Serving Behaviour

Each nation seeks to maximize the benefits of its residents while climate change requires “mega collective action.”[3]

  • Everyone benefits from regulations that lower GHG emissions. But nations which implement regulations like carbon taxes place their producers at a disadvantage – prices of commodities increase and are therefore unpopular.

Mixed Opinions by Experts

Conflict of interest between experts and stakeholders creates uncertainty regarding which initiatives to implement.[4]

  • E.g. Perceptions of nuclear energy.[5]

Differing Regional Challenges and Needs

Drivers towards sustainable energy systems vary by region:[6]

  • North America – Energy Security
  • Europe – Climate Change protection
  • Developing Nations – Benefits of Energy Services

Regions plagued by Energy Poverty have the softest voices on the international stage.

  • 2 billion people have either intermittent or non-existent supplies of electricity.[7]
    • Delivering technological solutions to these populations may not be profitable for firms.



Conventional Solutions

For developed nations it is essential to lead by example and develop towards a more renewable energy mix.

  • The right incentives and regulations must be in place to work towards a more sustainable economy.
  • Accomplishing this will show that a certain lifestyle can be maintained while prioritizing climate change protection.

Developing nations must take a similar role to ensure that their new infrastructure is sustainable.

  • Developed nations can provide financial and technological incentives to developing nations.
  • E.g. Microfinancing can assist in localized development of sustainable energy distribution.[8]

Stakeholders can collaborate to alter producer practices to circumvent slow-moving regulatory bodies.

  • Many goods consumed by markets in developed nations are manufactured in developing nations. International firms can become inter-regional channels of change.
    • E.g. Walmart mandated its global supply chain go green.
  • Consumers must demand carbon footprint labelling of all products using internationally standardized Life-Cycle Assessment criteria.
    • Products will then reflect their environmental impact and energy use from raw material extraction to the end of their useful lives.
    • Many products will have negative energy return on investment but it does not mean they don’t have value as well.[9]
  • International firms can:
    • Conduct energy retrofitting of all existing stocks of capital.
    • Micro-finance clean-tech in developing nations as part of an offset program.
  • NGOs can utilize civil action to:
    • Alter consumer preferences.
    • Leverage public opinion to influence the actions of producers and policy makers.
Progressive Solutions

Form a league that partners post-secondary institutions from developed and developing nations. Partnered institutions compete against each other to reduce the most GHG emissions annually and/or implement clean energy solutions.

  • Winning team gets free energy retrofits so that their schools can run fully on renewable energy and tuition fees are lowered by the cost savings.
  • Generates collaborative action towards common goals while acknowledging the need for global collective action.

International mechanisms that enforce Kyoto Protocol targets would prompt policy makers to regulate GHG emissions and promote renewables.[10]

  1. [1] Dr. Mark Jaccard, Professor of the School of Resource and Environment Management at Simon Fraser University and Keynote Speaker at ISES 2011.
  2. [2] Expanded in Problem 5.
  3. [3] Dr. Mark Jaccard, Professor of the School of Resource and Environment Management at Simon Fraser University and Keynote Speaker at ISES 2011.   
  4. [4]   Expanded in Problem 5.
  5. [5] Expanded in Problem 6.
  6. [6] Read Dr. Ralph Sims’ Insights
  7. [7] Scott Tudman, President and Co-Founder of Energy in Common and Keynote Speaker at ISES 2011.
  8. [8] Scott Tudman, President and Co-Founder of Energy in Common and Keynote Speaker at ISES 2011.
  9. [9] Dr. Andrew Leach, Assistant Professor of Energy and Environment at Alberta School of Business and moderator at multiple sessions at ISES 2011.
  10. [10] Explainded in Problem 5.


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