Rising Global Challenges in Energy Demand and the Politics of Climate Change in Government Operations: Policy and Economic Development Implications

Rising Global Challenges in Energy Demand and the Politics of Climate Change in Government Operations: Policy and Economic Development Implications

Sharon Nanyongo Njie, Ikedinachi Ayodele Power Wogu, Uchenna Kingsley Ogbuehi, Sanjay Misra, Oluwakemi Deborah Udoh
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-4978-0.ch013
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While most governments subscribe to boosting global energy supplies since it paves the way for improved economies, which translates to better living conditions and gainful employments which in turn boost government operations, the rising global demand for energy from all human endeavors have activated unparalleled consequences on the environment, resulting to harmful repercussions for government operations and processes all over the world. Hence, scholars argue that the rising demand for global energy by industrialized nations have further increased the vulnerability of governments' operations and processes, especially in countries where these energy sources abound. Consequently, governments, multinationals, and various interest groups are divided on how best to address the quandaries resulting from rising global demand for energy and its effect on the environment and government operations. Recommendations that would enhance government operations were proposed.
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Background to the Study

Recently held world global summits and conference sessions on the poor handling of rising climate change and global energy issues by advanced governments’ (Hultman, 2018; IEA, 2019; Stevens, 2019; BBC, 2020 and World Economic Forum, 2020), revealed that there is a divide amongst most scholars and government officials who argue for the need to boost global energy supply for industrialized nations at all cost, (BBC, 2020; IEA, 2019 and Stevens; 2019) because this action precipitates development for economies, which in turn, translates to gainful employment and better living conditions for millions of individuals and groups all over the world. On the other hand, there are scholars and government officials (The Open University [TOU], 2018; Stevens, 2019; IEA, 2019b and Clemente, 2020) who feel that the challenges arising from increasing global demand for energy from various sectors of life’s endeavor, poses serious policy and economic development implications on the global environment of certain polities and on the governments of affected nations. This factor is observed to account for the poor operations of most governments around the globe.

Consequent on this view, there are scholars and scientists (Funk & Kennedy, 2016; The Hamilton Project, 2019 and Nunn, O’Donnell, Shambaugh, Goulder & Kolstad, 2019) who argued that the rising demand for global energy by industrialized nations has drastically altered the operations of most governments thus, increasing the vulnerability of individuals in countries where these energy and mineral resources abound. Hence, other recent studies on rising climate change and global energy demand (Hultman, 2018; Kamarch, 2019 and The Hamilton Project, 2019) revealed that high-level politicking amongst government officials, multinationals, scholars and various interest groups are now at crossroads regarding what suitable policies should apply towards addressing the dilemmas arising from the increasing demand for global energy and its direct effect on the environment and on government operations.

A study by Pew Research Center (Funk & Kennedy, 2016) adds credence to the existence of polarized views which now abound regarding what opinions climate researchers, scientists, politicians, and government officials are willing and disposed to accept in this decade. A case in point was presented in 2017 when Scott Morrison, during a session in the Australian Parliament, compelled his fellow legislators to embrace fossil fuel as the next way forward for development when he brandished a lump of coal halfway during a parliamentary session. While the left-winged members of the parliament scoffed him for his proposal, Mr. Morrison and his party had the last laugh later that season. The decision of his party to hinge their politics on climate campaign resulted in his miraculous victory in the elections that followed afterward in the year 2018, which saw him emerging as Australia’s Prime Minister. This goes a long way to show how elections hinged on climate change in North America, Europe, and other parts of the world can swing votes in the favor of those who can convince their electorates about the need and relevance for boosting and increasing the energy demand.

Research Problem

The under-listed specific problems constitute some of the reasons that motivated the writing of this research:

  • 1.

    Alarming reports abound from reputable research centers and organizations (IEA, 2019; The Hamilton Project, 2019 and World Economic Forum, 2020) which indicates that the world in its present form has nearly gone beyond redemption from the total catastrophe that is set to hit her soon as a result of rapid and unprecedented climate change taking place in the globe.

  • 2.

    Government officials and the electorates of the 21st century largely apear to be polarized on issues concerning the need to preserve the environment from further degradation, against those insisting on the need to further diversify and identify new areas and sources for extracting more energy at all cost (Kamarch. 2019; Rachman, 2019 and Nunn, O'Donnell, Shambaugh, Goulder & Kolstad. 2019), irrespective of the consequences these political decisions and activities may exert on government processes, the environment, and mankind generally.

  • 3.

    Consistent efforts and measures towards addressing the rising cases of environmental hazards arising from rapid global climate change (Cohen, 2019; Hultman, 2018; Rachman, 2019; Vidal, 2019 and Victor, 2019) by government and all the relevant agencies, seems to be grossly unproductive or inadequate.

Key Terms in this Chapter

GHG Emission: The term in this chapter is used to refer to gases like methane, carbon dioxide, and water vapor which absorbs infrared radiation from the earth’s atmosphere and reradiate it back to the earth' surface, an action which is known to have hazardous consequences (greenhouse effect) on the earth’s environment and energy consumption.

Climate Change: The term in this chapter is used to refer to those significant changes in wind patterns, global temperature, and other measures and forms of climate that often occur over a long period. The emphasis in this chapter was made on climate changes that arise as a result of the excessive quantity of carbon dioxide which is emitted into the earth's atmosphere.

Government Operations: The term in this chapter refers to the political authority by which a group of elected or selected persons exercises certain authorities over the actions and affairs of a people in a given polity while carrying out certain functions on their behalf.

Global Challenges: The term in this chapter is used to refer to the various major problems that constitute a hindrance to the actualization of some of the earth's fundamental needs such as the problem of climate change, healthcare issues, globalization, and the future of the internet.

Global Energy: In this chapter, the term global energy is used to refer to the total of every type of energy utilized or produced by the entire human civilization.

Economic Development: The term in this chapter is used to refer to the measured increase in the output of a country concerning the socio-political welfare of the individuals living in a given geopolitical area.

Energy Demand: The term in this chapter is used to refer to the quantity of energy required and consumed by both individuals and industries for the day to day running of life’s activity around the globe. This demand is believed to influence the socio-economic status of individuals and systems in any given polity.

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