United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
Alternate Energy for Developing and Developed Nations Statement of the Issue
As non-renewable energy sources continue to deplete with each passing year,
alternative sources of energy have grown in demand across the globe. Developed nations
have sought to increase research into new technologies and promote a greener, more
sustainable lifestyle as a way of combating the usage of fossil fuels for energy. The
necessity of industrialization for the majority of the world’s nations, along with the
stagnation that may result from an impoverished citizenry, has left most attempts for the adoption of new energy resources tabled. Experimental and new outlets for harnessing
energy are beneficial, but also carry risks. Commonplace alternative energy practices
such as biomass, geothermal, and wave energy are dependent on an individual nation’s
geographic location and infrastructure. As the world’s population continues to grow, it is imperative that the UNEP continue to work towards the development and implementation
of alternative energy sources, while taking into account the environmental factors that could be directly affected by such action.
In order for a solution coming into fruition, the responsibility of developing new
sources of energy must be geared towards the international community, and not an
individual nation. The world community must address the extraction and development of
fossil fuels, and must clarify necessary investment and safety precautions if a viable plan for weaning the world off of fossil fuels is to develop. It is extremely important for the UNEP to not only understand the origins and workings of different energy forms, but also prevent and solve potential conflicts that could arise between nations. Different energy forms include, but are not limited to:
Biomass/ Fossil Fuels: Commercial Coal Mining originates in 1740. These fuels are
harmful to the environment in their production and usage. They are not a renewable
Geothermal: It is documented from at least 1500 B.C. that Romans, Japanese, and
Chinese Civilizations harnessed geothermal energy sources in hot springs. Water and heat from the Earth’s center can provide renewable energy with only minimal environmental
costs. Some amount of technology and investment is necessary for large scale use. Earlier in 2009, Geothermal Rift Valley Exploration and harvesting began.
Hydrogen: In the 1920’s, fuel cell research for carbonate cycle and solid oxide was
developed by German Researchers. Hydrogen Energy is regarded as one of the most
complex processes as it exists as an energy carrier, and not source. Hydrogen has the
potential to become a viable energy source in the future, but it is currently extremely costly and delicate to extract.
Nuclear: Originates with 1942’s Manhattan Project. Nuclear Energy has grown
exponentially in popularity in recent years. Many African nations have recently begun
development due to the widespread presence of Uranium mining on the continent. 10-15
years are usually necessary for developing a plant safely.
Solar: Solar voltaic cells were invented in 1954. Solar panels use photovoltaic cells
turning rays into energy. Environmental and Monetary factors however, have limited its potential growth unfortunately.
Wind: The Wind Turbine was patented in 1931. Wind power is truly sustainable and
clean. Only minimal attention is needed to maintain energy producing towers.
Industrialized Nations- These countries have the greatest access to research, investment,
and experimentation needed to shed their dependence of non-renewable energy sources. Conflict may arise in regards to major corporations and government subsidies. Recently developed nations such as India, China, Mexico, and Brazil, are currently expanding economic development, and often resort to cheap and non-environmental methods of power to keep up with demand. They are often in competition with wealthier industrialized nations, and find difficulties in following international environmental regulations and standards.
Developing Nations- These nations are impoverished, and have suffered the most as a
result of climate change and lack of economic diversity. Nuclear energy is actively being sought by many of these countries, but the lack of adequate funding and technology has prevented any significant development. They are asked to attempt to be sustainable, but exploitation in the past, has turned most of their focus towards reducing poverty.
The United Nations Millennium Development Goals are unable to be met unless world energy supplies are of higher quality and sustainability. The UNEP, The UN Developmental Program, and other UN branches and organs have all worked together in order to ensure international goals are met. In 2003, ECOSOC passed resolution A/RES/37, strengthening for the purpose of environmental and social preservation, and the development of alternative energy resources. This legislation followed The Rio Earth Summit of 1992 and The World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002. Resolution A/RES/37/251, specifically targets ways of developing resources accessing energy in developing nations. Current actions of The UNEP in addressing this issue include encouraging industrial nations to help the development of renewable energy sources in Developing nations, as well as funding Geothermal Energy Development in Africa.
Although resolutions will vary depending on each country’s position and
involvement with renewable energy, it is important to take into consideration drafting a resolution that will satisfy the needs of western, developed, and developing nations. This may be difficult, but advancements are made every day in the field of energy, and the partnerships that are possible between the UNEP and other agencies, can help make renewable energy sources viable around the world. I strongly suggest that each delegate is versed in the potential effects and hazards of the numerous forms of renewable energy. Remember that proper resolution format is a must. Lastly, read over other important documents from such sources as The Kyoto Protocol, The IPCC, The UNDP, and the MDG’s.
Questions to Consider
1) What is your country’s position in regards to developing alternative forms of
2) Are there any benefits associated with fossil fuels?
3) How would your nation be affected if the United Nations resolved to compose
legislation outlawing non-renewable energy? Should fossil fuels continue to be
harnessed, or phased out?
Environmental Effects on Human Health
Recently, the environment is changing, and it has various effects on human health, especially in developing countries. Water contamination and food shortages are a major problem that is facing all countries, but developing countries are hit the hardest. Disasters and pollution can destroy the land, while droughts create long periods of now growth, further limiting the production of crops. These events result in starvation among the population. Pollution also contaminates water, which is a big problem in developing countries. Not only that, dangerous chemicals like pesticides can further damage our body. Pesticides travel through the food chain by biomagnifications; this means that when an animal east another animal that digested pesticides, the chemical becomes stronger. The result is that when the chemical reaches our level of the food chain, it is very, very dangerous. The spread of disease is also affected by the environment. Water pollution is another serious problem. Water is one of the most valuable resources we have. Water pollution is most serious in developing countries. Causes of water pollution include heavy metals, from factories, organic pollutants, and manmade chemicals like pesticides that seeped into the underground water channels. The climate change has created a tropical climate, this results in a larger spread of deadly diseases like malaria. Rising temperatures include extreme heat waves in the summer, and severe cold spells in the winter. People who are homeless, who have asthma, or who are elderly or very young are in greater danger of these extreme temperatures. Another growing consequence that affects everyone is air pollution. These air pollutants can cause cancer and other serious health effects, like birth defects or cancer, and other serious effects on the environment. The EPA is working to reduce 188 of these dangerous pollutants to the environment. Air pollution comes from very popular sources like cars and factories. This is difficult because we need these things to help with our daily life; therefore, we can’t just eliminate them from our life. Another negative effect of car combustion is the
greenhouse gases produced, which deplete the ozone layer. When we deplete the ozone layer, we let one of the most dangerous pierce to the Earth, UV radiation. Ultraviolet radiation is very dangerous to our health. It can increase skin cancer, and other diseases.
World Health Organization reports that 60% of the services of the ecosystem that supports our needs is being degraded, which will result in degradation in our health. In the past, UN organizations help countries in need as a result of the environmental damages. For example, UNICEF helped Africa nations who suffered severe damage from floods. The National Environmental Policy Act, require many agencies to analyze and disclose potentially significant environmentally negative effects of agency’s actions
on the environment and on human health. These organizations also held international meetings to find links between the environment and health, and create possible solutions to reduce or eliminate this problem. We need to set our own course of action and create a policy to solve this dilemma.
Questions to Consider:
1) How is my country involved?
2) What can my country do to reduce these problems?
3) How can my country support other countries who are struggling?
4) What plan of action can my country bring to the floor?
http://epa.gov/climatechange/effects/health.html http://www.agius.com/hew/resource/introeh.htm http://www.unmultimedia.org/radio/english/detail/42768.html http://www.epa.gov/oar/toxicair/newtoxics.html http://www.ehponline.org/docs/2008/11132/abstract.html http://edugreen.teri.res.in/explore/water/health.htm