Apr 30,2019

I would like to dwell with you into the damage issue caused by humans to their environment, and the continuous negligence by the concerned officials and stakeholders in curbing practices that compounded to threaten our existence on this globe.

I refer here to the global warming and the ongoing rise on average temperatures demonstrated in the melting ice in the Arctic and its effect on the weather conditions that became troublesome having shifted out of proportions. Its related effects are shown in depleting the ozone layer that protects our planet. Its other causes are the negative influence of the harmful industrial emissions, car exhausts being the most important sources, on the pristine environment, stable climatic conditions, etc.

By contrast, countries have adopted through the past successive decades, remedial actions that contributed to slow this worsening harm by preventing the compressed fluids for different purposes, halting the use of non-biodegradable plastic material and replaced it with paper for daily use, as well as controlling the emissions that harm the ozone layer. While these actions are important, and accurately prescribed to apply, much of the world countries have barely addressed the crux of this dilemma. The big problem remains in the industrial various practices and the persisting carbon emissions that keep damaging the environment.

As the modifications required to protect the environment had a negative impact on the profits of the industries concerned, resistance to adopt them still exists. A giant German company like Volkswagen resorted to falsify data in order to hide the harmful emission levels, resulting in exposing the company to judicial accountability and payment of billions of dollars in penalties.

Similarly, American industries have resisted directives to modify their products, especially cars, to protect their profits, prompting the American president during his campaign to deny the mere existence of the problem, dismiss the idea of global warming or climate balance industry threat and accusing China of inventing the gist to impair US industries. The US president’s further decision to withdraw from the treaty of Paris that perplexed the concerned nations, was a validation to this concept.

Throughout the previous successive months, new warnings appeared in leading American and world newspapers by a member of the US House of Representatives, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, that the world will be destroyed within 12 years unless radical and conclusive decisions are prompted by the concerned nations to protect the climate from a veritable collapse.

The current US president is showered by calls to change his position that, if persistent, will cost him the loss of numerous youth votes in the next election. It is a choice between the voices of the industry owners, and the voices of the youth who own the future!

What threatens the universal and environmental climate balance is now obvious to all. We are witnessing and constantly enduring the dangers of devastating storms and floods, drought in some areas, damage to forests, agriculture, high temperatures and many various hazards.

But all that is happening now hardly compares with the forthcoming dangers, unless a prompt treatment takes place as forewarned by the experts, scientists and specialists. In this article, I add my voice to the warning and blowing sounds for this imminent peril, and send an invitation to all those concerned with the safety of man and the land he lives in to raise the voice and call for a fast action to curb the next tragedy.

It should be noted that a symposium entitled “Environmental Administration in the Arab World” was held during the World Economic Forum in Jordan in early April 2019. The symposium discussed key issues concerning the environmental protection by curbing all what hurts the climate balance, especially with regard to the emphasis on clean alternative energy and gradual phasing out of conventional polluted energy, as well as recycling waste, etc. During the seminar, climate change and environment minister in the UAE announced his country’s plan to increase clean energy from 25 per cent to 50 per cent by the year 2050. This step deserves every appreciation and practical emulation. The executive director of the European Investment Bank declared also that the bank has invested so far up to 30 billion euros in environmental projects to help reduce carbon emissions.

I should mention here that in my capacity as chairman of the United Nations Group Accounting and Reporting Standards I was similarly asked in 1999 by the UN Secretary General to chair a working group to formulate an accounting criteria for environmental liability, also in my capacity as chairman of the International Federation of Accountants in New York. The aim of these standards was to define responsibility and estimate costs of any damage to the environment by concerned parties. The team of experts issued then an important report on the subject that had never seen the light, as, according to the American side, it carried an intolerable burden on industrial companies.

Today, I renew my call that this issue has grown extremely out of proportion. Any further delay in processing will put the world in front of disasters that cannot be avoided within the ensuing decade.

And I conclude by addressing this appeal, before it is too late, to the United Nations Secretary General to sponsor, while still possible, a team of experts in artificial intelligence from China and America to devise solutions for toxic emissions and reduce toxicity as an extra path for alternative ways and means to alleviate such deadly emissions.

The writer is chairman of Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Organisation. He contributed this article to The Jordan Times