It is unrealistic to expect individual nations to make,independently, the sacrifices necessary to conserve energy.International leadership and worldwide cooperation are essential if weexpect to protect the world’s energy resources for future generations.”
Discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with theopinion stated above. Support your views with reasons and/or examplesfrom your own experience, observations, or reading.
Thespeaker asserts that an international effort is needed to preserve theworld’s energy resources for future generations. While individualnations, like people, are at times willing to make voluntary sacrificesfor the benefit of others, my view is that international coordinationis nevertheless necessary in light of the strong propensity of nationsto act selfishly, and because the problem is international in scope.
Themain reason why an international effort is necessary is that, left totheir own devices, individual nations, like people, will act accordingto their short-term motives and self-interest. The mere existence ofmilitary weapons indicates that self-interest and national survival areevery nation’s prime drivers. And excessive consumption byindustrialized nations of natural resources they know to be finite,when alternatives are at hand demonstrates that self-interest andshort-sightedness extend to the use of energy resources as well.Furthermore, nations, like people, tend to rationalize their ownself-serving policies and actions. Emerging nations might argue, forexample, that they should be exempt from energy conservation because itis the industrialized nations who can better afford to make sacrificesand who use more resources in the first place.
Another reason whyan international effort is required is that other problems of aninternational nature have also required global cooperation. Forexample, has each nation independently recognized the folly of nuclearweapons proliferation and voluntarily disarmed? No: only by way of aninternational effort, based largely on coercion of strong leadersagainst detractors, along with an appeal to self-interest, have we madesome progress. By the same token, efforts of individual nations tothwart international drug trafficking have proven largely futile,because efforts have not been internationally based. Similarly, theproblem of energy conservation transcends national borders in thateither all nations must cooperate, or all will ultimately suffer.
Inconclusion, nations are made up of individuals who, when leftunconstrained, tend to act in their own self-interest and withshort-term motives. In light of how we have dealt, or not dealt, withother global problems, it appears that an international effort isneeded to ensure the preservation of natural resources for futuregenerations.