The world's superpowers and blooming industrial nations have bickered for decades over who bears the biggest responsibility for carbon emissions. While that debate continues, 47 of the world's poorest countries have unified, pledging to avoid fossil fuels altogether.
The goal hopes that these 47 nations will effectively bypass the harmful byproducts of industrialization. Imagine solar power plants to generate factories rather than massive smokestacks. The ambitious plan comes from the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) during the UN Climate Change Conference in Marrakesh, Morocco.
[Smoke stack image courtesy of Pixabay]
The theory can be dubbed "leapfrogging." Normally used in economics and business, leapfrogging allows 'late bloomers' to avoid the troubles hindering older, established firms by leaping over them.
A prime example of leapfrogging in technology can be seen in mobile phone technology in rural Africa. Many African nations skipped landlines, with there being only one landline per 33 people. One in 10 people have cell phones in Africa. CVF members want to see the same rapid results with energy sources.
"We are pioneering the transformation towards 100% renewable energy, but we want other countries to follow in our footsteps in order to evade catastrophic impacts we are experiencing through hurricanes, flooding and droughts," said Mattlan Zackhras, a minister from the Marshall Islands.
The BBC reported an added level of impatience with the reckless progress of wealthier nations without regard for less developed economies.
"We don't know what countries are still waiting for to move towards net carbon neutrality and 100% renewable energy," said Edgar Gutierrez, Costa Rica's minister for the environment. "All parties should start the transition, otherwise we will all suffer."
The goal is to have all systems in place between 2030 to 2050, with each member nation presenting a detailed plan to the United Nations before 2020.
There are, however, financial concerns that could hinder the CVF's success. Any financial pullout from global superpowers could kill the initiative. As part of the Paris climate agreement earlier this year, richer nations promised $100 billion.
However, the US President Elect Donald Trump has made his stance on climate change very clear. He threatened to stop all US money from being spent on global warming initiatives. In 2012, he infamously tweeted that the Chinese government made up global warming as a hoax.
"$2.5 billion dollars was supposed to be in the mail, but now that the mailman has changed that might be a bit of an issue," said Tosi Mpanu-Mpanu, from the DRC. Mpanu-Mpanu also serves as the chair of the group of Least Developed Countries in these talks.
Mpanu-Mpanu elaborated, saying any hesitancy in climate change and climate action could be detrimental to the ambition of the CVF.