The Energy of Words International Media Contest results: the winner is a journalist from Canada
"Climate skepticism has nothing to do with science," says Jeff Dembicki, a Canadian journalist and the Foreign Policy author. His article “The Convenient Disappearance of Climate Change Denial in China. From Western plot to the party line, how China embraced climate science to become a green-energy powerhouse” was named the best in The Energy of Words-2018 contest for its analytical approach, the depth of the research topic and literary skills. The winner will get his award during the Global Energy Prize Laureates Week in early October.
In his article, Jeff Dembicki demonstrates how the fact of global warming is rejected or recognized by the different states depending on their economic interests and political positions. He takes China as an example, describing the way the country went, from denying the climate change processes to the transition to the widespread use of renewable energy sources.
The journalist states that in 2009, at the UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen, developed countries failed to convince the developing countries to commit themselves to reduce the level of greenhouse gases emissions into the atmosphere. The final document named the "Copenhagen Accord" did not mention any specific commitments. China perceived the Western world’s position as an attempt to limit the country's industrial capacities and "prevent China from becoming a world leader." There was a wave of public discontent in China, as the country was dominated by the opinion that the EU and the US "came up with the idea of climate change as the way to control China."
However, since 2011, climatic skepticism in the Middle Kingdom has gradually faded away. After the decades of unrestrained industrial growth, Chinese cities were filled with smog. The deterioration of the ecological situation in the country has reached a critical level. The country surpassed the US regarding greenhouse gas emissions. According to the World Bank, China has spent about $ 110 billion to deal with the environmental pollution effects. The country's leaders decided that global warming requires taking severe measures and the government initiated a shift in rhetoric by adopting a law on renewable energy sources uses and joining the "green" revolution. The course on the low-carbon policy has become one of the main priorities of the government strategy. Nowadays China intends to achieve the targets set by the Paris Agreement, not by 2030, but by ten years earlier.
Jeff Dembicki notes that after Donald Trump came to power in the US, he announced a change in global environmental policy. He announced the country withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, as it pursues “not the goal of saving the environment, but financial benefits for a number of countries at the expense of the United States." Trump cited China and India as examples, as they "will be able to expand their coal industry, while the US will have to reduce it." The climate change issue was a part of a significant game in which China played with the West, and now the roles have changed.
“Climate change skepticism – whether in China or anywhere else – is never really about the actual science. It’s about trying to preserve an old economic and political order while a new one arises. Though the global impacts of climate change continue to get worse and worse, China’s experience should give us all a certain amount of hope. My story shows that when powerful economic incentives align behind addressing climate change, then the resistance to planetary solutions can quickly fade,” the author believes.
Jeff Dembicki writes for a number of periodicals, such as Foreign Policy, The Guardian, Vice, etc. He is also the author of «Are We Screwed? How a New Generation Is Fighting to Survive Climate Change». The book explains that the millennials are exactly those people who fully experience the effect of climate change and are ready to do something to prevent the "Doomsday."
The Energy of Words is an international media competition established in 2004 that aims to encourage both individual journalists and media channels to cover global energy issues. An annual award is presented to the journalist or group of journalists who make a significant contribution to the coverage and information broadcast on issues, solutions, and trends in the global energy sector.
The Energy of Words contest winner will receive his award during the Global Energy Association’s Laureates Week within the framework of the Russian Energy Week in Moscow.
This year The Energy of Words received entries from Indonesia, India, Kenya, Nigeria to Canada, USA, Italy, Great Britain, the Netherlands with all works submitted published from April 30, 2017, to May 2, 2018.