The United Nations Conference on Climate Change scheduled to be held in Paris in December 2015 will aim to reach a new agreement between the States involved in the negotiation process in order to limit greenhouse gases emissions and the rise in temperatures. Beyond the sole environmental concern, the conclusion of this agreement is underpinned by the energy transition issue, which arises with ever greater insistence facing the depletion of hydrocarbon resources.
University of California researchers estimate that the 1.332 trillion crude oil barrels of reserves may be depleted by the year 2041. In this perspective, all countries will have to make a change in their “energy software”, but this problem is even more acute for oil and hydrocarbon producers as energy is also their main source of wealth and sometimes the core of their economy.
Recognizing this, States, local authorities and investors around the world support many initiatives in favor of renewable energy, reflecting the will to take this necessary step towards an effective transition.
A multi-speed Europe
Historically, awareness of European countries grew regarding this matter have grown at different paces and according to political changes, with considerable advance on the Nordic side (for instance the exploitation of geothermal energy) or even Germany with its objective of complete abandonment of nuclear energy by the year 2022.
Initiatives for the fight against climate change and for the development of renewable energy take many forms: research grants, incentives or disincentives tax, regulatory measures, eco-neighborhoods financing, setting up of experimental labs and working groups on the subject, etc. Among these initiatives involving private and public actors, we can also take the example of the European association “Energy Cities”, created 25 years ago, that inspired many other similar initiatives worldwide. Its French president, Claire Roumet emphasizes the experience of her association in accompanying the energy transition at a local level, with the aim of involving all stakeholders in an integrated dynamic program.
In any case, today, at all levels, European countries within the European Union integrate environmental issues in all their public policies, and they stand at the forefront of the negotiations in view of the COP21.
A global momentum
Many cities around the world promote their commitment to renewable energy, and it is not the sole prerogative of Europe. Toronto Mayor Gregor Robertson, for example, stated that he wanted to rely only on renewable energy for his city by 2020. The large States are mobilized as well and today they all have a green agenda: China itself recently became the first investor in green energy, with no less than $ 89.5 billion invested last year. “This strong investment in clean energy (in 2014) will surprise observers who foresaw the turmoil in renewable due to the fall in oil prices since the summer” says Michael Liebreich, chairman of New Energy Bloomberg Finance. A proof that the sense of emergency is now integrated by all stakeholders at all levels of action.
Oil-producing countries, aware of the risk
Beyond environmental issues, oil-producing countries are, without a doubt, the most affected by this issue of energy transition today, since their economy relies on the exploitation of finite resources. They are also often the first consumers as they have a privileged access to it. The Saudi Minister for Petroleum and Mineral resources, Ali Al-Naimi, well aware of this reality, stated last May at the Business and Climate Summit in Paris: “One day the world will no longer need hydrocarbons. I do not know when it will happen, probably in 2040, in 2050 or later. Greenhouse gas emissions and global warming are among humanity’s most pressing concerns. (…) Societal expectations on climate change are real, and our industry is expected to take a leadership role. We are doing this in Saudi Arabia. “
Energy cities, integrated energy business districts: initiatives promoted by visionary investors like Esam Janahi.
Several projects are already underway or firmly anchored in the gulf and the Middle-East region, promoted by local investors who see in the energy transition a real opportunity. In Qatar, for example, the Energy City Qatar project, launched by Esam Janahi, proposes to pool companies and skills in a same district to better anticipate the hydrocarbon and renewable energy sectors in Qatar. Initiatives of this kind flourish all over the region, but also in the Mediterranean and in Asia, for example through the project of an integrated energy business district in Mumbai, also promoted by Esam Janahi. Other examples are easy to find: The Sultanate of Oman recently hosted a forum organized by the World Bank to talk about the role of clean energy in the context of economic performance and competitiveness. New programs and partnerships are also being developed with the Sultanate as well as with the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait.
In spite of the recent decrease in oil prices, all these initiatives are proof that the pressure to initiate a real energy transition is increasing. In view of the COP21 negotiations, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius defined the subject of financing as decisive for the climate conference, thus stressing the key role to be played by private investors in this field: OECD countries might as well take a look at what’s happening in the oil-producing countries to take their inspiration.
South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley served her state and nation well. President John F. Kennedy was the youngest president and Governor Nikki Haley is the youngest governor in the history of the state of South Carolina. As the eyes of the world keenly focused on the Palmetto state, Governor Haley proved what President Kennedy declared when he said that courage is grace under pressure.
Understanding the history and culture of South Carolina takes much more than a textbook or Google search. It takes decades of living, learning, and loving a state that has a history that is as complex as any state in the union. Indeed, South Carolina was the first state to secede from the union, it fired the first shot that started the Civil War, and under Governor Haley’s quick and brilliant leadership the state avoided a race war after a white racist murdered nine African American AME church worshipers on June 17, 2015.
The past month generated millions of articles about South Carolina; however, none of them captured the essence or heart of the matter. If it had not been for the swift and incisive leadership of Governor Nikki Haley the violence in South Carolina could have triggered a race war the likes of which this nation has never seen before.
The plot to destroy America like all plots was an ambush were the good nature of innocent people was used against them. Like Pearl Harbor, it was an attack with the intent of causing a war. However today the flag of war was replaced by the flag of America and the flag of South Carolina as the only two symbols remaining on the statehouse grounds
Having lived in South Carolina before the Confederate battle flag was hoisted on top of the state capitol the present writer knew it was a symbol of segregation and racism.
Most Americans were taken by surprise by the cruelty and viciousness of the murder of nine people who were murdered after opening their doors and welcoming a person into their house of worship who came in with a plan to destroy them.
“It was an attempt to start a race war,” Charleston Senator Paul Thurmond said. “Slavery was wrong, wrong, wrong,” he said.
Governor Haley, as the leader of South Carolina along with Senator Tim Scott, and Charleston State Senator Thurmond realized almost immediately that a race war was possible if action to avert it was not taken immediately.
The Tulsa Race Riot of 1922 began with a single act and spiraled out of control because government leaders did not realize the gravity of the situation and did not act quickly. Governor Haley was on the scene in Charleston immediately and marshalled the forces of the state to capture the suspect in the murders and to alert the media and the people of South Carolina with the who, what, when, where, and why concerning the murders and the plot to start a race war.
When Adolph Hitler started the fire in the government headquarters in Germany and blamed it on the Jews, he set the course for a race war that took the lives of six million innocent Jewish people who were not able to defend themselves. Innocent men, women, and children were murdered because of hatred. The Holocaust that made the Nazi flag a symbol of race hatred and violence around the world. Slavery made the battle flag of the Confederacy a hateful symbol to African-American descendants of American slaves.
President Barack Obama praised Governor Haley because he knew how close South Carolina came to igniting a wave of retaliatory violence and destruction that would have created violence like the summer of 1968, after the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., that created riots in cities across America. However, it was Governor Nikki Haley that the president praise for her leadership. Haley understands the role that she played in bringing a successful conclusion to the crisis in South Carolina. In a correspondence with the present writer, Haley gave full meaning to the events that have held the world in rapt attention:
Dear Professor Metze II,
Thank you for taking the time to contact us. These have been very difficult times for South Carolina, but our hearts and minds remain fixed on the nine families and the communities shaken by this tragedy. Their grace and strength set a powerful example for us all.
Even in the midst of our grief, South Carolina set about the process of healing – not by talking about issues that divide us – but by hugging our neighbors, holding vigils, honoring those we lost, and falling to our knees in prayer. We came together as a state, as a unified people, to remember those we lost and to begin this healing process.
We’ve also come together in acknowledging that certain symbols and events of our past resonate differently among us. For some, the Confederate flag represents a history of their ancestry and heritage. For others, the flag is a deeply painful reminder of a brutally oppressive past.
Inspired by the victims’ families and the re-opening of Emanuel A.M.E. church, I felt compelled to make a statement about moving the flag from the Statehouse grounds. This is a moment in which we can say that the flag, while an integral part of our past, does not represent the future of our great state, and that by removing a symbol that divides us, we can move forward as a state in harmony.
The time has come for us to set the flag among the other markers of our history so we can set our eyes on the great promise of a united South Carolina. God bless.
My very best,
Nikki R. Haley
The eloquent words of of the governor reflect her ability to address the concerns of a South Carolina native while dealing with one of the greatest modern day crisis in South Carolina history. Great leaders do not test the direction of the wind to make life changing decisions. Great leaders do what is right. When South Carolina and America needed her leadership she served the people of South Carolina with grace under pressure. Governor Nikki Haley served her state and nation well. She acknowledged the sacrifices of the nine South Carolinians who lost their lives because of racism and hatred.
The present writer is an alumnus of Palmetto Boy State class of 1974 and is a 5th generation native of South Carolina. His great grandfather, Samuel Metze, was an American slave in South Carolina.
The journalist would like to acknowledge the telephone call from Senator Paul Thurmond to alert the journalist of the situation in South Carolina. The timing of the retirement of the flag and all scheduled departures to South Carolina being full prevented photos of the retirement. However, the writer was given a wonderful reception and tour of the Civil War Exhibit by the staff and curator of the National Guard Museum on North Capitol and Massachusetts Avenue (directly across the street from the Post Office Museum) where there is an original Confederate flag on display in the museum.
Let there be peace on earth. Violence is never the answer. Allen University is making certain that the victims of the Charleston Massacre will never be forgotten. Examiner.com will continue to update the progress of the Allen University Memorial to those who lost their lives on June 17, 2015.
The attempt to start a race war in South Carolina failed. The lone racist, who murdered 9 innocent African-Americans on June 17, 2015, sits in a jail cell in Charleston waiting for the American judicial system to determine his fate. It was not the first time a plan to kill people because of their race was averted in South Carolina. On July 19, 1822, Denmark Vesey and 34 of his followers were killed after the plan of their revolt to kill whites was discovered.
Denmark Vesey was executed in Charleston, South Carolina for his plot to murder white people in 1822. He was unable to kill a single white person because an African-American felt it was wrong to murder men, women, and children and reported the plot before the murders could be carried out. It was a white America who aided police in the capture of Dylann Roof.
On Father’s Day 2015 over a thousand people of all races, all religions, and all sexes gathered in Charleston on the Arthur Ravenel, Jr., Bridge to let the world know that the attempt to create division and race hatred failed. The plan to divide Americans backfired. There was more love and unity between the races in South Carolina than ever.
Charleston is a beautiful city and a wonderful vacation location. The customer service in the city is excellent. Tourists will find one of America’s greatest Civil War Memorials in Charleston where President Abraham Lincoln’s greatest challenge to save America began in 1863.
Charleston native Alex Sanders was interviewed by the present writer on May 11, 1974, as he ran for Lt. Governor of South Carolina. Sanders would become the future president of the College of Charleston. Sanders welcomed all people to visit the beautiful city. There many evil people in the world who will never change their evil ways. To try to create a race war because of the circumstances in one life to the detriment of over 3 million people is pure evil. A great man once said, All it takes for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.”
A chain from the House of the Slaves from Goree Island in Senegal was donated to the people of Charleston in 1986 to remember the African American slaves who were brought to the slave market there. The 400 year old chain is on display at the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture.
The hidden agenda to start a race war between black and white Americans failed because great leaders like Alex Sanders have been working for decades to create a city of Charleston that celebrated the history and culture of all Americans. Another great South Carolinian from Charleston worked hard to create good relations between blacks and whites served as the City Editor for the present writer at The Columbia Record. He was a third generation newspaperman from Charleston and had malice for none. Robert Hitt III showed fairness and respect for black and white South Carolinians alike. His dedication to the truth was the fundamental principal of his work and he passed that work ethic to every journalist who was fortunate enough to serve on the same newspaper with him.
When Hurricane Hugo struck the city in October of 1989, while the present writer was completing his Ph.D research on Charleston native Daniel Alexander Payne, the people of Charleston pulled together after many of them lost their homes, cars, boats, and possessions. As people fought for their lives there was no division between black and white in surviving the devastation. The journalist witnessed people helping people regardless of race, creed, or color.
Charleston remains a beautiful and compassionate city. For Americans planning a vacation location this summer there is no place finer than to visit Charleston, South Carolina.
Examiner.com will continue to follow the events in Charleston, South Carolina. The nation continues to mourn the loss of innocent lives on June 17, 2015.