Fueling a Schism

By Cynthia Hui

Fossil fuels metaphorically and literally fueled the engines of the industrial revolution, causing the globe to pedal into a long, prosperous era of globalization, commercialism and technological advances. Today, oil serves as the economic foundation for oil-rich countries like Venezuela, Russia and Saudi Arabia. Abundances of natural resources have built and molded their economies into ones that largely rely on oil prices, fossil fuel technology, and oil reservation ownership. The benefits that oil has brought to the global economy, however, are not without costs. The National Weather Service predicted Trump’s inauguration to be the warmest in American history: the undeniable sign of the environmental damage from over-dependency on fossil fuels.

The limited amount of fossil fuels, the volatile nature of an oil-dependent economy and the environmental implications have brought the general assembly of Economic and Finance Committee together on YMUN 2017 again to discuss possible solutions to the problems. The main topic of resolutions this year seems to be technology and research. The three resolutions presented to the assembly leaned towards building the necessary infrastructure in the research sector. The Investment, Research, Implementation, Stability Plan (IRIS Plan), which was headed by the Cuban delegate, aimed to stimulate research regarding environmental implications. The issue has created a quorum divided between developing and developed countries.  

The biggest apprehension for developing countries concerned the sources of funding this impressive project, and Chile further commented on the research budget as “unrealistic”. These nations were hesitant to spend the federal budget on a global effort to diminish reliance on oil when they still struggled with everyday economic instability. When debating the resolution, Congo reminded the committee, “We are here to debate economic solutions, not environmental solutions.”

Contrastingly, a firm supporter of these research infrastructures, Germany, thought this step of building the technological foundation in developing nations would be economically beneficial for the global community. Research sectors would provide employment opportunities and improve the quality of life in general.

With this division between developing and developed countries on the topic of economy and its reliance on oils, delegates in ECOFIN struggled to arrive at a consensus on the best course of action to take.