World must unite against those who destroy our planet

It is disconcerting to read that the President of the United States has decided to exit the Paris climate agreement (Global anger at US for quitting climate pact; June 3).

The move is myopic and protects only a select group of people in the fossil fuel business at the expense of everyone else.

Coal may have served us well in the past, but it is old technology.

The sooner those in the fossil-fuel industry and related jobs realise this, the sooner they can move on and focus their efforts on retraining and investing in alternative sources of clean energy.

Hundreds of thousands of new jobs could be created.

The world must unite against those who seek to destroy our planet. We are not powerless. Trade barriers and other means could be introduced to isolate countries that refuse to adopt clean energy.

We could refuse to purchase products from businesses that rely on coal as an energy source, or make it unprofitable for them to do business with anyone.

Incentives can be given to efforts to research and develop cleaner sources of energy, and to support factories and offices that rely on clean energy.

Countries that replace their gas, petrol and coal plants with solar, wind, hydro and other renewable sources of cleaner energy could also be given incentives.

As someone who worked in the US oil and gas industry in the 1980s, I do not believe a switch is impossible.

It will be painful and difficult, but doing nothing is a formula for failure.

Humankind has demonstrated its ability to adapt and change. We have done it on innumerable occasions, and we can do it again. The only thing stopping us is ourselves.

Matthew Ong Koon Lock

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 06, 2017, with the headline 'World must unite against those who destroy our planet'. Print Edition | Subscribe