In a conversation, Feb 12, 2010, at TED 2010 in an early morning breakfast, I asked United States Senator & former VP Al Gore a question on the implications of global climate acts if energy MNCs (multinational corporations) fail to respect them in developing nations like Nigeria where many MNCs continue to pollute the environment despite decades of environmental laws. I explained the ambiguity of trusting the United States to lead the world on global climate protection since it has become evident that what matters is what happens in the United States and not anywhere else.
These firms do in Nigeria what cannot be done in Texas because they see the world from two lenses. Because of their influences, they manipulate Africa’s political class and overrun a weak judicial system. And they get away from environmental justice. So why bother over global warming?
The ecosystem is interconnected. If the United States and Europe secure their skies and Nigeria continues to allow gas flaring, the world is not safe indeed because ecological forces could make its impacts extend beyond the shores of Nigeria.
In his response, the Senator apologized to me. He was genuine in his words on the activities of these MNCs and IOCs. He proposed some ways he could help. At the end, unless Nigerian legal system rises, companies will exploit the weakest links. Al Gore indeed wants to see Nigeria deepen its environmental justice and enforcement. If our parliament, judiciary and non-profits do not put a severe price for destroying our environments, no company, local or foreign, will respect anything in the books.
Back to the breakfast – it was an invitation only breakfast conversation in TED 2010 at Long Beach, California. It took place in the Westin Hotel on Feb 12, 2010.