In fact, Ranil Wickremesinghe spearheaded the green push during his time as Prime Minister that has led to the fuel crisis currently besieging the pockets of Sri Lankans.
In 2016, Wickremesinghe penned an article for the World Economic Forum entitled “The future of Sri Lanka’s economy,” in which he laid out Sri Lanka’s role in reducing global emissions and transitioning away from fossil fuels.
As per Wickremesinghe’s article:
Sri Lanka’s cultural traditions are such that respect for the environment is embedded in the psyche of our people. This creates a groundswell of public opinion in favour of sustainable development. In the wake of the Paris Climate Conference, I would like to point out that Sri Lanka is committed to achieving 20% renewable energy usage by 2030, over and above the current 35% of hydropower. Environmental sustainability is central to the country’s development plans. At the same time, Sri Lanka is ready to be a constructive partner in global climate negotiations.
Hilariously — or it would be funny if the state of Sri Lanka weren’t so tragic — Wickremesinghe penned another article for the WEF in 2018 in which he boasted of the country’s progress and stated that he would “make my country rich by 2025.”
Due to his strict commitment to environmentalism and ESG standards, Sri Lanka was given a nearly perfect ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) score of 98.1 out of 100 by World Economics, even as signs the country was going bankrupt were as clear as day.
Nonetheless, Sri Lanka, led by leaders more concerned with global virtue signalling rather than the wellbeing of their people, has continued down its current trajectory and is facing fuel, food, and financial crises simultaneously.
As previously reported by The Counter Signal, at the heart of the Sri Lankan crisis is a government policy that banned the use of artificial fertilizer in the country to shift towards organic farming. In April 2021, former president Rajapaksa banned all chemical fertilizers in Sri Lanka, only to reverse the policy soon after.
Initially, Sri Lanka was importing non-harmful Nano Nitrogen liquid fertilizer from India while banning private companies from importing synthetic products.
“The nitrogen content of organic fertilizer is about 3-4%,” said agriculture expert Udith Jayasinghe.
“For paddy cultivation, 80,000 metric tonnes of nitrogen is needed for this season. This cannot be done entirely from compost fertilizer domestically.”
Despite the reversal, the country plunged into systemic shortages of food and other goods. Sri Lanka, a major rice producer, saw a 30% plunge in paddy yields across the country and vegetable prices doubling.
“We are a tropical country full of rice paddies and banana plantations, but because of this stupid fertilizer ban, now we don’t even have enough food to feed ourselves,” former Sri Lankan governor Rajith Keerthi told the Guardian.
“We have had past economic crises, security crises, but never in Sri Lanka’s history have we had a food crisis.”
On top of this is a national fuel crisis that has gotten so bad that heavily armed officers have been deployed to gas stations to deny people with “non-essential vehicles” from purchasing gas at gunpoint.
Now, the government under Ranil Wickremesinghe is implementing a nationwide QR code digital ID as part of a fuel rationing scheme.
It’s not clear how much worse it can get in Sri Lanka, but it’s unlikely that one of the country’s greatest contributors to the crisis has the means (or sincere desire) to get Sri Lanka out of it.