[Toronto Star, Canada]
El Pais, Spain
2009: The Year Earth Outgrew the Nation State
when negotiating over climate change, the Obamas, Jiabaos, Medvedevs, Singhs
and Lulas aren't so different from ancient lords bent on preserving their
own autonomy. … Somalia is governed by multiple factions that look only to their
own interests - and we call it a failed state. How should we define our climate
system, where no one looks after collective interests? A failed planet?"
By José Ignacio
Translated By Halszka
December 22, 2009
Spain - El Pais - Original Article (Spain)
The Copenhagen summit was the
last opportunity for the some-200 countries that form the international community
to show that they could be part to the solution to the problem of global
warming. Unfortunately, after what we've seen in Copenhagen, it's obvious that
nation states are a big part of the problem. It is therefore time to take a
qualitative leap and begin thinking about how to strip them of the capacity to
decide the future of the planet.
It sounds revolutionary, but don't
be alarmed: at its root, politics is about deciding just how much authority we assign
to which level to solve what problem. For politicians, politics is the art of
the possible. For political scientists, politics isn't about gut feelings, but
science. If we know anything, it's that institutional structures matter; in
other words, the chances of solving problems are intimately linked to the
mechanisms we use to try and solve them. The government of Spain has renounced the
issuance of its own currency, delegating that power to a supranational monetary
authority: Because the government can't turn to printing money to get itself
out of the crisis - the crisis isn't becoming even more serious.
We only have one planet, but
we manage it through a ridiculous system of governance based on an obsolete concept
called sovereignty. In its time, sovereignty was a useful invention for ending
religious wars and imposing a single authority over feudal lords. But today,
when negotiating on the issue of climate change, the Obamas, Jiabaos,
Medvedevs, Singhs and Lulas aren't so different from those ancient lords bent
on preserving their own autonomy, even at the cost of collective disaster. Somalia
is governed by multiple factions that look only to their own interests - and we
call it a failed state. How should we define our climate system, where no one
looks after collective interests? A failed planet?
Posted by WORLDMEETS.US
Oh, yes, Copenhagen could
have ended differently. If the United States and Russia have been able to achieve
major agreements on disarmament, the United States and China could have achieved
a far-reaching deal committing themselves to reduce emissions through a series
of binding and verifiable agreements subject to verification and backed up by a
range of sanctions. We could also have seen the other 168 states agree to a decentralized
system of climate management in which each nation would voluntarily comply with
some very ambitious objectives - and with minimal coordination. In fact there
are precedents for such agreements (such as the communal irrigation system in
Valencia, the study of which was crucial to the recent Nobel Prize in economics
awarded to Elinor Ostrom).
But both of these options were highly improbable.
Life is plagued with cases in
which the sum of decisions that seem rational from an individual point of view
lead to collective disaster. From arms races to the deforestation of the Amazon,
through bank panics and the extinction of anchovies along the Cantabria coast,
the absence of binding agreements between the parties and a higher authority
capable of monitoring them are often at the root of the failure. The case of
climate change is a paradigm of a decision-taking system structurally designed
to produce suboptimal results.
Curiously, the European
Union, despite having been marginalized by the fight between the United States
and emerging economies, is in possession of two types of key technologies
needed to solve the problem of climate change. The first group of technologies
encompasses systems for emissions trading (subject to improvement, but opening
an important avenue), and Europe’s capacity for technological innovation for
improving energy efficiency, capturing carbon and in the use of tax policy to
encourage green solutions. These are clearly exportable technologies which already
make Europe a world leader in efficiency, emissions reduction, renewable energy,
green taxation, etc.
Posted by WORLDMEETS.US
But the most important
technology at Europe’s disposal is institutional. For all that we criticize it
for its irrelevance in the world, the European Union is proof positive that it's
possible to create effective, supranational solutions to the irreconcilable
problems of nation states. The European
Coal and Steel Community resolved the Franco-German rivalry that had cost
so many millions of lives with an imaginative and equitable formula of access
to and distribution of the production of coal, steel and nuclear energy. Today
it seems obvious that only a supranational authority, capable of imposing and
collecting green taxes in a global manner and distributing the revenue equitably
and with such resources financing the necessary adaptations and technological
innovations, can prevent global warming. So for once, Europe has something like
an ideal solution to offer. They only need to find the capacity to sell it.
prediction? The planet will warm.
SEE ALSO ON THIS:
El Watan, Algeria:
Le Quotidien d'Oran, Algeria:
Fiasco!: West Bets Climate Change Will Hurt Poor
Der Spiegel, Germany:
Was All-Out Failure'
The Telegraph, U.K.:
Says China and U.S. to Blame
for Summit Failure
The Telegraph, U.K.:
There'll Be 'Nowhere to Run'
from New World Government
Global Cooperation -
Gone Like a 'Mirage'
Le Monde, France:
Copenhagen Climate Talks - 'Failure and Disappointment'
Le Figaro, France:
The Climate and the Challenge of Governing a Planet
Der Spiegel, Germany:
Gunning Full Throttle
Into the Greenhouse
The Rich Show Their Hand at Copenhagen
Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Russia:
Gorbachev Presses World Leaders to Deliver on Climate
Kurier, Austria :
Mass Murder: Climate
Change Must Be Faced
Climate Summit in 'Disarray'
After Leak of 'Danish Text'
Frankfurter Rundschau, Germany:
'Grotesque Behavior' of Climate Powers
Financial Times Deutschland, Germany:
Beijing Instead of Copenhagen
History's Judgment of
Our Generation Depends
on Climate Summit
Rossijskaya Gazeta, Russia:
Gorbachev: Dialogue Only Way to Resolve Korea Crisis
CLICK HERE FOR SPANISH VERSION
Posted by WORLDMEETS.US, Dec. 30, 1:30pm