The Fatal Flaws of the Paris Climate Conference

The Fatal Flaws of the Paris Climate Conference

Paris Climate Conference

By Lawrence Wollersheim

 

The United Nations Conference on Climate Change (or COP21) has just concluded in Paris. This historic conference represented a valiant effort by world leaders to tackle humankind’s most daunting problem from within the limits of a dysfunctional system of global governance. Tragically, the conference was doomed to fail for many reasons, even though the final agreement is in certain ways unprecedented. One of the most obvious and important of these reasons is the absence of enforceable global law–the lack of a world federal government that can verify and enforce global warming carbon and methane reduction targets. As the global compact now completed in Paris is structured, (1) each nation has agreed to its own set of voluntary emission-reduction goals, and (2) developed nations have pledged to help developing nations fund these reductions. Some accountability mechanisms are built into the compact, but of course, none of the commitments are legally binding on the parties. Further, this debilitating problem is not the only issue with this conference–it’s only one of five fatal flaws facing this effort which I detail in a comprehensive research article at my site, Job One for Humanity. We as world federalists know the great truth that our work is crucial to the future of our planet. The failure of COP21 highlights and also underscores this “inconvenient” truth as we now go on to watch the almost futile efforts at emissions-reduction in the aftermath of this meeting: In effect, the countries of the world will be struggling to handle a common global crisis, which as separate nations they are completely incapable of solving. The irony is that, other than an extinction-level event like an asteroid heading towards the earth, or an attack by technically superior aliens, no other exterior common threat is available to unite us. Escalating global warming and its consequent irreversible climate destabilization is a serious and dire threat. I believe this predicament alone offers humanity the motivation that is needed for creating a real global government.


NOTE: The Democratic World Federalists are committed to expressing a wide range of views on the vision of creating a peaceful, just, and sustainable world through a democratic World Federation. The views expressed in this article represents that commitment and not necessarily our official position.


Global Evolution and the Next Generation

Global Evolution and the Next Generation

ButlerHeadshotBy Jack Butler

I am Jack Butler, a Cambridge-educated integral coach and social entrepreneur. I think we live in remarkable times. Two years back, I spent some time in personal retreat over my 30th birthday thinking about what I wanted to put my major life energy into. I had one book with me—Ron Glossop’s World Federation, passed to me by a friend. The relationship he described between community, law, governance, and eventual peace made immediate sense to me. I was baffled how I had studied politics at Cambridge and had never once heard anyone talk about stronger global governance as a desirable emergence. I was convinced that the ideas Glossop discussed needed to be part of a broader conversation about how we are doing life in the global era.

Since then, I have been meeting and dialoguing with all sorts of civic and thought leaders—see http://beingjackbutler.com/web-show-new/ for my podcasts and video interviews. I have seen how business is changing from owner-dominated decision-making to holacracy, a very decentralized constitution for a company where people are much more empowered, vested interests are marginalized, and constitutional updates are easy to adopt. Global governance could usefully draw from this approach. The more people are used to this way of being in their day-to-day work, the more the world of distant representatives is unsatisfying as the sole method of government at any scale. I have seen how culturally creative young people are not watching TV or buying newspapers. They are producing and consuming media on Facebook and Youtube. This has profound implications for civic life and participation. Either/or politics is losing its appeal. Millennials may both be more right wing and left wing than you! They want minimum government interference in their entrepreneurial projects; but those projects are often done, not for profit, but on behalf of the community. The age of both/and integral politics is dawning.

With the recent establishment of the new 17 global goals by the UN, we are starting to see the beginnings of the cultural conditions for a world where everyone is included and where we can have more effective ways of handling all-humanity issues.

We are squarely in the global era now, not the post world-war two era. The global era is the age of ubiquitous social media, the transcendence of controlled mass media, instant internet connectivity, instant coverage of social movements and political events, the largest-ever global civil society organization (Avaaz, 44 million members and growing fast), global Facebook feeds, emerging integral consciousness, flat organizational hierarchies, countries selling e-residency (Estonia), self-organizing systems, the decentralized possibilities of blockchain technology (what Bitcoin runs on), re-imagination of social value creation (impact investing, e.g.) and a global generation committing to have no one go hungry (e.g., the Global Citizen Festival pledges and Global Poverty Project). This is not an apathetic generation. They may just be apathetic about the old means—joining a party, climbing the company ladder, believing in traditional institutions. The savviest millennials are not hankering after corporate jobs, they want to set up projects which make a difference in the developing world, where they do ‘with’ (and not ‘to’) the communities they serve. Life scripts have never been so moldable and self-authoring, and our globally intertwined fates have never been so close to so many’s hearts.

Cultural change often needs to proceed political change—there needs to be a cultural constituency before an effective political constituency can form. It’s forming. Google Trends shows that searching for ‘global citizen’ has gone up 20 times since 2007. Whilst some may descry that absent a legal status “global citizenship” doesn’t mean anything, I would suggest that the cultural identity is hugely important, growing and is a necessary precursor to the political identity.

My sense is that stronger global governance can be driven forward by the millennial generation but it needs to integrate the new ways of doing life: peer networks, decentralized information flow, and participatory civic technology amongst other things.

World federalists have an important part of the puzzle—global law is where we need go to. But I think we need to be open to how that looks as it’s not just parliamentary decision-making. It is also opt-in protocols at the individual and local level. The entire internet runs on TCP/IP protocols (how your computer talks to the net)—even, I’m told, in North Korea. That’s a global standard which everyone has gotten behind. Linux underpins a huge share of operating systems. It’s a global open-source project, which everyone can contribute to, simply if they have enough domain-specific knowledge. And it’s completely transparent, so it’s fairer and safer. It’s much easier to create viruses for Microsoft than Linux because of the decentralized and responsive intelligence of the Linux community.

My contention therefore is that the vision I read about in Glossop won’t unfold in the way it lays it out. It has to evolve with the times. There will be some disruptive emergence. So I wouldn’t hold the “federalism” part too tightly, if we can innovate something better. And especially if it’s not a brand that appeals to the generation most likely to enact some of the ideas you most care about. Maybe we will move from representative democracy to some more direct participation via our smart devices. Maybe we will have liquid democracy where I can give policy-specific revocable proxies to people I trust. Maybe our politicians will be bound by transparent dashboards aggregating the big data and views of all constituents. Maybe law will democratize to the extent where everyone can form easy protocols and opt-in agreements, just like if you buy my app on your iPhone and agree to my terms. Maybe New Zealand’s idea to introduce a global impact visa will become a new norm and talented social entrepreneurs will be able to work anywhere in the world. Maybe location independence, fueled by Airbnb and the sharing economy, will become the new norm within a set of global cultural norms which I can already feel when I meet traveling millennials.

My point is the world is changing exponentially fast. The more self-authoring people are, the less they look to representatives to solve their problems. The biggest problems in the world are arguably mostly being tackled and led by civil society, not governments. Both have their part to play. So it’s important to see the changes that are happening and align with them, not miss them because they may not look like how we solved problems in the 1950s. In the integral age, we need to see the value of both unity and decentralization. As humanity grows to be a self-organizing system, better decisions are often made by the group (think Linux) than a small group of elected officials (think Microsoft’s centralized security team). If we are about maximizing the greatest collective potential, presumably a fairly central aim of civics and politics, then we need to bring everyone’s talent into our biggest collective concerns. That is, global citizens need to participate maximally in their global life. I am curious how federalism can best adapt to that and capture the imagination and genius of the most informed generation ever to live.

*Want to join this conversation? We just held the first Global Evolution Camp in Oakland on 8th October. This was a gathering to bring our personal, cultural, and global evolution into one place. The purpose of these camps is to talk both about how we are with each other, how we want to run the world, and where we can explore the identity, strategies. and advocacy of being a global citizen. The Global Evolution Camp will be coming on the road, so feel free to register your interest here (www.globalevolutionyourcity.eventbrite.com), join my mailing list here (www.beingjackbutler.com/contact-2) or connect with me via facebook (www.facebook.com/beingjackbutler)

 


NOTE: The Democratic World Federalists are committed to expressing a wide range of views on the vision of creating a peaceful, just, and sustainable world through a democratic World Federation. The views expressed in this article represents that commitment and not necessarily our official position.


 

BEWARE: Madeleine Albright’s Commission on Global Security, Justice, & Governance

BEWARE: Madeleine Albright’s Commission on Global Security, Justice, & Governance

UN Commission ReportAn Open Letter from Roger Kotila, Ph.D.

 

Good morning friends,

I just finished reading the report of the Commission on Global Security, Justice & Governance. The report is advertised as “Confronting the Crisis of Global Governance.” I am not impressed.

The Commission co-chairs are former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, and a former Foreign Minister of Nigeria and past UN Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs, Ibrahim Gambari.

Madeline Albright has been described by investigative journalist and author William Blum as “ethically challenged.”

Albright is best remembered by her critics for a “60 Minutes” television interview with Lesley Stahl in May 12, 1996. Stahl asked about US sanctions against Iraq: “We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And you know, is the price worth it?”

Madeleine Albright: “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price—we think the price is worth it.”

Granted it is unfair to evaluate a report by attacking the integrity of one of its sponsors, but the Iraq nightmare caused by US sanctions (and invasion) leaves me questioning Albright’s value system and judgment.

Unless I read the report wrong, I’m guessing it is another (well-meaning?) ploy to postpone having authentic global democracy for all nations and for “we, the people” – an often used strategy to keep civil society (you and me) feeling like we are making “progress,” when in fact nothing of real significance is being offered.

The euphemisms in this report would make a snake oil salesman puff up with pride.   

The report, like the UN Charter, uses the right language (“justice”, “security”, and yes, of course, “PEACE”).  These are feel good words–but alas, missing is a plan for a strong enough geopolitical structure to be able to deliver (except in ways that don’t alter the good life for the 1%). 

There are no world federalist solutions here, except at the weak margins.  

Rather than recommend eliminating the permanent veto in the Security Council which would be a step toward democracy, the report only recommends that the P-5 nations consider “use of restraint in the use of the veto.” This is laughable, an insult to any thoughtful world federalist.

I’m having trouble finding the word “democracy” anywhere, only the empty phrase “global governance.”

From the Commission recommendations we can conclude that militarization will remain, but with some frosting on the cake so it tastes better. How will they end wars? By establishing a “UN Peacebuilding Council.” Leaders of powerful bully nations who commit world crimes will remain above the law, with no seriously effective enforcement system under consideration.

There is no adequate plan to end war and proxy wars; no plan that would eliminate nuclear weapons.  Resources will continue to be siphoned off to the military/industrial complex and to covert operations; hence, it will be hard to reduce poverty in the world despite the report’S call for “global economic cooperation.”

No proposed structure to give “we, the people” democratic control over multinational corporations and international Big Money.  The Wall Street Journal investor class (the 1%) and private equity firms will continue business as usual.  Your country could be up for sale next!

Climate change solutions will remain voluntary with no provision for enforceable universal legislative authority by the world community.   

No proposal to fundamentally change the UN Charter–the heart and soul of “modern” (medieval) geopolitics.  Bully nations and Big Money stay firmly in control, and global democracy is nowhere in sight.

There may be an opening for real change from all of this, but I’m not sure where a point of entry might be.  Perhaps through the proposed UN Parliamentary Network especially if that “network” demands Charter Review, and join forces with the Earth Federation Movement’s Provisional World Parliament under the Earth Constitution.

At least then we would know we are headed toward establishing a democratic world federal union government – what we all know is what is realistically needed.  

Your feedback?  (Am I being too harsh?)

By Roger Kotila, Ph.D.

Editor, Earth Federation News & Views


NOTE: The Democratic World Federalists are committed to expressing a wide range of views on the vision of creating a peaceful, just, and sustainable world through a democratic World Federation. The views expressed in this article represents that commitment and not necessarily our official position.


 

Scholars Stand for World Federation

Scholars Stand for World Federation

World map

According to the conveners of the World Government Research Network, “Not since the 1940s world government ‘heyday”. . . have so many academics been thinking seriously about global integration.” Inspired by what they call “a resurgent interest over the last two decades,” two young professors, Luis Cabrera (Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia) and James Thompson (Hiram College in Hiram, Ohio) have brought together scholars from many countries for direct exchanges, workshops, and conference panels on theoretical considerations concerning “global state formation.” An international conference of scholars has been set for June 2016 in Brisbane. The group also makes its rich set of research and teaching resources available to the public—don’t miss their excellent “world state debate” articles at this link. It happens that two close associates of DWF, Andreas Bummel and Fernando Iglesias, sit on the WGRN advisory board.


NOTE: The Democratic World Federalists are committed to expressing a wide range of views on the vision of creating a peaceful, just, and sustainable world through a democratic World Federation. The views expressed in this article represents that commitment and not necessarily our official position.


 

Lively Debate on UN Commission’s Report

Our readers may recall the coverage we gave to the recent report of the UN’s Commission on Global Security, Justice & Governance. Since then, a healthy debate has been growing in our immediate circle. Tad Daley’s recent essay at Huffington Post offers a bit of praise for the report, calling it “visionary.” But he’s also not shy to point out what they forgot to mention: the need to abolish the veto, establish a UN citizen’s assembly, and create a permanent all-volunteer UN rapid deployment force. He also suggests that we can begin right now to advocate such provisions in time for the UN’s 75th anniversary year in 2020, the date that the Commission suggests for convening a “World Conference on Global Institutions.” Board member and DWF Vice President Roger Kotila could find very little that was positive in the report . . .

 


NOTE: The Democratic World Federalists are committed to expressing a wide range of views on the vision of creating a peaceful, just, and sustainable world through a democratic World Federation. The views expressed in this article represents that commitment and not necessarily our official position.