Since Robin Horbury hasn’t gotten around to posting about this, I’ll bring it up. Richard Black recently expressed his dismay that an individual country can block UN resolutions regarding climate change. Specifically, he’s worried about yet another failed Warmist Synod outcome from the upcoming Rio Summit in June.Of course, being a cleverly-trained writer, he presents this as a question and not an outright statement.
In a nutshell: does the way humanity governs itself need a series of tweaks or a complete overhaul, in order to meet the broadest ambitions of improving the lot of the planet’s poorest, safeguarding nature and making the global economy more sustainable?
And people wonder why some of us say that Warmists have totalitarian tendencies. All your national sovereignty are belong to us.
To support this idea, Black brings up a recent study by the Earth System Governance Project. Cute name, no? A One-World Government by any other name….
Now, I’m a fan of science fiction, especially Star Trek, and am not automatically opposed to the idea, in the abstract, of a single united government for a planet. I grew up with my imagination filled by the likes of the United Federation of Planets. Nearly every single plant our heroes visited each week was ruled by a single government, and those which didn’t had conflict which needed to be solved by the benevolent guiding hand. Even planets at war with each other had single governments which simply needed to be brought together. It would be lovely if it were reality. But what these people want isn’t an abstract idea at all. And our world is nothing like these harmonious fantasies.
Rather, the Earth System Government Project, Black informs us, has spent a decade pondering whether or not we need a single government entity for the entire planet. He mentions how long they’ve been at it because that’s supposed to tell us they’re really serious about it, and whatever result they’ve come to can have resulted only from very long and serious study. So he sets it up as an appeal to authority straight away, to head off any doubts before they happen.
Before I get to the study, though, let’s take a moment to see if there’s any coincidence that he just happens to be talking about this issue now. But of course there is. Next week, he’ll be moderating a panel – “Innovative solutions for a planet under pressure” – at the “Planet Under Pressure” conference in London. Remember the word “innovative” for later. I do hope he’s not getting paid to promote this political agenda. Have a look at the speaker/panelist list, and notice a couple of names from the ESGP’s steering committee, as well as one of their lead faculty members. It’s a small world in this field, I know.
To show how serious they are, they’ve come up with a seven-point plan. Five of them are the usual stuff, using typical language we’ve come to expect, albeit slightly gilded for effect: reform the UN’s environmental agencies (I can think of other agencies they should do first), “deploy innovative technologies”, “support developing countries to ensure fairness” (that’s wealth redistribution when it’s at home), “reflect sustainability concerns” and so on. But Nos. 5 and 6 should give us all pause:
5. introduce qualified majority voting when making international decisions on environment and sustainability
6. strengthen the voices of citizens as opposed to bureaucrats in global decision-making
And there you have it. Let the majority override national sovereignty on desired issues, and give activists more power to control the agenda. Black then lays it out for us.
Some of these are already being addressed in the Rio process, especially the first two; although their CSD proposal contains the innovative element of adjusting the weight given to each country’s representation so that the G20 grouping accounts for 50% of the votes.
Note the positive qualifier, “innovative”. Could this be one of the “innovate solutions” discussed in that panel he’ll be moderating next week? According to the website of one of the organizations behind the whole event, Earth System Science Partnership, the conference “will provide scientific leadership towards the 2012 UN conference on Sustainable Development – Rio +20.” The very conference Black talks about here. So it’s all very much on his mind these days.
This might appear undemocratic; but actually it would ensure the voting reflects the size of countries’ populations more accurately than it does now, though also skewing things towards the rich.
It might appear undemocratic, but it seriously appears to do away with national sovereignty. This seems not to trouble Black at all.
The most radical idea in procedural terms is introducing majority voting in UN fora to prevent a few recalcitrant nations from blocking the will of the vast majority.
There have been many times in the past when just one or two countries held up progress in UN processes such as the climate change convention – and the same issue is now being raised within the EU, where last week Poland on its own managed to block the setting of tougher carbon emission targets.
You don’t want other countries to force you to alter your own domestic policies? Screw you.
On the other hand, some countries’ protests clearly matter more than others.
Guess who the big bad guy is in this story:
Whereas the 2007 UN climate summit in Bali hinged on whether the US would block the will of every other country on the planet – it eventually chose not to – the objections of Bolivia at the equivalent meeting in 2010 were basically ignored by everyone else, who decided in that case that a consensus could leave one nation out.
The horrible US – when Bush was President, naturally – ruined it for everyone back in 2007, while later on poor Bolivia had their own national sovereignty trampled upon in the name of consensus. Yet Black sees the former as a bad thing, and the latter as a good precedent.
As so often in environmental and sustainability circles, the plan contains no shortage of ideas on what should be done, and why, and by when.
The politics of how to make it all happen are a different matter.
In this case, how to get economic bodies to put Rio+20 notions at the centre of their decision-making, how to persuade governments to give up their right of veto, how to project the concerns of citizens through the blockage of bureaucracy – these aren’t in the prescription.
Black is writing this whole thing from the perspective that this is a desirable goal. His personal bias on the so-called climate change issue leads him to view national sovereignty as an obstacle which needs to be overcome. Citizens (read: activists) must be able to control the agenda.
(By the way, can anyone else think of certain other UN resolution votes which might be affected by this process? )
Here’s a thought: why not let them go out and get elected like everyone else, Richard? Or is that not the kind of democracy you’re looking for? Just like the BBC’s darling Occupiers, he defines “democracy” as shouting loud enough to get his way. This is a totalitarian agenda, being pushed by a highly-paid, high-profile, BBC journalist. At your expense.