“Be who you were created to be, and you will set the world on fire”. This quote of the medieval Christian Saint Catherine of Sienna seems to carry a certain sense of irony in our modern times of environmental uncertainty. Whereas to how our societal matrix of global functioning should look like in respect to our planet and thus, if how we ought to think of our society and make it become reality has set the world ablaze: not, unfortunately, with the Holy Spirit or the ardour of Faith, but with the destruction of our planet on an unprecedented scale. Nothing less is currently at stake at the COP26 in the Scottish Lowlands around Glasgow, among the mighty of this world.
by Clément Stratmann
One rightfully shivers at this perspective, longing for answers to man’s very own Frankenstein which makes Pandora’s box pale by comparison in the vision of certain destruction, if a decision on climate policy isn’t taken immediately to halt global warming at the desired 1.5 degrees. How can Palau, the Maldives, even the Netherlands and the crowded urban areas along the world’s coast be preserved from rising sea levels? The Sahel and endless territories around the globe from desertification and forest fires, wiping out its ecosystem? How can one avoid having to swim alongside the last blasé polar bear, drifting down on nothing but his disillusions to what medieval sailors would have called the world’s edge? Legally binding coercion through the means of economic reward and penalty through supranational institutionalism seem to be a good answer.
China, as well as any other major polluting nation, needs to be subjected to international embargos and sanctions concerning all non-vital trade if it were to continue its reckless attitude as the biggest global emitter of CO2 and greenhouse gases.
Population control, for example, is widely cited as an ever-more credible solution; an ever-growing global demographic produces an endless supply of polluting human beings. Regulating population growth in relation to resource abundance, or lack thereof, seems a necessary temporary price to pay if the survival of our species is at stake. This could be made possible by trying to stimulate the creation of wealth to lift populations out of poverty who have no choice but to surrender to more-polluting ways of existence. Mega-corporations could be taxed for their environment-damaging behaviour, re-investing funds from the fines and taxes into small and medium enterprises who, in turn, would be stimulated and rewarded for ecologically conscious productive behaviour. Creating positive incentives for businesses would thus enable positive change regarding consummation patterns.
One can justifiably argue that climate policies decided by the government shall never have any significant impact unless it is democratically put into daily action by the people. For that to take place, human consumption must be drastically reduced. Legislation regarding carbon tax, speed limits, pollution fines, inland flights and rewards of good conduct must be established with special care and attention to the appropriate oversight and proportionality, to avoid penalizing the middle and lower classes while demanding an adequate response from big polluting actors. China, as well as any other major polluting nation, needs to be subjected to international embargos and sanctions concerning all non-vital trade if it were to continue its reckless attitude as the biggest global emitter of CO2 and greenhouse gases. No dam can be built high enough, no tree planted, no plant be shielded away from radiation if mankind cannot rise to its responsibility by policing each other through global climate legislation regulated by economic penalization; out of the necessity of common survival. In other words: if we want to avert this Skyfall, we all need to be our own James Bond on his best performance.
21 years of fanatical obsession for history, adept of Kantian-Montesquieuan morality and accordingly bad at keeping sentences short enough to be understandable. Failed piano player, though "culture connoisseur". Passionate arguer, arguably passible rhetorician. Geopolitics is the name of the business and business seemingly never runs out. "Why make anything simple when you can dissect everything into over-complexified nuances?" Clément Stratmann, is the runner up in the Young Diplomat Review short essay competition on the COP26.