This is the question posed by this month’s CPNN bulletin with regard to the global meeting on climate change to take place at the end of the year in Paris.
It is generally agreed, at least by the citizens of the world, that we need to reverse the global warming that comes from the exhausts of power plants, automobiles, factories, airplanes, etc.
So what has been keeping national governments from reaching agreements all these years, despite the desires of their citizens? Where has there been democracy?
The first and most obvious reason has been the powerful lobbies of the oil industry and their allies that have tried to deny the obvious fact that there is global warming and that it comes from their pollution. They have tried to convince us with pseudo-scientific articles. By now, however, the peoples of the world have seen through their false propaganda and they overwhelmingly demand action to stop global warming.
But more important, the big corporations have paid legislators not to take action that could reduce their profits. In other words they have corrupted the national governments.
The outcome in Paris will depend on the relative weight of corruption and democracy.
What should we expect?
If nuclear armaments are any precedent, we should expect that democracy will lose, that corruption will win, and that global warming will continue.
After all, we have known for decades that nuclear weapons are an even greater danger than global warming for the future of our planet, and yet there has been no effective action to eliminate them. This year the meeting of national governments at the United Nations in May produced no agreement. Why? Because the United States followed the political demands of Israel that their weapons program should not be questioned.
National governments are corrupted. In my opinion they are hopelessly corrupted. By the culture of war. Over the centuries, for millennia, in fact, they have come to monopolize war and to construct their power on its basis. Their power has been shared with the miltary-industrial complex, and more recently the military-industrial-media complex, since the media also have been corrupted.
For this reason, it is of the utmost importance that cities, provinces and regions, as well as civil society, have taken up the cause of preventing climate change. Unlike national governments, they cannot make war, and hence they are relatively free from the culture of war. This month we recognized climate initiatives by the provinces and regions of the Americas, by the mayors of the world meeting with the Pope, by mayors from Africa and Europe meeting with the mayor of Paris, and by the civil society meeting in Mozambique, as well as election results from the oil-rich province of Alberta, Canada, where voters threw out the incumbent party and elected candidates who pledged to establish tougher policies against climate change.
The leadership of cities, provinces and regions to prevent climate change is a good precedent for their leadership on a more general level, the transition from a culture of war to a culture of peace.