Climate and Peace Part II
4: Cooperation or conflict?
Despite, but also because of, all this, there is reason for cautious optimism and belief in humanity’s ability and willingness to reverse evolution. The UN Climate Panel says that developments can still be reversed. Perhaps this year’s climate reports can give renewed intensity to the global negotiations in Indonesia on larger and more binding emission reductions. In the coming years, the common climate threat may give renewed impetus to binding international cooperation, precisely because the greatest disasters and crises cannot be handled by a single nation on its own. No power is above this law of nature as it is the global environment that is changing with major consequences for all continents.
This was not least reminded of the rich, industrialized countries when Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in the United States and a huge flood disaster hit the city of New Orleans in August-September 2005. In most countries, giant disasters such as Hurricane Katrina have only occurred once before. within fifty years. They therefore overload any country’s national institutions and aid apparatus. The world’s most resourceful country, the United States, was no exception. The heat wave in Europe in 2003 and the hurricanes in the United States in 2005 were therefore important in changing public opinion to realize the seriousness of the climate threat and our shared responsibility to prevent climate change. Persistent heat and drought also seem to have prompted Australian voters to vote for greater climate commitments in the last election. In any case, there has just been a change of government in Australia, much as a result of the climate issue.
Both in the Sahel countries, in our own northern areas and in the tropical hurricane belts in Asia and in the Caribbean, climate change can lead to both increased tension and conflict and increased cooperation on common problem solving. Instead of an increased battle for scarce resources and a safe living environment, we can work together to share the resources. We can collaborate to develop renewable resources, and we can share better technology and recycling of resources.
There also appears to be a growing consensus that industrialized countries can, must and will dramatically reduce their huge greenhouse gas emissions, while the fast-growing economies of China, India and other industrialized countries will agree to limit their emissions growth through better technology and organization. The next few years will be crucial for whether the world moves towards increased committed climate cooperation regionally and globally, to prevent disasters and climate change, or whether we will continue to destroy the global environment – with major negative consequences for all of us.
5: Peace Prize for the UN Climate Panel
After decades of CO2 measurements and an unbroken trend of increased CO2 content in the atmosphere, in the 1980s a concern for climate change spread – a concern for man-made climate change. This unrest led the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) to jointly establish the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 1988. Apart from a smaller secretariat and an annual plenary meeting for member countries, the IPCC is more of a framework around a network of researchers. These are not employed by the IPCC, but in companies (companies, institutes ETC) in countries around the world. The IPCC is also an expression of global cooperation to counter a global problem – global climate change. It is the leader Rajendra K. Pachauri who receives the other half of the peace prize on behalf of the IPCC.
6: The other half to Al Gore
For many, the Peace Prize winner Al Gore is best known as the American “Vice President” – the vice president under Bill Clinton and the presidential candidate who in 2000 lost to George W. Bush after the election and final decision in the US Supreme Court. And despite the fact that he actually got the most votes in the United States as a whole.
According to THEMOTORCYCLERS, The Nobel Committee hardly takes its word for it when it justifies this year’s award by saying that Gore has been a leading environmental politician, perhaps the individual who has contributed most to creating a greater global understanding of climate action. The effort to get the climate issue on the agenda has been particularly noticeable after 2000 when he traveled around the world with a “road show” about global climate change. In public, the business topped off with the film “An Unpleasant Truth”, which came out in 2006 – and which earlier this year won an Oscar for best documentary.
But Gore’s environmental commitment dates back to the 1970s. Already as a young representative in Congress (1977–1993), he excelled as a prominent environmentalist. In 1992 he wrote the book Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit.
The awarding of the prize to Gore is a recognition and a thank you for his great efforts in a key field for the future of humanity. It is just as much an attempt to influence the course of development – to make individuals and states realize the climate problems and act accordingly. Gore himself is humble enough to point out that he stands on the shoulders of the many thousands of environmentalists around the world – without their contribution, his voice could quickly become just a cry at night.