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Über dieses Buch

This book will survey past and present efforts to democratize international institutions, and will advance the argument that a new degree of transparency and accountability on a global scale is necessary to address the threat of climate change. The volume will analyse how global governance could become more democratic and consequently more responsive to the challenge of climate change. As economic globalization has accelerated since 1945, international institutions have done a remarkable job in facilitating global communication and commerce but have been far less effective in protecting the global commons.



Chapter 1. The Frontiers of Democracy

As the effects of climate change become increasingly disruptive in this century, the democratic nations of the world will face heightened stress from extreme weather, flooding, droughts, and mass migrations. If democratic governments respond to these challenges by embracing nationalism, they will weaken the universal principle of human rights upon which democracy is founded, thus eroding the strength of democracy within their own borders. Conversely, if democratic societies foster greater political integration with other democracies around the world, they will be in a far better position to face the transnational challenges posed by climate change.
R. S. Deese

Chapter 2. Nationalism and the “End of Nature”

An analysis of the nexus between international relations and environmental sustainability since the early twentieth century indicates that strategic competition among sovereign nation states has greatly impeded efforts to understand and address environmental challenges. In particular, the rise of militaristic nationalism has caused extensive environmental destruction and has frequently corrupted the practice of science by tying it to the secretive culture of the national security state. During the twentieth century, numerous advocates of environmental sustainability struggled to limit the destructive impact of nationalism on scientific cooperation, and their work has attained a new relevance in the age of climate change.
R. S. Deese

Chapter 3. Cold War Environmentalism

A survey of the growth of the environmental movement in the second half of the twentieth century suggests that the spike in scientific research during the Cold War decades was essential to improving our understanding of the Earth and its climate. Although massive investment in earth science research and space exploration during the Cold War inadvertently helped to launch the global environmental movement, the military application of that research also threatened to cause a global catastrophe. A focused and deliberate effort to understand and cope with the threat of climate change, if organized under the aegis of a supranational democracy, could provide a more sustainable foundation for scientific research in this century.
R. S. Deese

Chapter 4. The Tragedy of a False Dichotomy

Two false dichotomies have distorted our thinking about environmental issues since the mid-twentieth century. The first is a tendency to place human rights and ecological sustainability in opposition to each other. This tendency was epitomized by those Malthusian environmentalists who advocated both eugenics and strict governmental control over human reproduction in the name of ecological sustainability. The second false dichotomy is the tendency to view technology and nature as antithetical. This has been evident across the spectrum of popular culture, where some of the most acclaimed films with environmental themes frame nature and technology as inherently opposed to one another. Each of these false dichotomies must be transcended if we are to understand and address environmental challenges such as climate change.
R. S. Deese

Chapter 5. Transcending the Tragedy of the Commons

The work of Elisabeth Mann Borgese represents an important bridge between the world federalist and ocean conservation movements in the twentieth century, and offers a viable path for overcoming the false dichotomy between human rights inherent in much of our discourse about the Tragedy of the Commons. Her vision of universal human rights and the protection of the oceans as the “common heritage of humanity” helped to shape the third UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in 1982, and articulated principles that could be useful in establishing the global rule of law in order to protect the atmosphere and climate of the Earth in the twenty-first century.
R. S. Deese

Chapter 6. Governing Ourselves

The rapid integration of commerce, transport, and communication over the past century seems to suggest that the world is on the path to becoming a single global civilization. Although the form of governance that will maintain that civilization has yet to be determined, there is no reason to assume that it will be democratic, unless there is a deliberate and sustained effort to assure that it is. Given the symbiotic relationship between science and democracy, and the superior historical record of democratic governments on environmental issues, there is reason to believe that the establishment of democratic governance on a global scale would offer the best strategy for dealing with climate change.
R. S. Deese

Chapter 7. Supranational Democracy

Advocates of expanding democracy beyond the current Westphalian system of sovereign nation states can find some valuable precedents in the history of cosmopolitan political thought from ancient times to the present. Within this long history, the proposals for constructing a democratic federation on a world scale that emerged in response to the advent of nuclear weapons in the mid-twentieth century deserve special examination. In light of recent advances in communication technology, some of these proposals have become more plausible, and may offer new tools for addressing the problem of climate change in the twenty-first century.
R. S. Deese

Chapter 8. Climate Change and the Future of Democracy

There are three broad paths to establishing supranational democracy in order to address the transnational challenge of climate change. The first and most direct path would involve bypassing national governments altogether and organizing municipalities on a global scale. The second and most cautious path would involve creating an integrated federation of established democracies that could grow over time. The third and most ambitious path would involve democratizing already existing global institutions such as the United Nations. Each of these paths has benefits and drawbacks, but the middle path of pursuing greater political integration among established democracies is probably the most viable.
R. S. Deese


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