How can global governance address climate change

In the way of righteousness there is life

Sustainable development needs global governance, EKD-Text 117, 2014

2. “Waves of global change” as a challenge for global governance

Globalization has many dimensions, including cultural, social, technological and political. However, economic globalization - the increasing interdependence of markets across geographical regions - can be seen as the primary driving force behind the entire globalization process.

Parallel to accelerating globalization, the international balance of power has shifted in recent decades, on the one hand due to the collapse of the Eastern Bloc, and on the other hand mainly due to the economic rise of several large emerging and developing countries outside the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Mostly Brazil, China, India and South Africa are mentioned in this context, which together with Russia are referred to as BRICS countries or including Indonesia as BRIICS. Around half of the world's population lives in the BRIICS and around a quarter of the world's gross value added (GDP) is generated there. Without BRIICS, some progress towards sustainability can be made in the medium term, but in the long term, without these states, economic flows and forces will neither be able to be steered into globally sustainable channels, nor will global environmental problems be adequately dealt with.

Global environmental pollution represents one of the greatest challenges for global governance because its causes and consequences cannot be effectively addressed without decisive action at the local, national, regional and global level, but doing nothing has serious consequences that are irreversible for human standards, up to and including Destruction of the basis of life that is essential for humans. The protection of the climate and biodiversity are two prominent examples of many global environmental problems that began in recent or recent history and are increasingly accelerating.

All three phenomena - economic globalization, international power shifts and critical global environmental changes - are important in order to understand the great challenges that coordinated political action is facing. Because these three processes trigger or have triggered extensive changes in different areas, they are referred to here as "waves of global change" [6] - a change that penetrates every cavity and through almost every crack like water.

For politics it follows that the range of national political action is by no means in a position to sufficiently influence the problem-causing constellations: Governments can only achieve some of their domestic political goals in cooperation with other states. That is why the sociologist Ulrich Beck describes globalization as "processes, as a result of which the nation states and their sovereignty are undermined and cross-linked by transnational actors, their market opportunities, orientations, identities and networks" [7]. If one follows Beck, who also believes that globalization can no longer be revised, this means that formative politics cannot be about measures to reverse globalization as far as possible, but that politically realistic demands must concentrate on shaping globalization and making it fair through globally binding sustainability goals, principles and measures. For this it is necessary to develop common values, norms and standards.

The European Union (EU) is an important achievement for securing peace and cooperation within Europe and with a view to promoting global cooperation. Individual European states could not have fulfilled the pioneering role of the European Union in global environmental and climate policy. The European Union is an important building block in the global governance structure with a double responsibility: on the one hand in implementing sustainability goals in its own member states, on the other hand in supporting the multilateral process [8]. Multilateralism is a fundamental principle of EU foreign policy and is enshrined in the EU treaties [9]. In the EU strategy for sustainable development, the assumption of international responsibility is listed as a main objective [10]. Internal EU legislation in the area of ​​climate protection can serve as a role model worldwide. The communitisation of policy fields presupposes, however, that the states are willing to renounce sovereignty and even accept partial disadvantages in order to be able to better achieve their common goals through cooperation. In this respect, the European Union can be seen as a trailblazer for post-national action, even though the European Union, like the United Nations, can hardly go beyond what the national governments allow.

However, the current institutional and economic crisis in the European Union is not without consequences for global governance processes and structures: Firstly, it is evident that an economically well-developed, powerful and politically stable community of states like the European Union is falling into an economic crisis which global governance is required to cope with (e.g. support from the rest of the G20 and IMF). Second, the developments after the financial crisis in 2008 and the US real estate crisis make it clear that, in an emergency, the individual EU states, especially the respective populations, find it difficult to subordinate national interests to community interests. Thirdly, in times of economic crisis, the political agenda revolves primarily around issues such as economic stabilization and economic growth in one's own region; There is too little room for global issues beyond the economic crisis, as the arduous negotiations for an effective climate or species protection agreement show. This is one of the reasons why the European Union did not significantly influence the negotiations at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012 (Rio + 20). In this context, it is also worrying that the European Union is earmarking significantly less funding for development cooperation in its financial framework plan. Fourth, the crisis weakens the economic and political position of the European Union vis-à-vis the other G20 countries, although it must be taken into account that the economic power of the European Union, with a gross domestic product (GDP) of around 13 trillion euros, exceeds that of the USA and is almost 20 percent of global GDP.

In summary, it is important, on the one hand, to bring the European Union forward again as a political actor in the interests of global sustainable development and to oppose the tendencies towards closure towards the "rest of the world" and against

To address intra-EU fragmentation. The establishment of the European External Action Service represents a step towards a uniform and thus more weighty appearance of the European Union at international level. It is important that the Evangelical Church also works for a united Europe that is capable of acting. On the other hand, the observations make it clear how important it is to implement functional global governance structures and processes that ensure that the goal of globally sustainable development is pursued on an international political level independently of individual committed actors.

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