Local Development and International Tensions

by on Friday, 29 August 2008 Comments
Global warming is not only a ‘hot” topic, it is also a “hotly debated” one… Emerging countries accuse the Western countries of having been, by far, the largest producers of greenhouse gases for the last century and half, of remaining the biggest emitters per capita, and of protecting their lifestyle while pretending to prohibit to others fair access to the same standards. However, years of discussions and the drafting of international mechanisms have improved the terms of debate and mutual understanding. While the agreement reached between emerging countries and the G8 group at the meeting held in Japan in July remains vague and unsatisfactory, however its overall phrasing augur well for the conclusion, circa 2010, of an international agreement that will follow the Kyoto Protocol. That protocol was itself an annex to the conclusions of the Convention on Climate Change adopted at the "Earth Summit" in Rio in 1992.

At the same time, the challenge of climate change alters our global culture, the perception of our belonging to a single human community. Climate change increases both the chance to see the emergence of a true international society and the risk of further harden the "clash of civilizations." Such risk is linked to the transfer or depletion of resources related to climate change, with potential conflicts over access to water or fertile territories, accompanied perhaps by the migration of "environmental refugees." In such a context, resentment related to history, religions, conflicts of identity will take on increased importance. In summary, global warming radicalizes the issues of coexistence among cultures and nations.

June LEE (李禮君)

Former Managing Editor of Renlai Monthly (2004-2009). Board member of the Taipei Ricci Institute.

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