The political challenge of responding to global crises (Part #1)
Produced on the occasion of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (Copenhagen, 2009)
Politically the issue of global warming, culminating in the United Nations Climate Change Conference (Copenhagen, 2009), is essentially focused on emissions engendering hot air. It has become increasingly obvious however that what is significant to the political response is what is omitted in framing the challenge. Rather than hot air emissions, in political discourse it is now a question of hot air omissions. What factors are deliberately ignored in debate regarding the challenge? Is there a danger of groupthink -- as in the response to weapons of mass destruction and the associated intelligence failure?
The issue of global warming is increasingly dividing the world into "believers" and "sceptics" in a manner reminiscent of the division into religious believers and unbelievers. Even climate change scientists are now labelled as believers or sceptics with regard to an issue framed by some as the greatest challenge currently facing humanity and civilization as it is known. Failure to agree with the global consensus as framed is held to be a betrayal of that cause -- but as yet to be criminalized.
This is however also true of the considered response to other global issues, variously claimed as vital to the future of humanity and the planet.
The concern here is with what might be termed the "politics of omission" in the face of urgent issues of global governance -- as exemplified by the UN Climate Change Conference. The question is to what extent "climate change" will prove to be another example of this pattern.what extent "climate change" will prove to be another example of this pattern.