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December 07, 2009


Mike Woodhouse

A government will vote itself subordinate to a global government with the enthusiasm of a turkey voting for Christmas, in my jaundiced opinion.


It's very simple: in the view of politicians, (most) national governments are rational actors fully capable of making good choices. On the other hand, individuals are seen as untrustworthy children to be led by the hand.

alanm crisps

Well in practical terms it is just hard to enforce 3 on other governments, seeing as invading would have quite a big carbon footprint so defeat the object.

Our gov is bound by its targets, to be fair.

Giles Wilkes

V interesting.

But I think this fuels the mad fire of the sceptics, because they will say Ah HA! I knew this was why you were spouting all this stuff about global warming (which clearly isn't taking place, because today is really wet and cold, see). You want global government!

At which point, the baddie shoots the sceptic, and chuckles to himself.

Luis Enrique

erm .... but "a global government with the ability to coerce national ones into reducing emissions" isn't available, and is a laughably unrealistic prospect. If "those calling for radical alternatives" have the objective of achieving something in the real world, they do not have "logic on their side" if the promote an idea with no prospect of achieving that.


"we might need global government instead. And yet, AFAIK, none of the summiteers is suggesting this possibility."

No, but as Giles points out, that's exactly what (sceptical) people are saying it's all about. You've just handed more ammunition to them. Did you do that a-purpose ?

If I understand their position correctly, the process will follow your thoughts - 'Gosh - we've never thought of it this way before, but it kinda makes sense'.

Mike Woodhouse - our government has subordinated itself to the EU pretty cheerfully - and the other two parties agree with them. Once you've handed over sovereignty to a Europe-wide body, why not a world-wide one ?

David Heigham

The last Nobel prize awards reminded us that humans can be surprisingly good at producing and running institutionalised voluntary methods of managing the commons. To my lasting surprise, our governemnts manged it over the ozone hole and chloroflurocarbons. And I have seen a dozen full grown whales on a fairly recent boat trip, something I thought had become impossible in my lifetime.

We are trying to do it again in Copenhagen. Would a coercive world government be more likely to do the job of keeping the planet habitable over the millenia than an evolving lashup of customary compromises? Is the history of large scale governments reassuring, either for durability or sustained effectiveness?


A key issue with (3) is that what's aimed at is a collective reduction rather than an absolute ban. Collective reductions are enormously more expensive to police than absolute bans (CFCs, smoking in restaurants, etc.). They are also far easier to free-ride on, something that's also true at the national level which is why there's not even an obvious mandatory route for national governments.

Personally, I think the problem of reducing emissions where 6 billion people have a short term incentive to free-ride is beyond the ability of governments and is simply an impossible one to crack. The big surprise is why governments haven't immediately moved on to search for Plan B or C (mitigation, adaptation, wait-and-see, or whatever).

The reasons I can see are (a) that the over-estimate the power of government to achieve things, (b) that they like the power and status of appearing to do something - perhaps a bit cynical, (c) their voters demand they pay lipservice to the summit - ditto,

and maybe (d) the whole thing is really a just great secular-religious event designed really to inspire and motivate us because the option (1) of individual voluntary action is really the only game in town for emissions reduction it can only even possibly work by force of quasi-religous inspiration.

Can't really see that happening though - so we're certainly going to find out whether the science is right or not.


Selling the idea that their behaviour will now be incumbent on decisions made someplace even farther away than Brussels, by people even more remote and diverse than just Europeans is something few politicians will dare take on.
And so it should be, if the ratification exercise of the European parliament is anything to go by.


I already asked that question http://anomalyuk.blogspot.com/2007/07/internationalism.html and answered it http://anomalyuk.blogspot.com/2007/07/sacrifices.html .

Summary: "almost nobody really believes in anthropogenic global warming (AGW) sufficiently to support policies they would otherwise have opposed."


Maybe 2 is a pre-requisite of 3. That is World Government requires a voluntary* contractual agreements between all nations.

In the smoking example, the government already existed so there was no need to create it.

So we could view this summit as being an intermediate step in an attempt to develop a world government?

* If we are to avoid a world war to impose a world government on all nations.

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