Up until recently the world has been unwilling to unite to oppose climate change. Now, however, it seems much more willing to unite to oppose Donald Trump.
We human beings seem to need a boogie-man and now, fortunately or unfortunately, we have one.
In an opinion piece written after President Trump’s recent announcement that the United States was withdrawing from the Paris climate accord, Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz wrote, “… the rest of the world cannot let a rogue U.S. destroy
Stiglitz said the rest of the world should impose a carbon adjustment tax on U.S. exports that do not meet global standards.
In other words, the rest of the world should go ahead and implement the Paris accord. If the U.S. chooses to remain outside the accord, then there should be duties charged on American exports based on the amount of fossil fuels used in their manufacture.
This implies at least a couple of things.
The first is that the Paris accord will not fall apart. Fortunately, so far no other nations have indicated they plan to defect.
The second is that there be some kind of accord beyond the accord – that there be some decision-making system that would give the Paris accord enforcement teeth.
That seems likely. Many European leaders were shocked by Trump’s behavior during the recent G7 summit, his lack of support for NATO, and then his announcement about the Paris accord.
German chancellor Angele Merkel met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi shortly after Trump returned to the U.S., and then with Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang.
She said, “The times in which we can fully count on others are somewhat over, as I have experienced in the past few days.”
A three-way Eurasian alliance to take on global problems such as climate change is not beyond the realm of possibility.
This would tie in with China’s trillion dollar initiative to revitalize the Silk Road – the ancient trading network across central Asia.
Where Russia would fit into this is not clear. There seems to mounting evidence that President Putin did his best to interfere in the American election to make sure that Hilary Clinton did not become president. He might now regret those actions.
The U.S. and Russia together hold about 90 per cent of the world’s nuclear weapons.
Theoretically, they could get together and tell everyone else what to do. Russia would be very much the junior partner in such a coalition, however, something that Mr. Putin would not like.
As far as climate change is concerned, the correct solution is going to have to include carbon fee-and-dividend – charging a fee on fossil fuels similar to a carbon tax, and then distributing all the money raised as equal dividends to everyone.
In order to be adequately effective, carbon fee-and-dividend would need to be global.
A worldwide fossil fuel fee set at the same level as B.C.’s carbon tax of $30 per tonne would raise enough revenue to give every adult human being on the planet dividends totalling about $200 annually.
Such a system would require a stronger and more democratic United Nations to administer it.
The world faces major challenges on a number of fronts, not just climate change, but also issues such as growing socio- economic inequality. With a rogue superpower being led by a person who advocates many of the wrong solutions, perhaps there is a chance the rest of the world can unite to implement the correct ones.