Of the major issues plaguing the world right now, climate change tops the list with its scientific, social and political implications. In contemporary times the climate crisis has emerged as a potent threat to international peace and security. It is not only dangerous for the bio species but the states as well. Despite being the most hazardous issue, climate change has been recklessly neglected by the global society – especially the major emitters (China 28%, the USA 15%, and nations in the European Union more than 21%) of the CO2. Another factor to be considered beyond the negligence of these states and the failure of climate diplomacy is the policy these states adopt to survive in the international system. Asking why the UNFCCC, WHO, and other liberal institutions are completely failing in addressing this issue on a global level, might be a good question, to begin with.
Since the dawn of this century, states have become preoccupied with the maintenance of peace and security in an international arena. Many of these have started to negotiate on the issues like climate change and food insecurities. Nevertheless, the diplomatic actions haven’t turned out to be very fruitful. The COP summits, the Paris agreement in 2015, and the recent Glasgow pact among 120 leader countries in December 2021, which were all touted as the major undertakings to save the planet, haven’t delivered much either. These diplomatic ventures like the net-zero emission deal, sustainable development goals, an adaptation of climate, and financing the climate actions have failed to address the core issues impeding an effective climate change struggle on a global scale.
No matter how many times climate change activists like Greta Thunberg and others plead before governments and corporations, until and unless states act in the best interest of their citizens and not a handful of technocratic elites, national policies will always be coming to blows with climate change diplomacy.
One of the problems seems to be the motives shaping the states’ foreign policy. That might explain why the institutions are failing to bring better outcomes out of these negotiations when the national interests of some of the member states under the influence of oligarchic corporate elites clash with a collective human interest. No matter how many times climate change activists like Greta Thunberg and others plead before governments and corporations, until and unless states act in the best interest of their citizens and not a handful of the technocratic elite, national policies will always be coming to blows with climate change diplomacy.
Likewise, the capitalist interests in the Third World which have been sucking most of the underdeveloped countries dry for decades, cannot be countered only through individual acts of resistance. For instance, in the case of Nigeria where the multinational corporations have chopped most of the forestry down leaving droughts and water shortages to wreak havoc on the populace, the country doesn’t have a shot at being compensated for these irreparable damages despite repeated protests by the locals. If we take a glance at the world’s forest concentration, research shows that since the beginning of the 21st century only 18% of the world’s forests on the land are protected and over four hundred and twenty million hectares of forest have been lost; till 2010, every year 15.5 million hectares of forest were destroyed. These damning stats push us to conclude that neoliberal doctrine promising endless prosperity and economic globalization, have only accelerated the destruction of our home. And yet with the dark clouds of a possible catastrophe of an unprecedented scale hovering not far down the road, the nation-states and international organizations seem not to care any less.
This nonchalance on part of the states has resulted in their failure to employ diplomatic tools to attenuate the risk of climate change. To conclude my analysis, I’d emphasize that there is a dire need for an effective international government to resist the major emitters of CO2 and compel them to pay for their actions. Additionally, it needs to put in place cohesive rules for successful diplomatic assessments and bring long-lasting solutions to the table.