Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Now thats what i call undemocratic power...

Political, i`m starting to realise it's the only way to be.

In the UK, tabloid papers (and my parents) regularly get wound up about the increasing power they perceive as being ceded to Europe from national Parliaments. I see this as largely unfounded, in the areas that i am interested in Europe generally has a positive role to play. Nation states are not limited to European standards for there climate policies for example, bu they are bound by minimum requirements. I`m not sure where Europe is going on biofuels at the moment, but this could conceivably be a counter to my views as europe as a generally positive phenomenon. Whatever happens, the framework for review and accountability is well established, as explained in this fascinating podcast by Andrew Moravcsik, Professor of Politics at Princeton University (it gets started at minute 20 after lots of introduction that can be skipped).

One set of institutions that are, however, blatantly without popular mandate and grossly unrepresentative of the people are the so called Brettons Woods institutions: The World Bank, World Trade Organisation and International Monetary Fund. If you haven't read capitalism and it's discontents yet, then please do!

As i started by saying, dealing with environmental issues, or indeed broader ones such as climate change is political, you have to look at neo-liberalism and what it has done to the planet and say, this cannot continue if we wish to survive let alone prosper. If talk of political/economic ideologies is to much for contemporary environmental organisations then they need to change.

When did you last see the WWF, Conservation International the RSPB or any other major conservation charity get seriously political? In 'The Death of Environmentalism' this ies exactly the argument being made by the authors. In 'Capitalism asif The World Matters' Jonathon Porritt makes the same case. Finally, to get to the point, the UK's parliamentary environmental watchdog has published a report showing just how destructive the WTO is, particularly in stymieing vital environmental legislation.

It is clear that the relationship between trade liberalisation and the environment is an uneasy one. It appears that the main international focus has been on the liberalisation of trade, with the benefits that this may bring, while failing to recognise the full environmental or social impacts that this liberalisation may have. It is paramount that, where liberalisation is pursued, effective accompanying measures are adopted to prevent or limit the environmental and social impacts. Without such measures, international trade liberalisation is only likely to add to environmental degradation.

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Climate Change Action

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