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World Government, Part II

In this post I will assume that climate change has accelerated and that its unwelcome consequences – rising seas with monster, more frequent storms; new heat and water normals cutting food production; pestilences and shortages killing many more people – have become strong enough so that most people, and most of their political leaders, are open to radical measures. Objections to reasonable steps that could slow and then reverse climate change, such as those discussed in “World Government, Part I,” are overruled. What would our brave new world look like?

A fundamental ingredient to a world government fighting climate change is a militarized police entity, a force powerful enough to stop human actions anywhere in the world which lead to climate change. That force would have broad jurisdiction and powers as needed to fulfill the mission against unreasonable human-caused strains on natural systems. No nation would have veto power over the force’s actions, and each would contribute resources for its missions as required. There would be a series of checks and balances, that I do not even try to imagine, to insure that the police force did not exceed its limited, climate change, mandate. The armed police force would be the supreme authority within the confines of its charter.

There is some precedent for large political authorities in empires. The Roman, Han Chinese, and Muslim empires each ruled over a wide mix of peoples for hundreds of years, and each enforced uniform laws throughout their empires. Conquered peoples were sometimes assimilated and adopted the conqueror’s language, customs and laws. People subjected to climate change police controls might, in time, adopt those standards as their own and the need for police force would be minimized. One distinction is that past empires were created through physical violence, by the sword. The world government discussed here requires nations to surrender voluntarily part of their sovereignty as they create an independent military force.

Arguably,in an increasingly inter-dependent world a country would surrender some of its sovereignty to an international police authority in order to protect itself. Once enough nations consented to the creation of the police entity and its rules, none could withdraw from the agreement, and any dissidents would be forced to comply. No person and no nation could be allowed to pollute the world’s air, land or water beyond limits approved by the global climate change police.

I imagine two dark alternatives to the police force solution described above. If Homo sapiens fails to act wisely, the result of large, continuing climate changes could be a fragmented, violent world like Hollywood imagines following nuclear war or epidemic, uncontrolled disease. A second bad scenario is a world dictatorship. There seems to be a contagious virus among leaders of powerful countries – Putin in Russia, Trump in the United States, Yi in China – for their own authoritarian rule. It’s conceivable they are right, and that climate change hardships will push us away from democracy towards authoritarian ideas and governments which reject all that is “democratic” or “liberal.”

On the optimistic side, Pope Francis offers us a running start towards environmental wisdom in his 2015 encyclical titled “Laudato Si: On Care for our Common Home.” The Earth is loaned to us; it is not a limitless candy store or an infinite garbage dump. We are counseled to treat the Earth with respect and to hand it on to others in the best condition we can. And to respect and to love each other The pope orders it.


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