6.7.5 Environmental Challenges from a Political Viewpoint

(This is a current page, from the Patterns of Power Edition 3 book contents.  An archived copy of this page is held at https://www.patternsofpower.org/edition03/675.htm)

There are several environmental challenges – resource shortages, pollution, disease and climate change – which require collective action to be taken.  These challenges range in subsidiarity from local issues, where a company might contaminate the neighbourhood water supply for example, through to national, continental and global issues.

The economic aspects of these challenges have already been mentioned (3.5.7), but political agreement is needed to put the necessary arrangements in place.  The associated moral issues (4.3.5.3) come to the surface in the political debate around them.

This topic is subdivided as follows:

  • There are economic remedies for resource shortages, but that doesn’t prevent them from being politicised (6.7.5.1).
  • Political co-operation is necessary, and has been achieved, on pollution and disease (6.7.5.2); issues constantly arise.
  • There is much political controversy about how to address climate change (6.7.5.3); this inhibits progress on the issue.
  • Global political initiatives have to overcome national self-interest but have nonetheless led to the ParisAccord, which enables countries to set targets and monitor progress to limit the human impact on climate change (6.7.5.4) – but, in June 2017, President Trump withdrew American agreement.

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