In his book “Solving Climate Change: Transforming International Politics” John Bunzl, the founder of Simpol explains in detail how climate change can never be solved by on nation acting alone. In the first instance this is because nations must, at all costs, maintain their competitiveness in the global marketplace. The first to move would incur large costs to business which would in turn, result in a potentially catastrophic loss of inward investment and jobs. No politician will take this risk.
It is, at least in theory possible for changes to be made by nations acting together via treaty or other internationally agreed means. In this group we have the efforts made via Kyoto and, more recently, copenhagen. Why then have these international efforts not produced any substantial rsults to deal with climate change.
The first of these is the lobbyists. There are powerful voices of industry that speak into the ears of government to tell them to keep the status quo. Politicians are told that jobs will be lost, GDP will go down and so on. Here, as in other areas, Simpol offers a voice and a mechanism to citizens around the world so that they too might be heard.
But it is also true to say that there are plenty of businesses who want to do what is right and to protect the planet. They however are under the exact same constraints as governments of course. They must maintain their competitiveness and so cannot take any action which might damage that.
What we have here, then, is fear. The key factor that prevents any real change from occurring is the fear that someone somewhere will not play by the rules, will take a ‘free ride’ and so those that act conscientiously will lose out in the end.
In the case of business it can be argued that this simply makes practical sense. A business exists for the purpose of making money. There is no inherent social aspect to a corporation – only that which is put in place voluntary by the people within it or that imposed on it by government.
With governments and nations, by contrast, there is very much a social aspect that should be equal to the monetary aspect. In today’s world though this balance has become an imbalance. The system of destructive international competition creates a total focus on money that fatally undermines attempts at social justice (or indeed anything else).
With business becoming transnational the balance is completely undone because there is not even a method of governance in existence to try to strike this balance at the global level.
In the book, John Bunzl argues that it is this ‘nation centric’ world view, above all, that makes dealing with global problems impossible generally. In this light, climate change is transformed from being the problem to simply a symptom of the larger disease (albeit a pretty serious symptom!).
It is this inadequate and out-dated world view that we must attempt to counter if humanity is to evolve to a more co-operative and sustainable world. If we fail to make this evolution of consciousness and conscience we risk descent into chaos and perhaps even, ultimately, extinction.
It is here that Simpol shines out as a means to make this evolution possible. Genuine global grassroots democracy leads, eventually but inexorably towards appropriate global governance.
It is notable, though, that Simpol is not intended to compete with other NGOs who are attempting to mitigate the onset and effects of global problems (such as climate change). There are very many such NGOs – from the well known big charities like Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth to perhaps lesser known entities like transition towns.
Simpol offers to those NGOs a parallel strategy by which they can globalise their concerns and move through democratic means towards real change.
It is only in this way that we can hope to face the global problems with which we are afflicted and move toward a better, more cooperative and sustainable future.