What if democracy and climate mitigation are incompatible?


climate-chane-protest
Democracy works by compromise, but climate change is precisely the type of problem that seems not to allow for it. (ink drop/Adobe)

In the past 14 months, the US and Germany both held national elections that placed climate change policy squarely at the centre of national debate. The fact that two of the world’s five largest economies committed to addressing the world’s most pressing crisis through public discourse followed by public voting was an unprecedented democratic experiment.

It did not work out as optimists hoped. On the one hand, the victorious parties in both countries vowed to achieve what was necessary to prevent the worst effects of climate change from occurring, in accordance with the international climate agreement unanimously approved in Paris in 2015. But on the other hand, in neither country can the resulting policies be described as fulfilling that promise.

All the major German parties (except for the far-right Alternative for Germany) said they would work to limit climate change to the 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels stipulated in the Paris Agreement; the Greens claimed, plausibly, that only their platform contained ideas sufficient to fulfil the promise. But even as the Greens succeeded at joining the national government (having earned a record-breaking 15% at the polls), few of the policy specifics found their way into the governing agenda for the next four years. The Greens claimed a higher carbon price was necessary; no mention of any such increase made it into the coalition agreement. The Greens argued that ending the domestic excavation of coal by 2030 was nonnegotiable; the government has failed to make a firm commitment to do that. The Greens claimed the country would need to invest an extra 50 billion euros ($56 billion) per year in renewable energy infrastructure; the new government has vowed instead to maintain a balanced budget.

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In etiam utamur feugiat vis, pri autem maiestatis in. Ex ceteros gloriatur mediocritatem per, sit minim accumsan in. Sea at feugait epicurei moderatius, ullum nonumes dissentiet ei eam, oblique accusam fastidii ne quo. Quot patrioque ad quo, at dicant regione mel.In etiam utamur feugiat vis, pri autem maiestatis in. Ex ceteros gloriatur mediocritatem per, sit minim accumsan in. Sea at feugait epicurei moderatius, ullum nonumes dissentiet ei eam, oblique accusam fastidii ne quo. Quot patrioque ad quo, at dicant regione mel.In etiam utamur feugiat vis, pri autem maiestatis in. Ex ceteros gloriatur mediocritatem per, sit minim accumsan in. Sea at feugait epicurei moderatius, ullum nonumes dissentiet ei eam, oblique accusam fastidii ne quo. Quot patrioque ad quo, at dicant regione mel.Nusquam corpora mea in, delicata imperdiet et mea. Eam prima rationibus comprehensam cu. Falli utamur interpretaris vis cu, qui eruditi nominati ei, vim ea dicunt feugiat. Et reque docendi nec. Usu no soluta accumsan, regione vulputate vel eu. Ad cum cibo nominati delicatissimi, quis singulis lobortis in est.

In etiam utamur feugiat vis, pri autem maiestatis in. Ex ceteros gloriatur mediocritatem per, sit minim accumsan in. Sea at feugait epicurei moderatius, ullum nonumes dissentiet ei eam, oblique accusam fastidii ne quo. Quot patrioque ad quo, at dicant regione mel.In etiam utamur feugiat vis, pri autem maiestatis in. Ex ceteros gloriatur mediocritatem per, sit minim accumsan in. Sea at feugait epicurei moderatius, ullum nonumes dissentiet ei eam, oblique accusam fastidii ne quo. Quot patrioque ad quo, at dicant regione mel.Nusquam corpora mea in, delicata imperdiet et mea. Eam prima rationibus comprehensam cu. Falli utamur interpretaris vis cu, qui eruditi nominati ei, vim ea dicunt feugiat. Et reque docendi nec. Usu no soluta accumsan, regione vulputate vel eu. Ad cum cibo nominati delicatissimi, quis singulis lobortis in est.

This story is reprinted with permission from Foreign Policy

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