[ARCHIVE] Beyond baseless borders

Originally Published Nov 8, 2018

Toby Fitzpatrick

2021-06-12 1 min read

Carbon dioxide emission into the atmosphere is a driver of climate change through temperature rise. As individual Nation States we all have a cumulative historic emission. Looking at the interactive map below (courtesy of Our World In Data) one can directly see the perpetrators of temperature rise – the usual suspects.

A second, revealing graph (below) shows Europe (yellow) and North America (dark green) contently pinned to the left-hand side. The perpetrators of climate change are also the richest.

Carbon dioxide does not respect borders, thus the countries most affected by climate change are neither responsible for (energetically) nor capable of (economically) effecting future change.

Therefore, as our societies affect the whole globe, we need to arbitrate on which kind of global society we will become. A society that views international politics as the conflicts and acquisitions of Nation States? Or one that sanctifies individual liberty and market-led economics? It is becoming clear that we need a system that is based on Earth’s natural capacity to change. How far will we let humans increase its temperature; or hunt its species to extinction; or pollute its marine life; or make its regions uninhabitable?

This is a key realisation in the migration debate. Here the South Pacific nation Kiribati’s climate-refugees-in-waiting are a paradigm; sea level rise projections predict that their atoll nations could become fully submerged by the end of the century. We need to build a global society that respects the natural planetary boundaries, so that Kiribati people aren’t forced to leave an actualised Atlantis/