Climate Change and Global Governance

The following paper by Henrique Schneider* was presented at the IV. ECAEF/CEPROM Conference on ‘Towards a Viable Alternative: Markets and Entrepreneurship to Protect the Environment’, 10 December 2019. Initiated by the European Center for Austrian Economics Foundation based in the Principality of Liechtenstein, this academic conference series is dedicated to the eminent late French scholar Jacques Rueff. The co-operation with CEPROM (Le Centre d’Etudes Prospectives pour Monaco) was highly appreciated.

Climate Change and Global Governance:
A Dilemma

by Henrique Schneider

Margaret Thatcher, in her autobiography, analyzes the centralizing tendencies of the European Union (EU). According to her, these tendencies are not the outcomes of one, single, benevolent or malevolent central force; instead, they are the result of a web of alliances and entangled motives. Thatcher diagnoses that:

The Franco-German federalist project was wholeheartedly supported by a variety of different elements within the Community – by poorer southern countries who expected a substantial payoff in exchange for its accomplishment; by northern businesses which hoped to foist their own high costs on to the competitors; by socialists because of the scope it offered for state intervention; by Christian Democrats whose political tradition was firmly corporatist; and, of course by the Commission which saw itself as the nucleus of a supranational government. (Thatcher 1993, p. 728)

Thatcher is equally alert to the problems such alliances pose, especially when they claim to be vehicles of a “moral good” or an “ideal”: “I had by now heard about as much of the European ‘ideal’ as I could take … In the name of this ideal, waste, corruption, and abuse of power were reaching levels which no one … could have foreseen” (ibid., p. 727).

While Thatcher’s specific critique targets the EU, the dynamics she describes can easily also be applied to the global debate on climate change. Since its launch in 1992, the administrative corpus and the international agreements under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) have been growing. With its subsidiary bodies, panels, agencies, mechanisms, instruments, protocols, decisions, and secretariats, its annual climate conventions attract around 20,000 people, who gladly jet around the planet – to such locations as Rio de Janeiro, Bali, Santiago de Chile, Marrakesh, or Cancún – to press for action against climate change. In these negotiations, climate action almost always entails central planning and global governance …

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Climate Change and Global Governance: A Dilemma (.docx)


* Henrique Schneider is a professor of economics at the Nordkademie University of Applied Sciences in Elmshorn, Germany and chief economist of the Swiss Federation of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises in Bern, Switzerland.


List of all Papers of the Conference

Kurt Leube:
Towards a Viable Alternative (.docx)

Terry L. Anderson:
Nature and Markets (.docx)

Johan Norberg:
Apocalypes Not (.docx)

Alex Kaiser:
Saving Nature from Politics (.docx)

Hardy Bouillon:
On the Misuse of Reason and Science (.docx)

Henrique Schneider:
Climate Change and Global Governance (.docx)

Pedro Schwartz:
The Tragedy of the Commons and Emerging Property Rights