A strong social capital is a prerequisite for cohesive climate action
- We must broaden our sense of community to attain climate targets. Let’s not have a consensual approach to the crisis elude us for lack of social capital.
I am likely to get into trouble with many of my friends for saying this, but I think the world is making extraordinary progress towards addressing climate change. It might not be fast enough to achieve emissions and temperature targets that follow from the IPCC’s studies, but in the past 15 years, we have seen first a scientific consensus and then a global political consensus on the problem definition, followed by convergence on approaches and firm international agreements on targets and timelines. Climate activists remain unsatisfied, but for students of international relations, this kind of progress is unprecedented, not least at a time when the world lacks a stable order, technological change is causing social upheavals everywhere and hundreds of millions of people around the world have entered the middle class. Regardless of how its outcomes are judged, the mere fact that CoP-28 is happening at all is remarkable. Seeing how global trade talks, UN reform and cyber governance have fallen by the wayside, there is reason to be cautiously optimistic that the world’s governments are taking climate seriously.