Friday, December 18, 2009

Copenhagen - A Test of Global Cooperation

Unfortunately, I've been too busy this week to post much about what's been going on at the COP15 in Copenhagen, but I'll just say that the outcome of this conference (still uncertain at this time, an hour after it was scheduled to finish) is very important for long-term cooperative security.

Climate change presents a true (if long-term) threat to global security, and only through collective action can the world address it.  The costs, when spread over the long term, are not insurmountable, but the political problem is who will pay?  That is what Copenhagen has been all about.  If we cannot come together as a global community to meet this challenge, it is difficult to see how we can confront the other 21st Century challenges that will also require global coordination.

If cooperation can be achieved in Copenhagen, I think there's a good chance that we can set a precedent for long-term global cooperation on many challenges, including food security, financial regulation, trade imbalances, regional security, and counterterrorism.  On the other hand, if Copenhagen fails, and the world is unable to come to any agreement on how to insure against climate change, then I think there's a good chance that the global order will gradually fray as nations move towards a more competitive - versus cooperative - framework for international relations.

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