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Bringing climate change into global governance

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Little can happen in this world without economic support. So it follows that little will happen in the climate realm until the international financial architecture is revamped to drive positive climate change responses, including increased energy efficiency and robust renewable energy programs.

Of course, historically, concerted efforts to remold the international order are infrequent. The 1884 Berlin Conference, which divided the world into purviews of the chief colonial powers, and the 1919 post-World War I Paris Summit, during which the League of Nations was born, are two lesser attempts. A much more significant attempt took place in 1944, when Western delegates gathered in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, to map out a new economic order. Guided by the able hand of John Maynard Keynes and intent on revolutionizing global diplomacy and finance, the delegates established three monetary rules: (1) allow for the free trade in goods; (2) permit fixed exchange rates; and (3) establish constraints on the international flow of capital. These principles led to the establishment of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and what became the World Trade Organization. Lest we forget, the United Nations also was born in this post-war period.

Like all life on Earth, plants are victims of climate change and rising carbon dioxide levels. Unfortunately, humans are not very sensitive to the changes in the plant world, or its implications.

In this article, Lewis Ziska and Paul Epstein detail the often ignored effects of climate change on plant biology, and explain how this affects human health.

"We suffer in many ways from what can be called plant blindness,” they write. They discuss the need to integrate plant biology into our understanding of public health.

Climate change is one of the most pressing global issues of our time. It is a challenge that affects every country, every community, and every person on this planet. Despite the widespread recognition of the threat of climate change, the world has been slow to take meaningful action to address it. One key way to address this issue is by bringing climate change into global governance.

Global governance refers to the institutions, norms, and rules that govern international relations. It is a system that includes organizations like the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, and the World Health Organization. While global governance has been effective in addressing many issues, it has not yet been able to effectively address climate change. This is because climate change is a complex and multifaceted issue that requires a coordinated effort from all countries.

To bring climate change into global governance, we need to start by recognizing that it is a global issue that requires a global solution. This means that all countries need to work together to develop and implement effective policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the effects of climate change.

One way to do this is by establishing a new global institution focused specifically on climate change. This institution would bring together representatives from all countries to coordinate global efforts to address climate change. It could have the authority to set targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, provide funding for climate adaptation projects, and enforce international climate agreements.

Another approach is to integrate climate change into existing global governance structures. For example, the United Nations could create a new agency focused on climate change, or it could expand the mandate of existing agencies to include climate change. This would ensure that climate change is given the attention it deserves and that it is integrated into all aspects of global governance.

To be effective, any global governance approach to climate change must be inclusive and take into account the needs and perspectives of all countries, particularly those that are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. This means that developing countries must be included in the decision-making process and provided with the necessary resources to implement climate change policies.

In addition to global governance structures, we also need to address the underlying economic and political factors that contribute to climate change. This means transitioning to a low-carbon economy and implementing policies that incentivize businesses and individuals to reduce their carbon footprint. It also means addressing the power dynamics that often hinder progress on climate change, such as the influence of the fossil fuel industry on policy-making.

Bringing climate change into global governance is a critical step in addressing this pressing global issue. By working together on a global scale, we can develop and implement effective policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the effects of climate change. This requires a coordinated effort from all countries, and it must prioritize the needs and perspectives of those most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. The time to act is now, and we must act together.

Aaron Bernstein, MD, MPH

Aaron Bernstein is the Interim Director of The Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment, a pediatrician at Boston Children’s Hospital, and an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics.

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