To Fight Climate Change, Strengthen Global Democracy

Sam Deese, BU College of General Studies senior lecturer and author of Climate Change and the Future of Democracy, is presenting his ideas at the Climate Democracy and Justice Summit, July 22–26, 2019, in Corfu and Epirus, Greece. Photo by Steve Prue

The Brink: We’ve known that climate change requires global action for a long time now, but international efforts haven’t gotten us very far. Why is that?

Because of those failures, your book argues we need to democratize international institutions to meet the threat of climate change. What does that mean?

A story published last year in The Atlantic warned that climate change is already damaging American democracy: “All of these forecasts envision a world in which major disasters weaken states and deepen conflicts, breaking safety nets and alliances alike.” Have you seen major changes on this front, between the time you started the book and the time that it was published?

The latest US effort on climate change comes in the package of a “Green New Deal.” How effectively does the Green New Deal address the issues you talk about in your book and research?

You say that as climate change puts nations under extreme stress, they can respond in two ways: by embracing nationalism, or by fostering greater political integration with other democracies around the world. We’re living in a moment where the president of the United States has said openly, “I’m a nationalist” to cheers from supporters. Which direction do you think the world is going right now?

Why do you think that some people are finding nationalism to be the attractive option?

In looking at the history of nationalism, you say the rise of militaristic nationalism has caused extensive environmental destruction and even corrupted science by tying science to the national security state. What are some examples of that?

You say that the world is marching toward becoming a single global civilization, and there’s no reason to assume that its form of governance will be democratic. What is our best hope of making sure that it is?

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Cutting-edge research and commentary out of Boston University, home to Nobel laureates, Pulitzer winners and Guggenheim Scholars. Find an expert: bu.edu/experts

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BU Experts

BU Experts

Cutting-edge research and commentary out of Boston University, home to Nobel laureates, Pulitzer winners and Guggenheim Scholars. Find an expert: bu.edu/experts

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