Abstract

The topic of ‘Anthopocene’ is part of a larger narrative, which is shedding light on the underpinnings of the problem: human beings and their value systems. The concept of ‘narrative’ is crucial in this regard. Narratives convey certain values, translate complex rational or irrational theories and policies into comprehensible forms, and contribute to their acceptance by public at large. The narrative of constant growth, never-ending economic and technological progress, and dominance of humans over nature is slowly confronted with its limitations. According to Vaclav Havel, it is a paradox: humans in the age of science and technology believe they are improving their lives by mastering the laws of nature and exploiting nature. However, it is the contrary: it is these natural laws that prevail over humans and will penalize them for wrongdoing. Humans wanted to conquer nature, and as a result they destroyed it. A change of the narrative is inevitably needed: Civilization needs to be based on a revived and recreated responsibility of the humankind, respecting the boundaries of the natural world. The narratives of science need to serve this cause as well, otherwise, even the bold visions of Elon Musk and other visionaries of colonizing Mars would only be escapes from the primary task of humans, which is taking over the responsibility for our lives and lives of future generations on the planet. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has referred to climate change as ‘a change in the state of the climate that can be identified by changes in the mean and/or variability of its properties, and that persists for an extended period, typically decades or longer. It refers to any change in climate over time, whether due to natural variability or as a result of human activity.’ The wording is slightly different from the one used by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which refers to climate change as ‘a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and that is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods.’ What is important to note here is that IPCC is more cautious than UNFCCC in terms of blaming humans for climate change. This chapter briefly examines these theoretical aspects and its impact in the international negotiations.
Full Paper
Paolo Davide Farah
Founder, President and Director

Summary

The topic of ‘Anthopocene’ is part of a larger narrative, which is shedding light on the underpinnings of the problem: human beings and their value systems. The concept of ‘narrative’ is crucial in this regard. Narratives convey certain values, translate complex rational or irrational theories and policies into comprehensible forms, and contribute to their acceptance by public at large. The narrative of constant growth, never-ending economic and technological progress, and dominance of humans over nature is slowly confronted with its limitations. According to Vaclav Havel, it is a paradox: humans in the age of science and technology believe they are improving their lives by mastering the laws of nature and exploiting nature. However, it is the contrary: it is these natural laws that prevail over humans and will penalize them for wrongdoing. Humans wanted to conquer nature, and as a result they destroyed it. A change of the narrative is inevitably needed: Civilization needs to be based on a revived and recreated responsibility of the humankind, respecting the boundaries of the natural world. The narratives of science need to serve this cause as well, otherwise, even the bold visions of Elon Musk and other visionaries of colonizing Mars would only be escapes from the primary task of humans, which is taking over the responsibility for our lives and lives of future generations on the planet. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has referred to climate change as ‘a change in the state of the climate that can be identified by changes in the mean and/or variability of its properties, and that persists for an extended period, typically decades or longer. It refers to any change in climate over time, whether due to natural variability or as a result of human activity.’ The wording is slightly different from the one used by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which refers to climate change as ‘a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and that is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods.’ What is important to note here is that IPCC is more cautious than UNFCCC in terms of blaming humans for climate change. This chapter briefly examines these theoretical aspects and its impact in the international negotiations.

glawcal comments

articles

Our concerns

The growth in green energy investments worldwide is an important reality and rising trends are to be expected in the future. When designing the proper policy agenda for renewable energy investments, we must take into consideration the legal, regulatory and political frameworks in both developing and developed countries. gLAWcal aims at analyzing national approaches on the matter, combining scientific, social and economic considerations. At the same time, it wishes to develop partnerships among European and non-European institutions, so as to deliver an integrated approach on sustainable energy investments, combining global and local perspectives.
The need to prevent the abuse of intellectual property rights by right holders or the resort to practices which unreasonably restrain trade or adversely affect the international transfer of technology are topical issues that affects international relations. It is crucial for developing countries to achieve a substantive degree of IPR protection, not only for the promotion of creativity and innovation, but also for the maximization of technology transfer from developed countries. gLAWcal examines IPR regimes and their impact on competition with the objective of providing a better understanding of the competition-dimension of IP rights. Intellectual property rights are also extremely crucial to sustainable development in manifold ways, from the protection of traditional knowledge and cultural products, to access to essential medicines. Our organization focuses on the policy frameworks and institutions shaping debate and policy development in this sector.
In the last fifteen years, all around the world there has been a tendency to put much hope in the rise of civil society, its emergence being welcomed as a sign of progress towards a more democratic system. Many places in the world are today laboratories for change thanks to bottom-up movements supported by civil society organizations. By looking at contentious politics and how they converge and interact with institutional politics, we can better understand what directions a country’s political system and its governance is taking. gLAWcal supports collective forms of actions aimed at the creation of better societies, on many social issues, and in various geographical areas.
Improvements in people’s economic wellbeing have increased citizen demands for a cleaner environment. As societies undergo the transition to industrial development and modernity, their citizens begin to concern themselves with needs and wants beyond the material, including the protection of the environment. However, growing levels of environmental consciousness and awareness are often not matched by proper environmental legislation enforcement at the local level. gLAWcal looks at environmental rights developments in developing countries, and aims at delivering policy advices and capacity building support in areas where law implementation is lacking. With this purpose, our organization seeks to improve environmental protection not only for the benefit of the populations directly affected, but also for the sake of the entire planet.
Globalization, and the consequent international exchange of goods, services, cultures, ideas, has brought increased wealth for many on the one hand, while exerting pressure on core societal values both in developed and developing countries on the other hand. Public opinion and policy makers have warned against the threat posed by international trade and liberalization to policies and measures meant to protect the so-called non-trade concerns (NTC), such as environmental protection, sustainable development, good governance, cultural rights, labour rights, public health, social welfare, national security, food safety, access to knowledge, consumer interests and animal welfare.When trying to protect these issues, developed countries have put into place trade measures that have encountered resistance or dissent in developing countries, being perceived as protectionist actions or as an attempt by the importing countries to impose their social, ethical and cultural values on exporting countries.The challenge of integrating Non-Trade Concerns embodies the willingness to overcome national egoisms and embrace universally a number of fundamental values, creating an ethical and juridical platform to win over cultural differences and issues of national sovereignty. gLAWcal’s research aims at identifying ways to protect NTC within international economic law. By shedding new light on developing countries’ trends towards inclusion of NTC in the domestic and international arena, gLAWcal provides a comprehensive perspective on law enforcement, creating a bridge between the international and the domestic realities.

Our events