Since global warming is now a widely accepted scientific theory, many countries realize the need for a remedy to this problem. Global warming is unique, because it potentially affects all nations and all peoples, and in turn, all economies and political structures (Paterson, 1996). There exists an intense need to solve the problems associated with global warming, or, at least begin to mitigate the results of global warming in order for the global community to continue to function smoothly and relatively peacefully.
The problems associated with global warming were brought on by nearly every industrialized nation in the world. Therefore, every nation has a stake in the solution. Whether or not these solutions are mutually beneficial is of great concern, since they affect everyone. Therefore, countries have begun to develop policies regarding the way they intend to handle this problem, and the changes they will make accordingly. Some countries have pledged billions of dollars worth of technology and man power in helping to stop global warming from severely affecting the globe, while others see the issue of global warming as the perfect opportunity to benefit economically from solutions to the problem (Pierson, David and Tankersley, Jim, 2009). Countries that have a wealth of carbon dioxide reducing resources, such as Brazil and Russia, realize that they need to protect their rainforests and other populations of vegetation from deforestation and desertification. By doing so, they are creating certain economic responsibilities and results, which could greatly impact their economies (Paterson, 1996). Russia's timber exports will likely drop as conservationists argue for less deforestation. But Russia has the opportunity to benefit economically from large investments in alternative energy sources such as wind power, hydroelectric dam projects, and the reinforcement of a network of nuclear power plants.
Through the shared responsibility of fighting global warming, countries can use bargaining chips such as their willingness to regulate their emissions or the export of renewable resources. Because of global warming, the ideas of mercantilism, liberalism, and structuralism are all tied together with a common thread. Countries realize, as mercantilists believed, that certain key resources in the fight against global warming exist within their borders, and that their ability to exploit these resources will directly affect the key issue. They also realize that through individual rights and responsibilities and that humans as individuals have the responsibility to reduce their consumption and help fight global warming as well.
It's not just the governments that are responsible for making large-scale changes; it's the individuals that can help on a one-on-one basis. The structuralist philosophy also comes into play because as countries begin to more closely examine the root causes of global warming, they are hinging to confront cultural issues and issues arising from tradition and norm. To successfully fight against global warming, people will need to change their behavior and habits, even if that means they will no longer support certain traditions. This change can only occur if humans understand their traditions and cultures enough to be able to step back and analyze them for what they are and for the potential they have to either add to the problems that global warming has caused or help fight against them.
Different countries have proposed different solutions, mostly based on their own economic and political self-interests. For example, China and the U.S. are unwilling to commit to a 25% decrease in carbon emissions, as many other countries have been willing to (Pierson, David and Tankersley, Jim, 2009). Yet both China and the U.S. realize that even though their economy could potentially suffer in the short-term from emissions cut backs, that in the long-term, if global warming is left unchecked, that their economies could suffer even worse fates. This year's Copenhagen Climate Conference in Denmark is another excellent recent example of the international dialogue taking place regarding global warming. Whatever agreements are reached regarding a solution to the problem of global warming, everyone realizes that it will take a joint effort, through shared responsibility and action to adequately and successfully overcome the problems associated with it.
Cohen, Benjamin J. (2008) International Political Economy: An Intellectual History. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Grieco, Jospeh M. And Ikenberry, John G. (2002) State Power and World Markets: The International Political Economy. New York, NY: W.W. Norton and Company.
Paterson, Matthew. (1996). Global Warming and Global Politics. New York, NY: Routledge.
Pierson, David and Tankersley, Jim. (2009). "China's climate pledge raises expectations for Copenhagen summit."…