Cooperation through Global Citizenship

With more nations more interconnected than ever and global problems taking on increasing importance, questions of local and global identity come into play. There are local citizens concerned foremost with their own nation and global citizens who are still concerned with the nation they live in, but also have an outgoing concern for other nations and an awareness of the connections between them. Although some may argue that claiming a national identity is more efficient in solving global problems because an attachment to one’s country provides a greater incentive to create change, it still limits those changes within a country’s borders. By contrast, global citizenship promotes prosocial behavior that encourages cooperation between countries because of an understanding that countries are interconnected and influence each other. This cooperation is essential in solving global problems because issues like climate change require radical changes across all nations.

For me, global citizenship is not a legal recognition in which one removes their nationality in favor of being a citizen of the world, rather it is a mindset in which one is aware of the connections between nations and strives to support other nations alongside the one they identify with. Therefore it allows one to keep their ties to whatever national identity they identify as while still striving towards cooperating with other nations and supporting them as well. Conversely, local citizenship does not strive for the same amount of cooperation because their main focus is essentially on their immediate nation. With global problems such as climate change being caused by every nation, cooperation is essential in making sure every nation is doing their part to prevent Earth’s temperature from rising.

As a result of a pressing need to address climate change through collaboration between nations, the Paris Climate Agreement was created to oversee regulations and allow nations to collaborate in the effort to avoid climate change disasters. Some of the major points included in the agreement include a goal of keeping Earth’s temperature from rising above 2°C, each country submitting plans on how they plan to tackle climate change, and developed countries providing financial and technical assistance to developing countries who need more resources in developing green energy. The global citizenship mindset promotes this sort of prosocial behavior that helps support other countries and creates collaboration.

Some would argue that the Paris Climate Agreement is not enough to stop climate change, and they would be correct. The Paris Climate Agreement was not designed to be the ultimate solution to climate change, merely a catapult for countries to cooperate and implement more drastic climate change plans. Admittedly, even this original purpose has not been fulfilled considering that many countries are not meeting the goals they set for themselves to reduce emission levels and have lacked in raising the necessary funds to support developing countries.

Despite this, the Paris Climate Agreement is still a vital treaty as it brings all nations together under one umbrella in order to have a common goal of keeping the Earth’s temperature under 2°C, creates a place to support developing countries, and places at least some accountability and incentive for each nation to transparently reveal how they are approaching climate change. Without the treaty countries could end up tackling climate change only when more severe consequences emerge, though by then it will be too late.

Along with the Paris Climate Agreement, nations need to adopt more of a global mindset approach for climate change by recognizing the fact that the success of tackling climate change depends on every country implementing drastic changes and supporting nations who do not have the resources to reduce emission levels. Currently only a few countries are on track to meet their emission goals, though that will not change the course of climate change if other nations are not doing the same. As a result of living under one atmosphere, the advances of developed nations to combat climate change will be fruitless if developing nations do not receive assistance and continue to emit greenhouse gases because they cannot afford alternative forms of energy. Therefore, the world needs cooperation across every country to avoid the disastrous consequences of climate change.

One would argue what incentive do nations have to invest in other nations if the primary goal of a nation would be to invest in their own advancement. This was the thinking of former President Trump towards the Paris Climate Agreement. Convinced that the agreement was against America’s interests, he pulled out of the agreement during his term claiming that the aid to developing countries was a “burden” on the United States and the treaty disadvantaged the United States because it “transfers [coal] jobs out of America…and ships them to foreign countries.”

On the contrary, it is in the interests of the United States to abide by the treaty and make sacrifices such as limiting our overconsumption of resources. The United States has an incentive to tackle climate change because the consequences of Earth’s rising temperature are already hitting the country. For example, climate change disasters such as California’s wildfires have only worsened over the years. California’s wildfires cost the United States millions of dollars, raise air pollution to dangerous levels, and endanger the lives of millions of residents. In other words, the United States’ failure to cooperate in tackling climate change will end up costing them much more than taking the initiative now to create sacrifices for the betterment of Earth’s climate. Additionally, while financial support for developing countries is expensive, the United States has a duty to support them as one of the biggest producers of greenhouse emissions and therefore one of the biggest contributors to climate change, the consequences of which will hit developing countries the hardest. The United States also has to support developing countries for the sake of their own future because if developing countries continue to emit greenhouse gases, then the Earth’s temperature will continue to rise, something the United States will not be able to avoid.

In conclusion, global citizenship encourages nations to cooperate and support each other, a strategy that is vital in tackling climate change because all nations are connected under one atmosphere. Nations now have two choices towards their approach to climate change. They could continue their lackluster efforts, which will result in an inhabitable planet, or they could cooperate with other nations, create more drastic climate change plans, and invest in developing nations. This approach will avoid the collapse of our ecosystems and make Earth a place where life can continue to flourish. The Earth’s future depends on whether nations are willing to adopt a global mindset of cooperation and support or seclusion and rivalry.

Sources

https://ww2.arb.ca.gov/our-work/programs/wildfires

https://www.vox.com/2017/6/1/15726638/trump-withdrawing-paris-climate-agreement-full-transcript

https://unfccc.int/process-and-meetings/the-paris-agreement/the-paris-agreement

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/09/world/asia/green-climate-fund-global-warming.html

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2019/11/nations-miss-paris-targets-climate-driven-weather-events-cost-billions/

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Amy Argueta

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