Climate Change and Westphalia

  • Will Hickey


Climate change is the most pressing global issue facing mankind today, arguably in history. Unanswered, it will cost our planet trillions of dollars and millions of lives. It is driven by burning excessive amounts of fossil fuels to create energy. However, the Westphalian construct of 1648 precludes a unified and enforceable approach to this issue despite any “feel good” political rhetoric, such as the Kyoto, Copenhagen, or Paris Accords. Certain developing countries are allowed to keep polluting without significant changes to their domestic economies, while developed countries are held to a higher standard, indeed even expected to fund their developing neighbors transition to “green” energy. Many developing countries despite their Westphalian framework, are not Democratic nor driven by the rule of law, but by elites seeking self-interest, creating corrupt and authoritarian conditions. Leakage of emissions thus is the most critical problem, and cannot be dealt with without an enforceable and audited carbon emissions framework. Simply, Climate change, and a growing plastic waste problem, will ultimately prove insurmountable if we do not dismantle Westphalia, and soon.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Will Hickey
    • 1
  1. 1.Former two-time US Fulbright Professor, 2003 & 2009Professor of Management, GDUFSCantonChina

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