“While the borders of nation states have become almost irrelevant to global economic players (for instance) after the end of the Cold War, human and natural rights are still confined and dominated by thousands of frontiers. This situation can only be overcome by giving up a good deal of national sovereignty and establishing a true regime of global governance. As a prerequisite, the rather symbolic parts and pieces of the UN system must be transformed into powerful supra-national institutions: allons corriger le futur!” (Hans Joachim Schellnhuber)
Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber is one of the top players within the faction of climate research viewing man as responsible for climate changes. He currently leads the Potsdam Institute in Berlin and has served as an advisor to the EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Schellnhuber has been given wide powers and is involved in numerous contexts. In addition to his advisory role to the political elite, he has been part of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Climate Change, the European Climate Foundation and editor of several scientific journals. Along with David Wasdell and others from the British Meridian Programme, he developed the ideas of ”Tipping Points” in the climate (Apollo Gaia Project), which predicted that small temperature increases could lead to disastrous consequences, for example by the tundra thawing and releasing large amounts of methane gas. Since then he has been involved in the World Bank report, Turn Down the Heat – Why a 4°C Warmer World Must be Avoided, which discussed the consequences of a mean global warming of 4 degrees Celsius.
Schellnhuber, however, was not only an advocate for the Tipping Points theory, but he also proposes large-scale solutions to the climate problem. This is, as the opening quotation illustrates, of ideas of a World Government and the associated global governance of environment and development. This is also illustrated by other statements by Schellnhuber. In order to curb the “climate crisis” he wants to establish a Constitution for the planet based on the UN Charter, a Global Council, and a Planetary Court. He sees this as a sophisticated version of the idea of a World Government. He also suggests that a number of national parliamentarians should be replaced by Global Ombudsmen. These should speak for future generations and stand as a counterweight to national interests. This has been criticized for being undemocratic practices. For, who chooses the ombudsmen?
How, then, shall this global governance be conducted? Schellnhuber referred in an article from 1998 to something he calls Geocybernetics. This is a form of geoengineering and is a great plan to ”create an acceptable and long-term interacting evolution (Coevolution) between nature and humanity.” The article describes that when the modeling of the ecosphere is complete, there will be a variety of sophisticated methods available for global control of Environment and Development.
This is not just about developing methods for controlling soil systems and hubris-reeking ideas about, for example, preventing future ice ages by pumping small amounts of ”designer gases” into the atmosphere in order to balance the system, but also about human aspects. How many people can the ecosphere support? How should mankind best be distributed in urban and rural areas? One example of geocybernetic fantasies about the management of people is FuturICT, funded by EU and George Soros. That is, however, a separate post and will be addressed later.
Implementing these plans requires, according to Schellnhuber, that nations give up large parts of their sovereignty. He refers to borders now being irrelevant to the global economic players. It is this global elite which Schellnhuber ultimately works for, despite his talk of a democratic society which protects the interests of the majority rather than of the rich minority. In actual fact, this rich minority have been highly involved in the whole process from the beginning. This is done by funding radical movements which then demand the very change the elite wants to achieve. Schellnhuber himself has been involved in the European Climate Foundation, created by Big Business, which funds numerous environmental organisations (and even creates new ones) in order to implement the Foundation’s long-term goals.
Today, the concepts have been developed even further. The Potsdam Institute is currently working closely with other institutions in a network by the name Planetary Boundaries Research Network. Here Johan Rockström and Stockholm Resilience Centre play important roles. Through Rockström nine planetary boundaries which may not to be transgressed were identified in 2008. It was claimed that if they were, global disasters may ensue such as drought, sea level rises and pandemics. Schellnhuber was one of the signatories to the article where the results were presented and then published in Nature. It all also touches on the concept which David Wasdell at Meridian Programme developed before the G8 summit in Glenaegles 2005. The problems could not be solved with the current system but required stronger global institutions. Getting support for this eventually required more alarming warnings than what the IPCC could deliver. This is also something which Anders Wijkman and the Club of Rome have long since embraced and towards which the World Bank report came as if to order.
The global solutions were discussed at the conference Planet Under Pressure 2012 which was organized prior to the UN environmental conference Rio +20. An article authored by the Chairman of the Earth System Governance Project, Frank Biermann, (and 31 other signatories) with suggestions for changes in global governance was presented at the same time. The article stated that ”Human societies must now change course and be steered away from the critical ‘Tipping Points’ in the Earth system that may lead to a rapid and irreversible change. This requires a fundamental reorientation and restructuring of national and international institutions towards a more efficient governance and planetary stewardship of the Earth system.”
Biermann and Schellnhuber had ten years earlier written a number of articles together about global environmental governance and both have been part of the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU), a scientific committee created by the German Government in connection with the Rio Summit in 1992. At the same time PIK became active. Both initiatives are closely interlinked with the objectives of Agenda 21, which was decided in Rio. WBGU publishes a flagship report entitled ”World in Transition” and Schellnhuber is one of the central Representatives since its inception. The title of the report indicates the basis of what it is about. Transforming the world.
Potsdam Institutet, WBGU and Schellnhuber were also involved in the conference, The Great Transformation – Climate Change as Cultural Change, in Essen 2009 together with Mercator Schtiftung and the Institute of Advanced Study. During this conference climate change as cultural change was discussed. This meant changes in people’s attitudes and the formation of a new participation culture. One of the sessions was about the future political direction and whether democracy had to be put aside in order to come deal with the ”climate crisis”.
Although Schellnhuber talks about creating a global democratic society, the thoughts that democratic institutions are not able to make the rapid decisions ‘required’ keeps being expressed. This also goes back to the Club of Rome ideas in books like The First Global Revolution. Individual nations’ interests are regarded as a problem. This mentioned by Schellnhuber in the WGBUs report from 2011 where a master plan for ”The Great Transformation” was presented. In this report a new political architecture, with a more authoritarian system of global governance that could oversee the plan, was called for.
”If we venture far beyond the 2 degrees guardrail, towards the 4 degrees line, the risk of crossing tipping points rises sharply. The only way to avoid this is to break the business-as-usual pattern of production and consumption.” (Hans Joachim Schellnhuber)
In order to implement the plans a rhetoric of threats is used, where we are given two options by ”the enlightened”. One is to continue with business-as-usual, and be led to out destruction in a fragmented world of independent nations, while the second option is the path to the ”sustainable paradise”, completed and implemented by a World Government that controls us from the geocybernetic control room.
What discussions are about is more what form this should take. How much muscle and what mandate should this global authority possess? Is it Thomas Hobbes’ ‘Leviathan’ that is needed? It is only to a very small degree about a genuine concern for climate change and the global weather system and more about how to create geocybernetic control of the climate. Ultimately, this is a work that has been going on since the end of World War II when the United Nations was created. The goal has been to gradually expand the organization and give it more power (the ideas for this utopia is described e.g.in Oliver Reiser’s The World Sensorium from 1946). It would be desirable if this was debated openly instead of being hidden behind cheap threat rhetoric where people are intimidated into submission. Now the wolves hide in the flock of sheep and play on people’s emotions and concerns for the future. Schellnhuber is then one of many false prophets blowing the doomsday trumpet.
Associations of Hans Joachim Schellnhuber:
PIK – Potsdam
Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research
University of East Anglia
External Professor at the Santa Fe Institute.
Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Max Planck Society
US National Academy of Sciences
Geological Society of London
International Research Society Sigma Xi
International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP)
German Advisory Council on Global Change
Chair of the Global Change Advisory Group for the 6th Framework Programme of the European Commission
Member of the Environment Steering Panel of the European Academies Science Advisory Council, EASAC
World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Climate Change
Grantham Research Institute Advisory Board
Member of the High-Level Expert Group on Energy & Climate Change advising J.M. Barroso, President of the European Commission.
European Climate Foundation (chair)
Global Contract based on Climate JusticeMember of the Board of the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI)
Member of the Committee on Scientific Planning & Review of the International Council for Science (ICSU)
Member of the Editorial Boards of the scientific journals “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” (PNAS), “Climatic Change”, “Climate Policy”, “Integrated Assessment”, “Systems Analysis, Modelling, Simulation”, and “Europe’s World”
Member of the Joint Advisory Board on Climate Change Research at Imperial College and LSE (Grantham Institute)