Year XXXIV, 1992, Number 3 - Page 173

 

 

 

Federalism and Ecology in the New Stage of the Historical Process
 
FRANCO SPOLTORE
 
 
Introduction
 
I. The risk of a nuclear holocaust is no longer the only danger at the centre of concern over the difficult ecological situation in our planet. Other ecological threats now hang over the destiny of mankind,[1] and raise the problem of organising a system of global security capable of guaranteeing development for all peoples through peaceful uses of science and technology. According to Einstein (one of the first to have seen in the explosion of the atomic bomb at Hiroshima also “the explosion of outdated and anachronistic political ideas”) such a system should be based “on the institution of a world government, in order that the safety of nations is based on law.”[2]
The difficulty of achieving this project is testified to by the failure, barely a year after Einstein had expressed this idea, of the attempt to create a World Authority for the control of nuclear energy – an attempt which could also have, for a time, laid the foundations for a world environmental government. This is something which mankind, faced with a choice between union and self-destruction, must once more consider.
Following this failure, the nations tried to find a substitute for world government in international cooperation. The objective difficulty of resorting to traditional instruments of power politics to resolve conflicts in fact forced them, despite the Cold War, to pursue common policies in a growing number of areas. However, this did not stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons, nor did it avert the ecological threat. Cooperation, though necessary to establish a climate of greater trust between nations, thus revealed itself, on the one hand, to be inadequate for coordinating the policies of more than a hundred and seventy sovereign members of the UN and, on the other, incapable of affirming the values of equality, freedom and justice. The fragmentation of mankind into a myriad of states which wish to maintain an anachronistic sovereignty, is the real obstacle on the road to sustainable development on a global scale.[3]
II. The problem of promoting development which satisfies the needs of current societies without compromising the possibility of future generations to satisfy their requirements, has always been, to take up the definition given in the Brundtland Report, in a certain sense at the centre of national policies. In an attempt to pursue the objective of national security, all countries have in fact always sought to take account not only of actual shortages, but also of potential shortages of resources that have at one time or another been considered strategic – in order to be able to compete commercially, economically and militarily with other countries. It is in this sense that we may say that countries have already set themselves the objective of sustainable development, but only on a national scale. Following the Second World War, however, the national context has become too narrow to promote development. The great continental states (the USA and USSR) and the areas in which the processes of regional integration have been consolidated (primarily the European Community) have become the new driving centres of development. But in this connection it should be observed how, while Western Europe and the USA have reduced their rates of pollution and resource wastage, the development of the ex-USSR and of the countries which were once its satellites has only taken place thanks to a frightening increase in pollution and resource wastage. The Western ecological success story and the Eastern ecological disaster can not be explained simply as a further confirmation of the superiority of the market system of economics as opposed to one based on a planned economy.[4] The invisible hand of the market has in fact encouraged more ecological production and consumption mainly in places where the market itself has to a large extent been subject to internationally-agreed regulations.
Because the pursuit of sustainable development now affects the whole of mankind, it is therefore necessary to create a state framework adequate to the new dimensions of progress, by completing regional unification processes and consolidating international institutions; these are indispensable preliminaries for the realisation of “a solid international state.”
III. Although greater development has not implied, as we have already seen, a generally greater waste of resources, global pollution has reached a high enough level to put in danger the ecological balance on which mankind’s survival on earth has until now been based.[5]
Even the first oil crisis in the 1970’s, by reminding us of the potential scarcity of this raw material, produced adjustments in national energy policies in most of the industrialised countries. Towards the end of the decade, in these countries, it was predicted that fossil fuels would gradually be replaced with other sources of energy in the course of about a century. However, at the end of the 1980’s these forecasts were judged incompatible with the ecological security of the planet, to the point that international environmental diplomacy began to consider the idea of agreeing upon the introduction of a global tax on carbon dioxide emissions (carbon tax) in order to speed up the transition from fossil fuel usage – which is responsible for the greenhouse effect – to alternative energy sources. Thus, the potential scarcity of natural resources began to be considered not only from the viewpoint of production needs, but also from the perspective of preserving the living conditions of the planet. Hence, an awareness developed that it was the vital qualities of the atmosphere, the climate, the oceans and the space which the earth occupies, that had become scarce. But this awareness has not yet been translated into effective management of the transition towards a world increasingly controlled by man.
IV. What scenario is compatible with this transition? How can it be organised? What investments are necessary to improve (and by how much?) the quality of the atmosphere and oceans? What price can be put on resources consumed and not renewed?
To answer these questions it is necessary, as mentioned above, to take into consideration the new global responsibilities which nations and the market should accept in the current stage of history; for the traditional rule of good government, according to which “Salus popoli suprema lex” (the well-being of the people is the supreme law), only has a meaning today if it relates to all the peoples of the world.
It is sufficient to consider one of the fundamental indicators of scarcity, namely price, to realise the inadequacy of the economic instruments and policies which currently regulate our existence. In many respects people have not yet emerged completely from the primordial state of economic relations described by Locke, who, referring to the impossibility for the peoples of the Americas to set a price on land, observed that this was due to the fact that they had not yet ‘joined the rest of mankind in a consensus about the use of a common currency.”[6] Well, today we have to observe that mankind has not yet reached a consensus on the use of a world currency.
If, furthermore, the need for international taxation is admitted, then the application of the principle “no taxation without representation” cannot be confined to the national level: here too we have to observe that today there are as yet no democratic global institutions in existence.
Finally, since it is no longer possible to direct development simply towards an indefinite growth in individual consumption, there is a need for a world economic government: a government capable of replacing the aim of continual growth in consumption with a more equitable division of consumption on a world scale.[7]
In what context is it conceivable to have a revolution in politics and economics capable of directing the action of the state, of the market and of each individual towards a development which takes account of the new relations that are being established between man and nature, and of the new relations which should be established between states?
 
1. The root of the global ecological threat: the end of nature and the growth of the world city.
 
‘‘The extension of the borders of the Human Empire until they include all things”[8] coincided with the process of man’s colonisation of the world. It is an ephemeral empire, in which the possibility of altering the chemical, biological and climatic cycles on a local and global scale has not yet been matched with a corresponding capacity to govern relations between man and nature effectively. It is this incapacity which is undermining the possibility of pursuing the ultimate goal which mankind shares with other species: that of self-preservation. In the past the safety of other living species did not in itself represent a goal for mankind, except for the utilitarian goals of food and production. But mankind has now acquired the capacity, particularly through biological science and technology, not only for self-destruction, but also for preserving life and creating it in new forms for future generations. This means that on an ethical level, our duty towards nature now coincides with our duty towards ourselves.[9]
It was industrial and agricultural development that transformed the natural environment into a humanised world ecosystem.[10] In the last century, Marx himself was able to observe that nature as such no longer existed anywhere, except perhaps in some recently formed coral island. Certainly, in the 19th century man’s intervention had not yet endangered the existence of the entire ecosystem, and the development of science and technology had not yet crossed the threshold of the domination of nature.
Only without the intervention of man could the evolution of the world ecosystem have continued naturally, starting from the conditions that had come about c. 180-200 million years ago, with that disintegration of the single great landmass which geologists call Pangea, the effects of which are still visible today in the phenomenon of continental drift. But the continual integration of mankind at the world level, eliminating distance and interrupting the genetic and cultural drift of continents, has reconstituted Pangea artificially.
However, agricultural and industrial innovation would not have been sufficient to upset the natural balance without the success of another phenomenon closely tied to the process of civilisation: the explosion of the city.
Man has in fact colonised nature, materially taking space from it and exploiting it for his own purposes, by means of the expansion and diffusion of the city. It is enough to recall that until the 17th century, the city was the only real artificial presence of any importance in the natural environment. Its development and diffusion has accompanied the process of humanising the world ecosystem to the point of constituting nowadays (alongside the industrial and agricultural world systems) a system which has an autonomous global environmental impact: the world urban system. Thus pollution, which has always been present in individual cities, has become global and ungovernable with the transformation of the world into a single city.[11] Despite this, mankind has not yet provided itself with effective institutions to promote ecological reorganisation of the economy and planning: a reorganisation which, setting itself the objective of saving the cities, is not in contradiction with the objective of saving the urbanised world ecosystem and of guaranteeing the quality of life at an urban level.[12]
In this connection it should be observed that experience, including recent experience, in the field of intervention in the larger urban areas, has shown the need to coordinate the treatment of urban ills at local and national levels, with continental and global policies in the fields of energy and transport. Transport and production systems, and energy-distribution networks cannot in fact be revolutionised at a local level without there being an overall global plan for their change. And, conversely, it is unthinkable that international agreements, endorsed to reduce the consumption of certain fuels or substances, can have any success without being coordinated with urban planning decisions.
The impossibility of protecting nature without a change of direction in urban development is increasingly linked to the contradictory policies which individual countries continue to follow. One example is sufficient to illustrate this point: Great Britain was the first country in this century to start grand projects altering the urban balance (in the London region), placing itself in the vanguard of experimental policies of urban decentralisation; now, by agreeing to put an end to its geographical isolation by linking itself to continental Europe with the Channel Tunnel, the British government has imposed a strategic change on town and country planning in southern England. The prospect of the creation of an Anglo-Continental urban region has already begun to raise the problem of reforming the administration of Greater London and of creating new institutions suited to this new reality – which exceeds national control but is not yet subject to adequate international control.
The nation states, which for some time now have no longer constituted an adequate power structure within which to control scientific and technological development, are responsible for the policies of laissez-faire which are at the origin of the decay in the quality of life at the urban level and, linked to this, of the ecological threat at the global level.
This is not the place to analyse in depth how national short term policies have favoured the “derailment” of technology, and hence the “derailment of the cities,”[13] which occurred particularly in the last few decades in the industrialised countries; and, which is taking place today most notably in Third World countries. It is however opportune to emphasise how, from the point of view of scientific and technological innovation, mankind currently has at its disposal the capacity and knowledge necessary to contribute to recovering those aspects which, with the birth and flowering of cities, marked the birth and flowering of civilisation: the greater personal security and quality of life in the city as foreseen by Aristotle.
The question is whether mankind will be able to provide in time the necessary institutions to start down this road. In this connection, it is worth bearing in mind that the great works of the past, which still testify to the greatness of many cities, were achieved not only through the effectiveness of the labour and technologies employed, but above all thanks to the suitability of municipal institutions. These were capable of guaranteeing the realisation of undertakings which were protracted over decades, such as the construction of navigable canals, fortifications, and cathedrals. Leontief, reflecting on these works of the past, emphasises how, “although some researchers maintain that the civil economy obtains benefits from military training and from infrastructures in the less developed countries, and from research and development in industrialised countries, and that such benefits compensate for the negative effects of the military burden, it could also be said that a well-financed programme of space exploration, or the construction or reconstruction of a railway network on a large scale – or the construction of … modern pyramids – could serve the same object. Few could deny that the direct application of these resources for specific civil objectives would augment the potentiality of the civil economy.”[14] But what institutions could carry out these tasks today? What institution could, for example, effectively and democratically administer a world fund for the reorganisation and development of the greater urban areas?
The Brundtland Report forecasts an increase of up to 65%, in the urban population of developing countries over the next few years; yet it is clear that no advanced economy could sustain similar urban growth while at the same time guaranteeing dignified living conditions for new citizens.[15] It is therefore impossible for developing countries to face the growth of their cities alone, while at the same time pursuing ecologically sustainable objectives.
In the face of these dangers, environmentalists and national policies have shown themselves still to be prisoners of the myths of protecting unspoilt nature and of the effectiveness of laws in the national market.
Environmental protectionism, effective as it may be in promoting a culture of respect for nature, has however revealed its limitations, because it is no longer enough to protect nature at the regional and national levels. One century after the beginning of the most important experiments made in the USA in this field, only a very small part of the earth’s surface (little more than 1%, excluding Antarctica and Greenland) is protected by nature conservation areas. At this rate, by the end of the next century, we would end up protecting 2-3% of dry land.
The most extensive natural parks have been created in North America and Africa. But this has protected neither the former from cross-border pollution, nor the latter from the intensive exploitation of its immense natural resources. And even if the areas of greatest biological and scientific interest were identified for conservation – as in effect some world organisations have tried to do – the existence of national borders would constitute an insurmountable obstacle to deciding on effective international legislation.[16]
The case of Europe is a prime example. The Rhine basin, the region of the Alps, and the basin of the Danube, despite being areas of geographical and biological interest, are not subject to any effective legal protection (which in any case would have to take account of extensive urbanisation by now) because they are also the border areas of various countries. As the accident at Chernobyl dramatically confirmed, the existence of national borders, far from hindering the spread of pollution, represents the most serious obstacle to the spread and application of policies protecting the health, safety and well-being of citizens.
A further obstacle to the extension of environmental protection over vast areas as yet unexploited by man for agriculture or industry, is represented by the problem of underdevelopment and debt. In this connection it should not be forgotten that the phenomena of deforestation and land reclamation have accompanied much of the development of European countries in the last few centuries. The first energy crisis was a deforestation crisis in Great Britain, and it dates back to the sixteenth century. Some developing countries are doing no more than following the same road, seeking to exploit the immense natural resources at their disposal in order to alleviate the burden of debt and underdevelopment. It is only through the concrete manifestation of global solidarity with regard to these latter countries that it will be possible to guarantee them prospects for development without forcing them also to put at risk, besides their own future, the future of all mankind.
Where the policies of nature protection have failed, attempts have been made to achieve the same goal through market mechanisms. The objective of reorganising the economy along ecological lines, and the debate over whether state intervention or the market should play a larger role in tackling ecological problems, has set off an often inconclusive battle between those who seek to bury the economy (i.e. who wish to ignore the realities of the industrialised economy), those who emphasise the need to determine values and prices for the environment, and those who claim to be able to control a problem which has always accompanied the development of civilisation (that of pollution) without taking its global dimensions into account.
In order to achieve the ecological reorganisation of the economy, it is necessary to use the market to re-direct consumption (by ecological taxes) and production (by incentives for ecologically useful technological innovations). But this implies first and foremost the existence of, and secondly the effectiveness of, institutions capable of stimulating and controlling the market at the level which is necessary nowadays. The US is trying to create a national market in poisonous emissions rights, in order to subject the producers of this type of pollution to the laws of supply and demand, within the framework of common minimum standards. But if this US policy is not integrated with that of Canada and Mexico, it cannot be successful. Similarly, the introduction of a European carbon tax, which would represent an important example for the rest of the world, would not on its own be enough to stabilise carbon dioxide emissions at 1990 levels without analogous commitments on the part of the US and the ex-Soviet Union. All this brings us back to the fact that, as the market is becoming more internationalised, state organisations must adapt to this new dimension.
The only response so far to these requirements has been of a diplomatic nature.
Alongside the pillar of global military security and that of a fairer world economic order, ecological security now represents the third pillar on which attempts are being made to strengthen international co-operation.
The UN and the European Community, despite their inadequacies, represent by far the two most significant international frameworks within which countries have tried to tackle the ecological problem – always within the confines of intergovernmental agreements. But, as was foreseeable, while new institutions and agencies at national or sub-national levels become, sooner or later, an integral part of the national institutional system, the same cannot happen at the level of the European Community and the United Nations. With regard to ecological security, nobody has gone beyond the borrowed terminology launched by Gorbachev and adopted by the Warsaw Pact, before its dissolution, with the solemn “Declaration on the consequences of the arms race for the environment and other aspects of ecological security” (July 1988).
Thus equal ecological security is spoken of (in the military field the term is reciprocal security), which should consist of a mutual recognition by all countries that respective ecological security cannot be guaranteed without the cooperation of all nations. An appeal is made to the need to forbid ecological aggression, with all countries being assigned the responsibility of preserving the natural wealth that is considered the common property of mankind. The transparency of information and the establishment of special agencies is called for, in order to prevent cross-border pollution.
This terminology relegates the two principal problems which diplomacy cannot solve alone to second place: that of the sanctions to be imposed on defaulting countries; and that of the nature of the Authority which should decide on such sanctions.
When one considers one of the most alarming phenomena of the ecological emergency, i.e. the increase in greenhouse gas emissions, the majority of scientific forecasts agree that these emissions are destined to: 1) continue to grow at highly accelerated rates until 2010 or 2020 if present technological efficiency standards and patterns of demographic growth and urbanisation are maintained (this is called the invariable efficiency hypothesis); 2) continue at a slower rate if a generalised consensus is established on the introduction of regulations capable of promoting greater energy efficiency and energy reconversion (the international consensus hypothesis); 3) be reduced if a world ecological tax is introduced and if the rational management of resources is achieved at an international level (the precautionary hypothesis).
Only in the event that the precautionary hypothesis is pursued at a global level will it be possible to reverse the tendency towards global pollution within twenty to thirty years, and to make pollution recede to 1970 levels within a further twenty to thirty years.
If this does not happen, it is impossible to foresee any future for the earth.
If this be the nature of the problem, then the creation of an ecological security system must be set within the perspective of the progressive commitment to policies that favour a strategy of common global security. This strategy cannot but coincide with the strategy for the creation of a democratic world government. It is in this perspective that the creation of a World Authority linked to the UN would be established.
The fact that the realisation of such a government will probably require much longer than the period predicted nowadays simply for producing a reversal of the trend to increase global pollution, does not mean that fighting for this objective will be ineffective in contributing to resolve the ecological problem. As the case of Europe shows, although European Union has not yet been fully achieved, the fact that the process of unification has progressed, slowly and laboriously but so far irreversibly, has represented a decisive factor in directing national policies de facto in a continental direction. This has happened in all those sectors, such as agriculture, industry, energy policy, transport policy and so on, which only until some ten or twenty years ago were considered of exclusively national competence.
In this sense, the pursuit of the ultimate objective of world federation, and the intermediate objective of regional federation, would have a significant ecological effect – in that these goals would define a framework of power at the regional and world levels that would be adequate for dealing with the ecological threat.
However, these objectives cannot be realistically advanced beyond the gradual overcoming of war economics, on which the world order has until now been based.
 
2. The challenge of ecological reorganisation.
 
A. From a war economy to a peace economy. The rapprochement of the USA and USSR was due among other things to the dramatic prospect of continual ecological impoverishment towards which the two superpowers, and particularly the USSR, were moving in their attempt to use all available means in their bipolar confrontation. Now it is becoming increasingly clear how many resources the start of disarmament could make available. As was shown in a study carried out by Leontief and Duchin,[17] among others, the decision to set aside resources for military ends, which is a political and not an economic decision, absorbs not only considerable financial resources, but also considerable energies in terms of human labour, raw materials and goods. On average, military demand requires more labour than is necessary to satisfy an equivalent level of civilian demand. But mankind, not having ever had the means until now to enjoy to the full the advantages of a peace economy (the only economy compatible with the sustainable development of the entire planet), has not yet become fully aware of the nature and quantity of resources potentially available for the realisation of common global security.
The transition from a war economy to a peace economy, therefore, is the first real revolution to be achieved in order to promote sustainable development. A revolution which until now nation states, in order to survive, have always put off or, as in the case of the USA, actually operated counter to. Thanks to the far-sightedness of its founding fathers, and of Hamilton in particular, the US was able to delay for more than a century the militarisation of its society. The Civil War itself, despite the heavy loss of life and increased military production, did not put the Government of the Union in the dramatic situation of having to re-direct the entire production, and even consumption, of its citizens. Thus the US, in contrast to European countries, has only recently had to face reorganising its peace economy into a war economy – in practice from 1917 onwards. It is paradoxical to observe how today many of the economic difficulties of the USA derive precisely from the necessity of dismantling what has only been established from the time of the First World War onwards (see Appendix I). And it is equally paradoxical to observe how, while the end of the Cold War put at the disposal of the United States and the ex-USSR peace-dividends that were unimaginable until only a few years ago, a dangerous tendency is now emerging towards the creation of new national armies and to the proliferation of arsenals of weapons of mass destruction.
In Western Europe, the primacy of the need for military security over all other considerations was beyond question until the end of the Second World War. Following the reduction of the military role played by European countries – corresponding to the increased role of the USA and in the wake of European integration, the war economy has played an increasingly minor role in European development.[18]
Until only a few decades ago, dedicating large proportions of GDP (40-50% and even more), to military expenditure, even for long periods of time, was not the exception but rather the rule of survival for European countries. In the Eighties, this set of priorities passed to many of the developing countries.
The war economy, and the power politics connected to it, is, moreover, at the origin of a further very serious obstacle to the promotion of sustainable development: technological protectionism. This weapon of power politics, which in the past was camouflaged under the form of customs barriers or restrictive national standards, served to maintain the industrial predomination of the European powers over their colonies and, more recently, has been used in the Cold War by the West to stop the USSR, at least in military applications, from making up the technological deficit it has accumulated over the last twenty years. With the end of colonialism and of the confrontation between the US and the USSR, many impediments to the transfer of technology no longer have any reason to exist. But the race to constitute new countries which claim military and monetary sovereignty (both in the ex-USSR and Africa), and the race towards nuclear and missile proliferation, make it a question of urgency to stop any country from exploiting technological innovation to try and subjugate other countries in a particular region or even on a world scale.
Now that the nuclear sector is not the only strategic sector for security (but also biotechnology, space technologies and technologies for the exploitation of marine resources), and since many of these new technological developments also have an important ecological impact, the serious consequences of the failure of the 1946 Baruch Plan (see Appendix II) can be better understood.
Countries are today forced to face two opposing phenomena. On the one hand, raison d’état pushes them to try and conserve vast areas of technological innovation, above all in the nuclear, spatial and biotechnological fields; on the other, the international agreements which countries are obliged to sign in order not to be excluded from international trade, push them to fight technological protectionism.
For example, it was sufficient that in 1980 the Supreme Court of the United States recognised the patenting of a man-made micro-organism, thus setting the legal foundations for the commercial exploitation of biotechnology, to make competition break out, in the course of a few years, between hundreds of small companies engaged in inventing and commercialising new genetic products. In an attempt to forestall the risks of conflict between countries for the control over access to genetic material and its treatment, the US Congress in 1987 had to start an enquiry to establish up to what point US legislation is compatible with the international requirements of maintaining and promoting the survival of genetic diversity.
To conclude regarding these problems, as long as countries are faced with a choice between investing in their own military security (in order to assert their right to existence) or becoming the pawns of other countries, the logic of the war economy will continue to prevail over any prospects for sustainable development. For this reason, when considering the issue of resources which must be liberated in order to start truly sustainable development, it is necessary first of all to consider the problem of the definitive abolition of the danger of war between all peoples. Hence, effective control of the ecological problem cannot be detached from the prospect of establishing a peaceful world order.
 
B. From war reparations to ecological reparations. The industrialised countries cannot count on the financial onus of global ecological renewal being equitably distributed between all countries. The ecological reorganisation of economies would in this case have unacceptable costs for developing countries. A mechanical and generalised application at an international level of the principle “the polluter pays”, already widely introduced in most industrialised countries, would be unjust. As indeed it would be equally unjust to maintain sine die the power of veto which the major industrialised countries have begun to exercise within the World Bank (particularly the USA) and the Lomé Convention (the European Community) so as to block the financing of Third World projects judged ecologically incompatible or dangerous. This state of affairs, which is unavoidable in a world lacking democratic institutions, cannot be maintained for long without creating new reasons for conflict between North and South. The developed countries must therefore be ready (in their own interests) not only to sustain internally the greater burden of the global restoration of the ecological balance, but also to finance this change on an international level; accepting, for example, to pay ecological reparations which are proportionate, not only to the quantity of poisonous substances still being released, but also to those already emitted into the atmosphere at least from the last century onwards. After all, it is thanks to this pollution that the industrialised countries have reached the levels of financial well-being which they enjoy today, and it is above all because of this past pollution that the risk of global climatic change has been created.
From this point of view, the principle of absolute national sovereignty over natural resources should be progressively replaced by the principle of common sovereignty, exercised jointly by the national and supranational levels (on a regional and global scale).
At the end of the Second World War, when the question of creating a World Authority to control the use of nuclear energy was raised, there was some discussion as to whether this Authority should have competence over the control of other resources, particularly that of oil. Today, just as fifty years ago, energy policy is of strategic importance for the ecological and military security of the planet. Precisely for this reason the fundamental objective of the Baruch plan (that of subjecting strategic energy sources to world control) should be relaunched with the proposal of establishing a World Authority (articulated on a continental level) for controlling the use and development of all energy resources. The principal financial resources for the activities of this Authority could come from a carbon tax and from global ecological reparations payments.
Recently the Gulf War brought dramatically to the fore the problem of a fairer distribution of the wealth derived from the exploitation of oilfields. The exploitation of oil in the Gulf area could thus represent an initial area for the application of common sovereignty and the payment of royalties. These would be paid in part to the World Energy Authority, within the framework of the UN, and in part to a regional Authority, within the framework of new institutions in which the Gulf states would be represented.
Moreover, such an Authority could have regional tiers, such as the pan-European and Mediterranean energy grid. The seeds of this are provided for in the European Charter for energy, which was proposed by the European Commission during the drawing-up of the CSCE (Conference for Security and Cooperation in Europe) Charter adopted in Paris last November – and the North American version, from the Arctic to Acapulco, as currently under negotiation in the context of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
Finally, this Authority could control the exploitation of the sea bed. The Convention on maritime legislation has adopted the principle that maritime resources must be considered the common heritage of mankind; and indeed, for this Convention the institution of a World Authority constitutes a fundamental premise for not excluding most of the developing countries from exploiting the riches of the seas.
For countries with a large foreign debt, royalties could be transformed into quotas for debt repayments; the liability to pay royalties, far from penalising those Third World countries whose principal source of income is still the extraction of energy resources, would increasingly cause problems for those rich countries which still try to impede the ratification of the Law of the Sea Convention, and the commitment to sign analogous agreements for the exploitation of space. When the UN Security Council examined the problem of paying war damages caused by Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, it was already moving in this direction. It is worth recalling that on that occasion, the UN in fact imposed strong limitations on Iraq’s absolute sovereignty with regard to oil, by establishing that Iraq should pay, for the next few years, “a contribution based on a percentage of the oil extracted and exported, which takes account however of the needs of the people and of the Iraqi economy” (Resolution 687, 3 April 1991).
Mankind thus finds itself obliged to decide whether the ecological emergency can still continue to be administered for much longer by the Security Council in a way that is ever more clearly undemocratic; or in an uncoordinated (and largely ineffective) way by the existing agencies at the regional and world levels (the Environmental Protection Agency in the USA; the future Environmental Agency in Europe; the United Nations Environmental Programme at the world level, etc). Alternatively, mankind must decide whether these problems should not rather be set within a new phase of the battle for the construction of international democracy (see Appendix III). A quick glance at past experience is enough to clear away any doubts.
The conviction emerged from the 1972 Stockholm conference, that no global action for environmental protection would be possible without the creation of a powerful international agency. However, such an agency, although necessary, was politically impossible within the UN, and the creation of an international environmental agency was therefore proposed. This agency was to be led for the most part by those countries that were most advanced in the subject of environmental legislation, and it was to have the task of establishing international ecological standards. Developing countries were however not prepared to recognise such leadership on the part of the industrialised world. Countries from the North and South, with the crucial commitment of the USA to provide the necessary finance for its functioning, ultimately agreed to the start of a programme, UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme), for international coordination in the ecological field.
The second world conference on ecology (Brazil, June 1992) includes on its agenda the theme of reinforcing UNEP.[19] But the objective of reinforcing UNEP is not a political objective capable of mobilising world public opinion. It must not be forgotten that one of the factors at the heart of the failure of the first attempt to constitute a World Authority for the control of nuclear energy was the lack of involvement of public opinion in the countries which emerged victorious from the Second World War (and in particular the USSR), and the lack of prospects for democratising international relations. However, now that even in the ex-USSR strong central control of the circulation of information has ceased, and now that the consciousness of the necessity of creating forms of democratic world government is spreading even among Third World countries, the conditions exist for linking the ecological problem to the battle for democracy.
 
3. The challenge for the federalists in Europe and the world.
 
Although the current reality continually shows the necessity for new supranational democratic institutions to tackle the ecological problem, until now only in two areas of the world has an attempt been begun to manage environmental policy at least at a sub-continental level: North America, with the USA; and Europe, with the Community. But both these attempts reveal limitations. Only recently the USSR, with the new Union Treaty (before the failed coup d’état of August 1991), was also moving towards new forms of ecological control, based on common government of principal natural resources by the Union and the Republics.
While in the USA the ecological problem is giving the American federal system a hard test, the institutional incompleteness of the European Community model has produced a complicated system of harmonisation in the ecological sphere.
In the United States, ecological policy was not pursued by means of harmonising the policies of the federal States. The incentives and sanctions of the federal government, together with action carried out by the federal courts, have constituted the most important instruments of American environmental policy. These instruments have given a privileged role on the one hand to federal government in subsidising the environmental policies of the federal States; and, on the other, the judiciary has been given power with respect to coordinating the various levels of government. However, with the passing of time, thousands of unsolved legal conflicts over ecological questions have been produced, and this has allowed important bodies to escape federal legislation for a long time. A good example is the case of the Tennessee Valley Authority, which for years did not observe the law on atmospheric pollution produced by its coal-fired power stations. Still on the internal front, New Jersey, for example, increasingly placed its trust in federal subsidies in order to realise its ambitious national environmental plans, without succeeding however in resolving the conflicts which for decades saw it in opposition to New York City (which only in 1987 agreed to improve its system of refuse disposal in accordance with a 1934 judgement); nor was it able to sort out its conflicts with Connecticut, which was dissatisfied with the regulations New Jersey applied with regard to atmospheric industrial pollution. Thus, to sum up, despite its legislative rigour in environmental matters, New Jersey must trust in the coordinating capacity (minimal in reality) of the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), and export its waste and pollution to bordering states.[20] On the international agreements front, on the other hand, since such agreements can only be ratified with the consensus of at least a two-thirds majority in the Senate, the US administration has preferred in the past to promote specific ecological agreements, such as for example those between certain individual federal states and Canadian provinces, for fear of being defeated in the Senate.
Until now, the biggest spur in Europe towards the adoption of ecological policies has come from the converging interest of all the member-states of the Community in preventing the aggravation of intra-community trade conflicts – as was likely to occur with the adoption of diverse national ecological regulations. The Treaties of Rome, while not making any provisions on environmental matters, have played an important role in ensuring that, at least in the medium term, common ecological standards have been established which are more, rather than less, advantageous for citizens. But these regulations and standards, likewise the procedures for drawing them up and putting them into practice, have been shown to be insufficient both as regards directing the market more rapidly, and for meeting the ecological needs of the regional levels, which claim the power to differentiate between qualitative objectives to be pursued at the local level.
Thus, in Europe, besides the problem of creating a supranational legislative framework and a real single market, the ecological emergency also poses the problem of realising a federal framework which must go further than the US federal model.
In particular it should guarantee both effective coordination between several levels of independent government (from district to pan-continental) and enough flexibility to tackle the ecological problems that exist in surrounding areas as soon as possible.[21]
This may be done in a broader context, such as that of the Conference for Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) and the Conference for Security and Cooperation in the Mediterranean (CSCM). The European Federation will be unable to close in on itself: on the contrary, it is already being obliged to open up to other countries, starting with Eastern Europe, in the course of its creation. Not only this, but it will also be unable to base its activities on the traditional tools of foreign policy: military instruments and the economic blackmail of weaker countries. Thus, in order to achieve the ecological reorganisation of the European economy, Europeans will be forced to experiment with forms of ecological cooperation that involve both the East and South of the world. In other words, these policies must, in the interests of Europeans themselves, tend to support – and not to sabotage – the common policies of the world ecological community that is presently coming into existence.
As the Secretary General of UNCED (United Nations Conference on Environment and Development), Maurice Strong, remarked, the present inadequacy of the UN and its lack of capacity and means are a function of the severe restrictions imposed both on its mandate and its budget by the member-states. However, Strong continues, the world needs the UN, today more than ever. If it did not exist it would have to be invented. But the same difficulties which make governments reluctant to grant it more powers and resources today would make its refoundation dubitable. All this will require a serious examination of the necessity to extend to the international level the rule of law and the principle of taxation to finance actions decided on in order to make the national level itself governable. But this will not come about easily. Resistance to such changes is deeply rooted. These changes, according to Strong, will not happen because the ideologies and theories of world government are embraced, but as a pragmatic response to stringent imperatives and to the inadequacy of the alternatives. The concept of sovereignty has been an immutable, indeed sacred, principle of international relations. It is a principle which will surrender only slowly and reluctantly to the new imperatives of global ecological co-operation. There is no need for a renunciation or an indiscriminate withdrawal of this principle. It is enough, Strong concludes, to recognise the fact that in many fields, and particularly on ecological questions, it simply is no longer possible to exercise sovereignty unilaterally on the part of individual nation states, however powerful these may be.[22]
World government will not drop out of the sky. Yet precisely because the construction of the European Federation is a necessary but not sufficient condition to resolve the problems posed by global ecological security, federalists must begin to set themselves the objective of contributing to the definition of a strategy at the world level. This must, above all, be capable of keeping alive the prospect of creating a democratic world government.
For this reason, the moment has come to relaunch at the world level the original aim which the EFM was founded during the Second World War in order to fulfil: the objective defined in the Ventotene Manifesto of the creation of a “solid international state.” The beginnings of world political life must be brought into existence around this objective.
The starting point, as regards strategy, could be demands for the institutional minimum necessary to start international democracy. In his address to the Commission for the creation of a World Authority on nuclear energy, Baruch had to admit that only “in a certain sense” did he and the other members of the Commission represent the peoples of the world. In reality Baruch, like the others, had to serve the old raison d’état, given that the reality at that time was such that President Truman, in the course of the Commission’s deliberations, could remind him that “in no circumstances must we throwaway our cannons, until we are sure that the rest of the world will not be able to arm itself against us.” For this reason, whatever Authority is proposed at the world level, and whatever new convention is discussed, federalists must fight first and foremost for the creation of a second assembly of the UN, to be elected by universal suffrage. Only in this perspective, in fact, can there be legitimate representation of both the interests of the peoples of the world, and the interests of those countries already represented in the present General Assembly and Security Council (albeit in a way that takes no account of the current glaring inequalities between, for example, stales like China and Lithuania; nor of the impact which populous states like India, or economic centres like Japan and the European Community, have on the destiny of the world).
Far from limiting themselves to working out an ideal model of world government, the federalists must fight – basing their case on the widespread need to resolve the problems posed by the process of history (and the ecological problem is one of these). The objective is that the foundations should be laid for the creation and development of a democratic government of the world. After all, the prospects of democratising the European Community are still based on two elements which made the EEC different from any previous association of states: the first was introduced in 1952 in the Treaty of the Coal and Steel Community, by which provision was made for the governing role of a High Authority, with the task of common administration of these resources to be entrusted to a directly-elected Assembly; the second, for which the European federalists fought strenuously, was the direct election of the members of the European Parliament, which was achieved in 1979.
Moreover, the fact of creating such a World Assembly would constitute a strong spur to strengthen democracy at the national level as well.
Until now the enlargement of the UN has been based essentially on the recognition of dozens of new sovereignties since the Second World War. With the creation of a directly-elected world assembly, the strengthening of the UN should also begin to be based on the principle of extending the sphere of democracy. In this perspective, the peoples of the world will also start to develop genuine loyalty to world institutions which are capable of exercising democratic control over the government of the world’s problems.
 
 
 
APPENDIX I
 
Only after the end of the Cold War did mankind begin to become aware of the huge resources which peace could release. But resurgent nationalism and the risk of mankind breaking up into a myriad of statelets gave fresh life to the logic of rearmament and military confrontation, relegating the ecological emergency to second place. If this logic should prevail, then for a period which might prove fatal, mankind would be deprived of the financial and material resources necessary to reconcile, on a world scale, development and ecology. And any declarations of peace and goodwill made by any country or countries would quickly be overshadowed by the need to give priority to the military aspects of national security. An example that holds true for all is that of the USA, which, created in order to prevent war among ex-British colonies, was obliged by international disorder and anarchy at the beginning of this century to bend to the law of raison d’état and, despite the opposition of a majority of public opinion and of the industrial establishment, was forced to equip itself for war. The USA’s involvement in the First World War represents a dramatic example of how, in the course of a few months, a state can be obliged to convert a peace economy into a war economy. In our times a return to this state of affairs, apart from the risk of catastrophic conflicts, would probably mark the end of the prospect of controlling the ecological emergency, and hence of guaranteeing a future to mankind.
Here, briefly, is a report by one of the leading figures of American politics, Bernard Baruch, of the choice which the United States faced. On 2nd April 1917, President Wilson announced the entry of the US into the war. A few months prior to this, the Advisory Commission of the National Defence Council had been set up with the intention of rapidly preparing the American economy for war. In a few months the Americans realised that they were not able to sustain the war effort with peace-time economic instruments. Thus, on 4th March 1918, President Wilson nominated Bernard B. Baruch as President of the War Industries Board, with the task of procuring everything that the armed forces of his country and the Allies needed to win the war. ‘‘The final decision on all questions,” the President wrote to him, “except for the determination of prices will have to depend on you.”
 
***
 
(*)It would take a volume to tell the full story of the War Industries Board, how it went about the gigantic and unprecedented task of converting industrial America from peace to war, and how, in the process, it came to exercise such great control over the nation’s industry that in the view of many I became a virtual dictator.
In peace time the free working of the market-place can be trusted to keep the economy in balance. The law of supply and demand has time in which to operate. But in war that equilibrium must be achieved by conscious direction for war, with its ravenous demands, destroys the normal balance and denies us time. And time means lives.
The understanding of the fundamental difference between the economics of war and peace still eludes many people. It is one of the most tragic, single failures of economic understanding in our time. Nothing – nothing – has cost this country and the rest of the world more, except the losses and maimings of war itself, than the failure to grasp the enormous difference in the workings of supply and demand under conditions of war and under conditions of peace.
In 1917, the principle that a sound mobilization programme must adapt the law of supply and demand to the needs of war was considered revolutionary. Because we ignored this principle, we floundered during the first year of the war while shortages developed, production lagged, prices rose, and profits soared.
How did we in the WIB go about controlling the industrial output of the United States? Actually, our specific powers were few and, considering the scope of the task confronting us, rudimentary. However, during the first year of groping towards an effective organization, we devised and perfected methods of operation and instruments of control which, judiciously and sometimes boldly used, proved adequate to the task.
The most important instrument of control was the power to determine priority – the power to determine who gets what and when.
WIB had no authority over the armed forces. They were our clients and we existed to serve them. My rule as Chairman was always to provide the armed forces with whatever they needed, when they needed it, with as little dislocation as possible of the civilian population.
When priorities and persuasion failed, we had one instrument of last resort to enforce our will, the power of commadeering the power to seize property.
The problem of converting industry from peace-time to war-time production was always a thorny one. Contrary to widely held views, manufacturers are not always eager for war work, especially when it requires them to abandon a profitable line of production. This was the case with the motor manufacturers.
WIB moved early to curtail the production of pleasure cars. We had no intention of countenancing their production while we scrounged for steel for tanks. At first we tried to rely upon voluntary agreements under which the automobile producers pledged to cut production by two thirds. But we soon found that these agreements were not self-enforcing. In the summer of 1918, in the face of Detroit’s attitude and the increasingly critical military situation in France, we called representatives of the automobile industry to Washington. They listened with ill-concealed impatience as we explained WIB’s plans to curtail immediately the production of automobiles by seventy-five per cent, and employ the facilities thus freed for war production. This reasonable speech made no impression. They informed us that they had stocked all the steel and coal they needed and could proceed in spite of us. I picked up the phone and put in a call to the Railroad Administration. With the auto people listening to me , I said “I want you to take down the names of the following factories, and I want you to stop every wheel going in and coming out.” I read the off the names of Dodge, General Motors, Ford and other plants. Then I ordered to commandeer all their steel and I called the Fuel Administrator and asked him to seize the manufacturers’ coal supplies. The head of General Motors quitted. The others capitulated soon after, but not before some had tried to bring political pressure to bear.
When it came to setting a reasonable price on Indian jute, the British Ambassador informed us that so far as jute was concerned, it was a matter affecting the Indian government, over which the English suddenly had no control. I asked not to provide the silver which the English required for the support of the Indian currency. The British replied in alarm that such action would cause a panic in India that would close up the Calcutta and Bombay stock exchanges. I answered: “Close them up, then.” The British quickly discovered the means of influencing Indian jute prices.
The full war-making potential of American industry under the direction of WIB was just reaching its peak as the war reached its end. There is no doubt that knowledge of this fact contributed materially to Germany’s sudden realization of the hopelessness of her position. We had mobilized more than three hundred and fifty industries. No steel, copper, cement, rubber, or other basic materials could be used without our approval. No building costing more than $ 2,500 could be started without WIB consent. We were moving, as the war came to a close, toward controlling the whole range of consumer goods. The shoe industry was the first to be tackled.
Although at first our Allies did not expect – indeed did not want – us to send troops, we undertook to raise a great army. And in response to the desperate appeal from France, we sent more than two million men, three-quarters of them in the space of five months.
The lessons to be learned from WIB were not confined to questions of war. Our experience taught that government direction of the economy need not be inefficient or undemocratic, and suggested that in time of danger it was imperative. This lesson was applied fifteen years later when the New Deal drew upon the experience of the WIB to mobilize the economic resources of the nation to meet the emergency of the great depression.
 
 
APPENDIX II
 
In January 1946, President Truman nominated Bernard M. Baruch to represent the USA on the United Nations Commission for Atomic Energy. On 14th June, Baruch presented the USA’s position to the Commission. There follows an extract from this address as Baruch recalls it in his autobiography. The plan anticipated, after a system of controls had been instituted, the cessation of the production of atomic bombs on the part of the USA and the placing of their arsenal at the disposal of the International Authority. The plan was criticised by the rightwing in the USA because it conceded too much to the USSR in allowing the abolition of the right of veto; and by the left-wing because it did not sufficiently take into consideration the needs of Soviet development. The USSR, through Gromyko, responded to these proposals by proposing the following: the signing of an international convention for banning the production and use of atomic weapons; the destruction of existing arsenals; the maintenance of the right of veto. After six months of debate within the Commission, and after having also taken into consideration the idea of appealing directly to Stalin, Baruch agreed to submit his plan to a vote by the members of the Commission. The representatives of Russia and Poland abstained, while the other ten, after a British attempt to stop the vote on the American plan, voted in favour.
The conclusions of the Commission were transmitted, on the proposal of the United Nations General Assembly, to the Security Council, where the plan was definitively buried.
 
***
 
(**)We are here to make a choice between the quick and the dead.
That is our business.
Behind the black portent of the new atomic age lies a hope which, seized upon with faith, can work our salvation. If we fail, then we have damned every man to be slave of fear. Let us not deceive ourselves: We must elect world peace or world destruction.
In this crisis, we represent not only our governments but, in a larger way, we represent the peoples of the world. We must remember that the peoples do not belong to the governments but that the governments belong to the peoples. We must answer their demands; we must answer the world’s longing for peace and security.
The peoples of these democracies gathered here have a particular concern with our answer, for their peoples hate war. They are not afraid of an internationalism that protects; they are unwilling to be fobbed off by mouthings about narrow sovereignty, which is today’s phrase for yesterday’s isolation.
The basis of a sound foreign policy, in this new age, for all the nations here gathered, is that anything that happens, no matter where or how, which menaces the peace of the world, or the economic stability, concerns each and all of us.
This is the reason why an International Atomic Development Authority should be created, to which should be entrusted all phases of the development and use of atomic energy starting with raw materials and including:
1) Managerial control or ownership of all atomic energy activities potentially dangerous to world security;
2) Power to control, inspect, and license all other atomic activities;
3) The duty of fostering the beneficial uses of atomic energy;
4) Research and development responsibilities of an affirmative character intended to put the Authority in the forefront of atomic knowledge and thus enable it to comprehend, and therefore to detect, misuse of atomic energy.
The Authority must have the right of free access at all times for inspection. The matter of punishment lies at the very heart of our present security system. Penalization is essential. There must be no veto to protect those who violate their solemn agreements not to develop or use atomic energy for destructive purposes.
If we succeed in finding a suitable way to control atomic weapons, it is reasonable to hope that we may also preclude the use of other weapons adaptable to mass destruction. When a man learns to say “A” he can, if he chooses, learn the rest of the alphabet too.
Let this be anchored in our minds:
Peace is never long preserved by weight of metal or by an armament race. Peace can be made tranquil and secure only by understanding and agreement fortified by sanctions. We must embrace international co-operation or international disintegration.
Science has taught us how to put the atom to work. But to make it work for good instead of for evil lies in the domain dealing with the principles of human duty. We are now facing a problem more of ethics than of physics.
The solution will require apparent sacrifice in pride and in position, but better pain as the price of peace than death as the price of war.
 
 
APPENDIX III(***)
 
Given our millenial habits of separate decision-making and the recent tremendous explosion of national power, how can any perception of the biosphere’s essential unity and interdependence be combined with the acutely self-conscious separate sovereignty of more than 130 national governments?
In fact, for at least a century, some habits of co-operation have been accepted by states simply through recognition of their own self-interests. Ever since the world economy began to increase in extent and interdependence in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, sovereign states have shared some of their authority either by binding themselves to certain forms of cooperative behaviour or delegating limited power to other bodies. Despite rhetorical insistence on absolute sovereignty, governments have recognized in practice that this is impossible in some cases and inordinately foolish in many more. In brief, when governments are faced with such realities, they have exercised their inherent sovereign right to share voluntarily their sovereignty with others in limited and agreed areas of activity.
In the twentieth century, as a consequence of an ever greater overlap between supposedly sovereign national interests, the number of international treaties, conventions, organizations, consultative forums and cooperative programmes has multiplied rapidly. The growth of an intergovernmental community finds its most concrete expression in the United Nations.
It is onto this scene of ultimate national sovereignty and proliferating intermediate institutions that the new environmental imperatives have broken in the last few years. The first effect has undoubtedly been to complicate still further a very complicated situation. Quite suddenly, for a whole variety of reasons, a very wide range of institutions have added an environmental concern to their other interests. In some cases, traditional programmes and activities have been renamed to qualify them under the environmental rubric. In others a number of agencies have taken up the same environmental topic, though mainly from differing points of view.
This picture of somewhat uncoordinated and hence not fully focused activity, largely reflects the recentness of the environmental awareness. National governments, too, are trying to find means of adding an environmental angle of vision to institutions which have hitherto followed the traditional one-track approach to specialized problems through separate and usually uncoordinated administration. The various experiments are mostly not yet two years old, and it is too soon to say how well they may succeed in introducing an integrative view of man-environment relations into the national decision-making process. Certainly it will not be easy.
And certainly it will be still more difficult at the international than at national levels of decision-making. So locked are we within our tribal units, so possessive over national rights, so suspicious of any extension of international authority that we may fail to sense the need for dedicated and committed action over the whole field of planetary necessities. Nonetheless there are jobs to be done which perhaps require at this stage no more than a limited, special and basically self-interested application of the global point of view. For instance, it is only by forthright cooperation and action at the global level that nations can protect mankind from inadvertent and potentially disastrous modification in the planetary weather system over which no nation can assert sovereignty.
Where pretensions to national sovereignty have no relevance to perceived problems, nations have no choice but to follow the course of common policy and coordinated action.
Governments have already paid lip-service to such a view of the world by setting up the whole variety of United Nations agencies whose duty it is to elaborate world-wide strategies. But the idea of authority and energy and resources to support their policies seems strange, visionary and Utopian at present, simply because world institutions are not backed by any sense of planetary community and commitment. Indeed, the whole idea of operating effectively at the world level still seems in some way peculiar and unlikely. The planet is not yet a centre of rational loyalty for all mankind.
But possibly it is precisely this shift of loyalty that a profound and deepening sense of our shared and inter-dependent biosphere can stir to life in us. That men can experience such transformations is not in doubt. From family to clan, from clan to nation, from nation to federation – such enlargements of allegiance have occurred without wiping out the earlier loves. Today, in human society, we can perhaps hope to survive in all our prized diversity provided we can achieve an ultimate loyalty to our single Planet Earth.


[1] See Jonathan Schell, The Fate of the Earth, Alfred A. Knopf, 1982, and Bill McKibben, The End of Nature, Random House, 1989.
[2] New York Times of 15th September 1945, and 10th October 1945.
[3] The World Commission on the Environment and Development, Our Common Future, chaired by Gro Harlem Brundtland, states that sustainable development “contains within it two key concepts: the concept of ‘needs’, in particular the essential needs of the world’s poor, to which overriding priority should be given; and the idea of limitations imposed by the state of technology and social organisation on the environment’s ability to meet present and future needs.”
[4] Mikhail S. Bernstam, The Wealth of Nations and the Environment, 1991, IEA, London.
[5] “The working man is not only a squanderer of present fixed solar heat, but even more so of that of the past. You know better than I how far we go in wasting resources of energy, coal, minerals, forests etc..” Thus Engels wrote to Marx towards the end of the last century (Marx-Engels, Letters, 19th December 1882).
[6] John Locke, Two Treaties of Government, 1690.
[7] The problem of the start of a policy of austerity, as opposed to the restoration of a new era of consumption, was present in Altiero Spinelli’s book, PCI, che fare?, Einaudi, 1978.
[8] This view, first made explicit by Francis Bacon at the beginning of the 17th century, implied the creation on earth of an artificial paradise modelled according to the requirements of man, because “the world is made for man, and not vice versa.”
[9] As Kant had intuited.
[10] The term ecosystem was introduced in the 1930’s by the British scholar George Tausley, in order to define scientifically the unity between living organisms and the environment in which they live; as indeed exists between man and nature. Before then this link had been considered almost exclusively from a religious and philosophical point of view.
[11] For a more in-depth discussion of this concept see Lewis Mumford, The City in History, Harcourt Brace and World, New York, 1961.
[12] Mario Albertini, Discorso ai giovani federalisti, in Il Federalista, XX (1978) p. 51.
[13] Willy Hellpach, Mensch und Volk der Großstadt, Ferdinand Enke, Stuttgart, 1939.
[14] Wassily Leontief and Faye Duchin, Military Spending, Oxford University Press, 1983.
[15] In the past, Europe was able to manage the urban explosion in a situation of moderate demographic growth (compared to the current situation), and in practice without any constraints on emigration to other continents. On the financial plane, precisely because of the high costs of urban infrastructures, although the Europeans had a lower per capita income in the last century than countries like Australia, the USA, Canada and Argentina, they were net lenders of capital. compared to these latter, whose annual rate of urban growth was double or triple that of France, Great Britain and Germany (W. Arthur Lewis, The Evolution of the International Economic Order, Princeton University Press, 1977).
[16] The Antarctic seems to be an exception following the agreement reached on a fifty year moratorium on its exploitation. But it must not be forgotten that the Antarctic, while not having been completely colonised, suffers the effects of global pollution like the rest of the planet – to the point that its observation continues to provide the most important data regarding the seriousness of the ecological threat. Moreover the Antarctic, more than an example of international government, offers an example of international non-government about which nations have agreed – in order to prevent any claims to sovereignty or exclusive administration. But even on this form of negative administration, the US has recently expressed reservations, in order to leave open the possibility of exploiting the Antarctic at the end of the fifty year moratorium (New York Times, 30th June 1991).
[17] Op. cit.
[18] In 1951, defence spending in Great Britain, France and Italy was less than a fifth of the USA’s, and less than a third of the USSR’s. In 1985, in the USA 28% of research spending was for military Purposes, as against 27% in Great Britain, 22% in France, 4% in the Federal Republic of Germany, and 0.35% in Japan (Financial Times, 3/12/1985). In 1990, even though military expenditure as a whole had been reduced by 5% (6% in the USA and 10% in the USSR), it was still 30% more in the USA and 38% more in the USSR than in these same countries in 1980. The Gulf War cost the equivalent of the annual aid Third World countries receive from developed countries (Financial Times, 24th May 1991).
[19] The conditions exist for the next United Nations Conference on the Environment and Development (UNCED), to be held in Brazil in 1992, to become the most important world summit on the future of the earth and of the institutions that must be created to govern our planet. In fact, the following points are already on the agenda of this summit: a) the ratification of the international Conventions regarding which negotiations are already under way (conventions on emissions of greenhouse gases and climatic changes) – in other words, UNCED will not be a forum for further international negotiations on these themes, but will confine itself to taking account of the results (or failures) achieved by ecological diplomacy; b) the adoption of an Earth Charter, or Declaration of the Rights of the Earth, which should define the principles of ecological respect between nations within the perspective of common sustainable development; c) the adoption of the first measures to control the transfer of technological resources to ensure access on fairer conditions, above all for the developing countries, to the most suitable technologies in relation to respect for the environment; d) the start of a programme of action for the next century (Agenda 21). Agenda 21 is presented as the start of a permanent world conference on the institutional reforms and financial resources necessary to unify government of the environment and development; e) the institutionalisation of a permanent dialogue between non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and international institutions.
[20] Environmental Regulation in New Jersey: Innovations and Limitations in Publius: the Journal of Federalism, 21 (Winter 1991).
[21] See Francesco Rossolillo, the chapter on the Institutional Model in Città territorio istituzioni, Guida editori, 1983. Every attempt to solve this problem outside a system of government which is articulated into different territorial tiers (in which planning by means of coordinating the different levels of government becomes the fundamental objective to pursue) is destined to become simply a theoretical exercise.
[22] Notes for UNEP-UK Lecture given by the Secretary General of UNCED, Maurice F. Strong, London, 15th April 1991.
(*)A testimonial account by Bernard M. Baruch (from The Public Years, Odham Press Limited, London 1961).
(**)A testimonial account by Bernard M. Baruch (from The Public Years, Odham Press Limited, London, 1961).
(***)From Only One Earth, edited by Barbara Ward and René Dubos, an informal report prepared with the assistance of 152 experts from 58 countries. This report was commissioned by the United Nations Secretary General in the occasion of the Conference on the Human Environment, held at Stockholm in 1972. The Conference’s Secretary General Maurice Strong, was also appointed to supervise the organisation on the conference in Brazil in 1992.

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