I was watching a live broadcast of a speech from the UN Climate Action Summit this morning. It was a great speech – very well written, articulate, intelligent, well-timed and well-delivered. For the particular political personality involved, this is undoubtedly a tour de force and, perhaps, a career-pinnacle of statesmanship and Global leadership. There is, however, a deeper issue which will not be addressed.

Summits are where Global leaders parade what are (for the most part) exquisitely well-polished rhetorical manifestos. There is, however, always a non-trivial difference and distance between those lofty aspirations expressed and the actual lived and practiced behaviour of governments. In some ways, this is not any particular government’s fault – the unacknowledged and perhaps obligatory rules of political gamesmanship include that class of disingenuity that begins with eloquent misrepresentation and ends with catastrophic mismanagement. This is, quite simply, how governments and political ideologues (of all persuasions) are forced to engage with the complex and dancing landscapes of necessity and aspiration.

An irony in this is that political failure in the face of looming Global environmental catastrophe is in many ways an inevitability of the forms of thought and human self-organisation which produce the centralised power and control necessary to govern and shepherd nations, regions and planetary civilisations. The central focal point of control – of authorial voice, of knowledge, speech and reflexively self-validating psychological identity – is itself a core axiom of that system of logic, governance and economic information-processing which drives the problems and turbulence underlying ecological disassembly.

Although human societies, cultures, economies and technological civilisation autonomously generate organisational focal points and narrative cohesion, an assertion of rational or epistemological closure and parochial wisdom at Global Summits is really just self-aggrandising theater when it is not aligned to substantive and immediate action. Greta Thunberg was right to be angry. There is an overwhelming probability that the political game of blind symbol-shuffling and semantic chicanery will continue to attempt to defy, displace or obscure the material and logical facts as provided by physics and empirical evidence. What a curious creature this is, humanity, that defies the need for radical adaptive change even while their world unravels and disassembles itself apace.

2 thoughts on “UN Climate Action Summit

    1. Yes – very interesting, well said and apposite. There is an underlying principle here, Mike – what the computational information and energy-processing of history appears to be doing is often enough mischievously divergent from what it is actually doing. There are correlations, but there is also a deeper principle here. 🙂

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