Going it alone

Last week China announced that it would be carbon neutral by 2060. Meanwhile Australia continues to cement its position in the dustbin of history with an insistence on a “gas led recovery,” and a refusal to set a date for going carbon neutral. As the world’s largest emitter, China’s commitment is a ray of hope cutting through the depressing fog that is contemporary climate politics. Along with the EU, a large block is now committed to making a transition.

From Adam Tooze’s recent piece on the decision, this thought provoking passage:

The conceit that one can still hear from veterans of US climate diplomacy is that the world is waiting for America to come back to the table and that no big deal like that at Paris in 2015 is conceivable without the United States.

But 2020 is not 2015. The sobering truth is that neither the EU nor China is any longer conditioning its climate policy on the United States. If you are serious about the issue, how could you?

Please do read the rest.

We are in an odd historical moment where power is being disaggregated. Historically, power shifted evenly. Today, even as economic and now climate leadership incrementally shifts away from the United States, it maintains predominance in military and financial matters. I can picture this a recipe for disaster as equally as cooperation.

American Power

Watching the Godfather 2 the other night I was struck by the scene where the young Vito Corleone arrives in New York Harbor as an immigrant from Italy. As the Statue of Liberty comes into view, the passengers rush to the side and stand in rapt wonder. The camera pans past faces looking on in awe. The scene is an incredible demonstration of American power and self-confidence.

Compare that to the plot of any number of post 9/11 films, from the Green Zone, to Syriana, to Sicario. Compare it to American Carnage.

Now consider Wolf Warrior 2, one of the highest grossing films of all time that you’ve probably never heard of. The villain, ‘Big Daddy’ is the American leader of a ruthless group of mercenaries Dyon Corps. He is eventually defeated by none other than the Wolf Warrior himself, Leng Feng. The trailer is well worth watching.