November 10, 2008

Gordon Brown's global vision

This is from Gordon Brown, UK Prime Minister, speaking today:

"And I believe that in our international co-operation on finance, climate change, terrorism and ending conflict, there is evidence of this new multilateralism at work in the world – fairer, more stable and more prosperous because it is rooted in cooperation and justice.

"And if we learn from our experience of turning unity of purpose into unity of action, together we can seize this moment of profound change to create, for the first time, the age of the truly global society, one where progressive multilateralism, not narrow unilateralism, is the norm."

Well, governments acting simultaneously to address global problems is the aim of the Simultaneous Policy campaign, so if this multilateralism turns into reality that will be a significant step forward. Simultaneous action removes the fear of first-mover disadvantage and should enable more comprehensive responses to be introduced.

Prime Minister Brown also had this to say (see The Guardian report):

"We cannot afford to put climate change into the international pending tray because of the present economic difficulties," he said. "On the contrary, we must use the imperative to act for our future prosperity through the transition to a low carbon economy and reduced oil dependency as a route to creating jobs and economic opportunity for our peoples today."

Which is great. Though if you look at the Prime Ministers past action, then there is less cause for optimism. Critics point to his insitence on pushing ahead with high-carbon capital projects, such as a third runway at Heathrow Airport as a jump-start to the economy.

So the transparency and democratic involvement engendered by the Simultaneous Policy approach is still missing.

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