‘Climate Change and the Nation State’

Anatol Lieven’s new book ‘Climate Change and the Nation State’ gives a much needed new approach to dealing with climate change. Lieven shows how in this emergency our crucial building block is the nation state. Drastic action required both to change our habits and to protect ourselves can be carried out not through some vague globalism but through maintaining social cohesion and through our current governmental, fiscal and military structures. This replaces global protest with a national policy. The book aims to provoke discussions.

Political parties pay far too much attention to localism, voluntarism and corporate responsibility. All are valuable, none are adequate. I particularly liked the quote from Theodore Roosevelt, ‘Conservation is a great moral issue, for it involves the patriotic duty of ensuring the safety and continuance of the nation.’

The current task must be to mobilise patriotism by convincing the people living in this country that global heating ,is a threat, not just to humanity and the planet but to the interests and future survival of Britain; and that society as a whole must pull together, alleviate suffering and make sacrifices as part of a common effort.

If we can’t manage this Lieven doubts that liberal democracy will survive what is coming at us down the line. See also the article in The Guardian 14 Mar 2020, ‘Patriotism could be the unlikely answer to solving the climate crisis’. 

Malcolm Davison

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