Environmental breakdown is accelerating and poses an unprecedented threat to international cooperation. A new positive-sum model of international cooperation is needed, which should seek to realise a more sustainable, just and prepared world.
This necessarily requires communities and countries to better recognise their cumulative contribution to environmental breakdown, and their current capability to act. Wealthy nations and communities not only contribute most to the stock of environmental breakdown, they preside over and benefit from an economic development model founded on unsustainable environmental impacts and global power imbalance.
Accordingly, we develop proposals for a new model of international cooperation as a means of building a positive-sum system capable of better responding to environmental breakdown. Using the United Kingdom (UK) as a case study, we explore the role one nation can play now in helping build this system globally.
We argue that a wealthy nation with a relatively large contribution to environmental breakdown like the UK should shoulder greater responsibility than it does at present. In calculating a fairer share for the UK, we recommend that the government commit to support less industrialised nations to reduce their collective greenhouse gas emissions by 4.4 per cent below their 2010 levels by 2030.