Cascio ‘8 (Jamais, Writer for the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, The Big Picture: Climate Chaos)
The relationship between climate chaos and the rise of the post-hegemonic world is tricky. Climate disruption isn’t causing the decline of US hegemony, nor is it caused by that decline. However, global warming underscores the weakness of the American hegemony, and that the decline of American hegemony weakens the potential for a near-term coordinated response to global warming. Moreover, this decline has the potential to make dealing with climate chaos more difficult. The best example of this situation occurred at the Bali global warming conference in December. The US delegation refused to sign an agreement accepted by essentially the rest of the participants, instead arguing for its own alternative. Kevin Conrad, the delegate from Papua New Guinea, then stepped to the microphone and said this: There’s an old saying: If you are not willing to lead, then get out of the way. I ask the United States: We asked for your leadership; we seek your leadership. But if for some reason you are not willing to lead, leave it to the rest of us; please get out of the way. A weakened American hegemon is one that is most likely to either try a costly attempt to shore up its power, or lash out at rising competitors, distracting national and world leadership at a time when distraction is most problematic. Of all of the risks to our global capacity to deal with global warming, this is the most dangerous.