The link between democracy and addressing environmental crises is contested. On one hand, the people who will be most severely impacted by climate change are the same people who are often excluded from political decision-making. On the other hand, tackling climate change requires long-term commitments but democracies work on the premise of electoral cycles.
Implementing the Paris Agreement requires national parliaments, political parties and civil society to monitor those commitments. The United States’ brief withdrawal from the agreement was considered a significant setback and points to the vulnerability of multilateral efforts.
As world leaders, activists and civil society gather for COP26, panellists discuss examples of environmental democracy in practice and if democracy can help to save the planet:
Are democracies equipped to tackle human crises such as climate change?
Do democratic processes translate into effective environmental policies?
Does freedom of speech obstruct rapid action to fight climate change?
Can democracy provide a platform for groups of people who are disproportionately impacted by climate change?
This event is in partnership with Westminster Foundation for Democracy and is part of Chatham House’s ongoing work on Democracy that Delivers.
As with all member events, questions from the audience drive the conversation.