On the day that the world remembered and celebrated the fall of the Berlin wall, Mikhail Gorbachev wrote in The Times reflecting on the magnitude of the event. Dwelling on the historical crossroads we faced before the fall of the wall, he claimed in the that “climate change is the new wall that divides us from our future", insisting that a paradigm shift is needed to deal with it.
Gorbachev’s enthusiasm for targeted worldwide action isn’t based purely on his fear of melting icecaps. He claims that “world citizens are demanding that action is taken to tackle climate change and redress the deep injustices that surround it", and that a “breakthrough in our values and priorities is needed". Once more, the concept of global warming has been hijacked by those with an ulterior motive. For Gorbachev, addressing climate change is a convenient vehicle for the politics of social equality and communitarian values. It is sad to see Gorbachev using the fall of the wall – a symbol of economic and political freedom – to encourage increased government regulation and restriction.
Those with a particular political outlook have long used climate change as an excuse to peddle their own interests, using apocalyptic visions of a charred earth caused by our own selfishness and greed, in order to radically change our way of life and forfeit economic progress. Politicians of all stripes also use the global warming hype to bolster their standing amongst the public, and more damagingly, increase government control of the economy through regulations, taxes and subsidies.
Climate change, if a problem, will require scientific solutions. As such, it will need to be dealt with through schemes such as large-scale geo-engineering projects. It has no political or moral solution. In his article, Gorbachev states that “There is the wall between those who heed the scientific evidence, and those who pander to vested interests." It is ironic that it is often those proclaiming the severity of climate change that possess the most ulterior motives.