Time is running out. The world’s countries have been talking about climate change crisis but failing to reach agreement for more than two decades. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change occurred in 1992, with follow-up conferences held annually ever since.
A new approach is needed that goes beyond national governments and engages all facets of society. To be sure countries are critical, as we need laws to price carbon and achieve reduction targets. But the overall battle can only be won if businesses, local and regional governments, power providers, transportation systems, other institutions and billions of citizens get involved. We need to mobilize of the resources of humanity, not dissimilar in scope to the two world wars, but this time we will all be fighting for the same cause.
Global multi-stakeholder networks are emerging now in response to two fundamental forces. On one hand, the systematic failure of traditional state-based institutions to grapple with a more complex global environment has created a space for new actors. On the other hand, the digital revolution has enabled networks that connect and collaborate across borders, cultures and disciplines in ways that were impossible before.