The Herald of the Asian Age: Ecological Civilization
According to the Global Climate State 2020 Report of the World Meteorological Organization, increasing trends in concentrations of greenhouse gases continued in 2019 and 2020. According to the report, in order to avert the worst impacts of climate change, we must keep global temperatures to within 1.5°C of the pre-industrial baseline. Stabilizing global mean temperature at 1.5°C to 2°C above pre-industrial levels by the end of this century, however, requires an ambitious reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, which must begin to occur during this decade. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres states: “…that means reducing global greenhouse gas emissions by 45 per cent from 2010 levels by 2030 and reaching net zero emissions by 2050. The data in this report show that the global mean temperature for 2020 was around 1.2°C warmer than pre-industrial times, meaning that time is fast running out to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. We need to do more, and faster, now”.1
That is the case, and the solution is obvious: Transition to renewable energy sources, radical transformations in agriculture and water management, prevention of biodiversity loss, promotion of green investment, green finance, and green architecture… There is no other option. All of this calls for a structural transformation by restoring harmony between human beings and the nature. This also necessitate massive amounts of public investment and planning, not only at the level of individual countries, but also through international cooperation.
Science and technology have now reached a level where it is possible to overcome many problems that threaten the future of our world, such as climate change, pollution and depletion of water resources, and food security problems. However, the prevailing neoliberal framework, which subjugates science and technology to private interests, is not interested in permanently solving these problems, since the resolution of these problems is not deemed a profitable investment.
The COVID-19 pandemic, which continues to affect our lives since 2019, has made us realize, once again, that the capitalist-imperialist system poses a vital threat to both the present and the future of humanity at all levels. Even the imperialist metropoles and former proponents of neoliberalism have started to discuss the severity of this vital threat, which raises the risk of total environmental and human destruction.
In May 2020, Klaus Schwab, Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, presented a set of proposals under the name “Great Reset”, which consists of “improving capitalism” through social and environmental reforms.2 Indeed, the real intention here is to save capitalism, which has nothing to do with saving the future of humanity.
Today, Asia has become the bedrock of effective proposals that are genuinely interested in saving the future of humanity and permanently solve the current problems of our world, with no recourse to an artificial agenda of saving capitalism and implementing temporal fixes. These proposals put public interest before private interests and accentuate solidarity, shared development, socialism and collaboration on the basis of equality among nation-states.
As the key component of the Sustainable Development Goals, the green development model is fast becoming an Asian trademark. In this regard, China has achieved significant success in the context of Ecological Civilization. Similarly, Turkey, one of the key countries as part of the Belt and Road Initiative, shows early signs of strengthening its will to implement green development.
Different from the previous era, China and other developing countries have started to influence the direction of world politics. The Asian Age, which has risen in the lead of countries such as China and Turkey, opens the door to a new civilization that breaks with industrial civilization: Ecological Civilization, which gives primacy to harmony between human beings and the nature!