EDITORIAL

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!

FİKRET AKFIRAT
Editor-in-Chief
 

1- World Meteorological Organization, WMO. (2020). The state of the global climate 2020. Retrieved from https://public.wmo.int/en/our-mandate/climate/wmo-statement-state-of-global-climate
2- World Economic Forum. (2020). The great reset. Retrieved from https://www.weforum.org/great-reset/

Contents

Abstract

What environmental issues occupy China’s main development agenda? How does China address these crucial issues? In what direction are China’s environmental policies evolving? The present article uses process tracing to answer these questions and argue that China has already developed a firm understanding of its environmental problems and their severity to the extent that it now frames them as a “matter of survival” and has brought these issues to the centre of its revised national security strategy. China’s strategy is predicated on an alternative proposal for “ecological civilization”, which may potentially lead to the reversal of “ecological imperialism”. China is in the early stages of building an ecological civilization and requires a lot of work to reach a high level of ecological development. China’s key achievements on the path towards ecological civilization involve a series of three unfolding and mutually conditioning revolutionary processes that also lead the way in international environmental cooperation, as embodied in China’s role in ASEAN, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, and the Green Silk Road. They include a clean energy revolution, a sustainable agricultural revolution, and a green urban revolution. China has already become a global leader in green finance. It leads the eco-city movement, with over 43% of the world’s eco-cities being Chinese, and is the second leader in sustainable architecture, next to Canada. Many Chinese cities have dropped down or out of the list of the most polluted cities, leaving India and Pakistan at the top. China’s cities have also joined the ranks of those with the strongest sewage treatment capacity in the world. In addition, China has the most electric vehicles, bikes, and efficient public transportation. China is considered to be not only the world’s centre of electric bus production and consumption but also as having cities with the world’s longest subway systems. From 2013 onwards, the share of coal in China’s total energy consumption has seen a noticeable decline, accompanied by the increasing share of renewable resources in total energy consumption as a result of conscious efforts at a clean energy revolution. Key to this revolution in the making is China’s strong reputation as the world’s top investor in clean energy. As such, it has succeeded in creating the world’s largest wind, solar, and hydroelectric systems for power generation. Finally, concerning China’s unfolding revolution in sustainable agriculture, one should acknowledge, not only its adoption of green food standards and the expansion of its agricultural area under certified organic farming but especially the fact that, as a world leader in green agriculture, it now ranks third in the list of countries with the largest agricultural area under organic farming.

Keywords: Eco-cities; eco-farming; ecological civilization; energy revolution; green finance

Abstract

Xi Jinping: We need to find a way for man and nature to live in harmony, balance and coordinate economic development and ecological protection, and work together to build a prosperous, clean and beautiful world.

We present to your attention the full text** of the speech of the Chinese President Xi Jinping, on Wednesday, at the United Nations (UN) Summit on Biodiversity, September 30th, 2020:

Abstract

This article aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of Turkey’s approach to climate change on its path to an ecological civilisation. How does Turkey perceive climate change? What proposals does Turkey offer to tackle climate change? How have Turkey’s perception and policy proposals on this matter taken their current shape? This article uses qualitative content analysis and descriptive statistics to address these questions. A fuller understanding of Turkey’s climate change strategy can be gained through an integrative analysis of its recent Strategic Plan and Five-Year Plans in tandem with its key official documents related to climate change strategy and action plans. Our analysis suggests that Turkey’s approach to climate change centres on an ambitious mission to place economic and social development within a sustainability framework. This mission springs from Turkey’s growing percipience that the key to success in the struggle against climate change is in pursuing these efforts in coordination with the Sustainable Development Goals. The selected documents reflect a growing awareness that these efforts can be enhanced through closer cooperation between the public sector, private sectors, and civil society. Moreover, Turkey exhibits a strong understanding of the need for strengthening ties between the environment and future generations on the road to “green development”. The addressed documents acknowledge the current obstacles on this road, particularly those relating to scant institutional, financial, and technical capabilities. Finally, the documents’ frequent emphasis on sustainable energy, energy efficiency, and clean energy technologies points to the relevance of taking into consideration Turkey’s energy strategy and action plans. In this area, Turkey’s efforts at improving its institutional, financial, and technical capabilities seem to have borne their first fruits, though there is still a very long way to go to attain the capabilities required for fully implementing the intended strategies and action plans. A promising development is that enhanced public support for clean energy technologies and production has led Turkey to become a leading actor in clean energy.

Keywords: clean energy, climate change, climate policy, sustainable development, Turkey

Abstract

In this study, electricity, heat, and biofuel production from biomass are demonstrated to be important components of the eco-civilization era. The production of fuel in farmlands and the practice of Under-Tree Agriculture (Agroforestry) in the area where “energy crops” in combination with multiple-function trees are grown are emphasised as highly effective means of combating the phenomenon of climate change. Combatting climate change to achieve the “Negative Carbon Emission” goal will characterise the eco-civilization era. The overarching aim is “Negative Carbon Emission”. Farm Forestry (Agroforestry) / Inter-cropping / Energy Farms makes up the major theme of the study to fulfil the function of biofuel production and “Carbon Sink” together. Through these practices, a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere is envisaged with a simultaneous reduction in the existing greenhouse gases accumulated in the atmosphere. In this way, it will be possible to take steps towards the goal of “Negative Carbon Emission” in the way of establishing an Ecological Civilization by overcoming the existing dominant order, which is the sole responsibility of the phenomenon of global warming and the resulting climate change phenomenon.

Keywords: Agroforestry, biofuel, climate change, energy farm, negative carbon emission

Abstract

 

This paper identifies two types of carbon dioxide gas emissions. The first type concerns direct emissions, emanating from sources that involve fossil fuels, such as industrial process, power generation, transportation, and farm waste. The second type, which has not been accounted for so far, is concerned with exergy mismatches between the supply and demand in any given process, even if no fossil fuels are directly involved. Exergy is the useful work potential of any given amount or flow of energy.

This paper presents a direct link between the climate emergency and carbon dioxide emissions due to quality (Exergy) mismatches between the energy supply and energy demand, which may be minimized by proper design, control, and system selection in the built environment. It is shown that these nearly avoidable exergy mismatches are as pressing as direct emissions from fossil fuel usage and such destructions also take place in green energy systems, including solar and wind energy systems. The paper further explains that these emissions are responsible for the climate emergency (Global warming) as direct emissions are. An example is given about a wind power-heated house, and it is shown that it is responsible for emissions despite no fossil fuel being involved on the site. The paper then establishes a direct link between emission exceedances and the additional pandemic risk to conclude that buildings are responsible for most of these additional pandemic risks.

Keywords: Climate emergency, CO2 emissions, COVID-19, global warming, pandemic-resistant building

 

Abstract

Lambsdorff, A.G. (2021).

Wenn elefanten kämpfen:

Deutschlands rolle in den kalten

kriegen des 21. Jahrhunderts.

Berlin: Propyläen Verlag.

DOMINIK PIETZCKER**