After 40 years of environmental negotiations and the recent inconclusive results of Rio+20, there is an expanding consensus that the current negotiation model composed of a series of subsequent summits and conferences of the parties under the United Nations umbrella has been exhausted. This deadlock lead to a perception that real change is a “political impossibility” and inevitably installed a sense of fatalism.
It is starting to be clear that the main obstacle that we are facing is not technological but consists of the construction of a new juridical-economic structure that is able to provide an answer to the global and structural dimension of the current crisis.
Within this context, the Common Heritage of Mankind continues to be the only structure that can offer an international juridical framework capable of regulating goods that take us to a dimension of the human condition found outside the material realm, but which does involve the whole of humanity.
The proposal to configure the climate system as common to the whole of humanity could serve as a basis to resolve a series of complex operational problems. These include the lack of intergenerational reach of Law that deals with new global phenomena or the global dispersion of positive and negative externalities of countries that affect the common system. The proposed classification would enable accounting and governance of externalities between countries, taking into consideration the actions of past generation and the rights of future ones.
The first step consists of finding out how to describe this juridical object, which finds itself both outside and inside of all states, and how to measure and consequently attribute it to someone. This immaterial and intangible nature is that what really unites us all and turns us all global neighbors. The creation of a new Intangible Natural Heritage relative to the climate and ocean systems of which the owner should be all of humanity serves as the structural support that we propose to construct a new economy.