G20 – The humanisation of energy policy
The G20 Summit at EuroMUN 2021 has today been enriched by a talk by political economist Dr. Serdar Türkeli, researcher and lecturer at the United Nations University – MERIT. The delegates are discussing a sustainable reform of the global energy market. The expert reminded the Group of the eco-social dimension of their debate. In his talk, he advocated a shift from market thinking to human-centred policies. An economy dominated by market thinking, Türkeli claimed, reduces objects, nature, and ultimately humans to their market value. Thereby, it overlooks the value that humans attach to the same and misses the mark of furthering the common interests of humanity.
The alternative, humanisation of policy, is to put human values at the centre of policy-making. Türkeli admitted that these values are deeply rooted in culture and may vary among different regions of the world. Therefore, he argued for a decentralised approach to policy-making. In Türkeli’s utopia, countries would freely, in a process involving the whole of society, define the values around which their policies should revolve. At an international level, these values could be coordinated, but without countries patronising each other. ‘China would not teach Europe, Europe would not teach the Middle East, and so on,’ the expert tangibly summarised his vision.
The concrete outcome of this paradigm shift would be a change of focus from taxation to substantive regulation of the economy. The mere emphasis on economic growth grants multinational corporations the privilege of being the addressee and beneficiary of policy-making. According to Türkeli, it undermines state sovereignty and invites states to engage in a race to the bottom in tax rates. It would have been interesting to hear Türkeli’s opinion on the role of state sovereignty in human-centred economic policy. Unfortunately, with reference to the finely tuned Summit schedule, the EuroMUN Secretary-General had to interrupt the expert’s deliberations prematurely. Nevertheless, if a threat to their sovereignty cannot convince the present delegations of the importance of a rethinking of the global energy economy, then what can?
Indeed, the delegate of Brazil immediately picked up on Türkeli’s advocacy for a decentralised approach to energy market reform, accompanied by the development of a digital infrastructure. Once again, however, the constraints of a tightly packed agenda prevailed. The Chinese delegation, while emphasising the value of the Brazilian contribution, expressed regret for its lack of concreteness and, with a majority of delegations, voted to defer the issue to the end of the agenda. And so the remaining sessions on days 3 and 4 of the Summit will have to tell whether the humanisation of energy policy finds fertile ground in this year’s G20 Summit.
This report was brought to you by Blorkly Thraupe, EuroMUN 2021 Special Correspondent for the G20.