“Pittsburg not Paris” – where is the collaboration?

“Pittsburg not Paris” – where is the collaboration?

The President of the United States announced last month that the US would disengage from the Paris Agreement, a global commitment within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  The voluntary, non-binding agreement was reached after years of long negotiations by representatives of 195 countries and adopted by consensus end of 2015.

The Paris Agreement, a remarkable achievement of international cooperation, gives us all a common cause, a shared goal, a global project in which virtually the entire world population could collaborate, participate and strive to achieve a livable environment for future generations.

Explaining his choice to withdraw the US from the Paris climate agreement, President Trump said: “I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.”

Within the hour, the mayor of Pittsburg denounced the presidential support by restating his city’s goal to be a clean, green city of the future, and Pittsburg’s unconditional backing of the Paris Agreement.  (He also pointed out that his city – like most US cities – voted massively for the other candidate).

California (the world’s 5th largest economy) declared its adherence and commitment to the Paris accord before the G20 Summit.  Many States and cities followed suit, as the G20 Summit in Europe this summer was being fallaciously called the G19.

Mobilization for the US to stay in the Paris Agreement was massive.  CEOs of many of the largest and most prestigious firms in the world including petrochemical giants Exxon Mobile, Conoco, BP, Shell, and literally all the largest technology firms (Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook…) spent time and money to argue the case to stay in the accord.

The Pope himself offered a hand-delivered gift to the US President on the global health of the planet:  a signed copy of “Laudato Si” — the pontiff’s 192-page work calling for a new partnership between science and religion to combat human-driven climate change.  What a beautiful example of open-mindedness and cooperation between competing points of view.

All to no avail.

Where is the collaboration?

The importance or working together is even more essential in the new digital, global (shared) economy.  Collaboration is key, within one’s own team, within the organization, within the country, and within the global community of alliance nation partners.

Pittsburg AND Paris!

The new ways of working are much more collaborative, project-based, relying on partner networks to create value, find and articulate the common good.  This is true in politics and in business.

Take Apple and Microsoft, two firms well known for their dynamic, maniacal, supremely talented co-founders and CEOs, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates.  Their way was less collaborative, more zero-sum in style and substance (for me to win, someone else must lose).

Tim Cook and Satya Nadella are very different in style and substance.  They collaborate better than their predecessors.

Can you image Steve Ballmer in the role of alliance manager?

The main point here is that collaborative frameworks in the global, digital economy require more elaborate organizational designs, multi-party agreements.  Ecosystems are complex, in business and in politics.  Democracy is messy, inefficient.  Bureaucracy sets in with all large institutions and organizations, and the accumulative effect over time is an entrenched build-up of costly inefficiencies and waste.

Cutting through the red tape, streamlining decision-making processes, introducing lean solutions into government is a laudable goal.  But long-term collaboration cannot be improvised in one-to-one discussions and unilateral, transactional “deal-making”.

In today’s interrelated world economies – and political cooperation with our allies – we need more collaboration, more teamwork, more shared goals to learn how to work together.  We need more and better multi-lateral agreements, not less.  The Paris Agreement is an imperfect but workable framework to move forward together towards clean air and clean water for everyone.

We should always remember that we do not own the planet and its resources.  Instead, we should see ourselves as guardians of the earth’s environment with responsibilities to hand over to the next generation a sustainable living platform.

Let’s move forwards, not backwards, towards better, more efficient collaboration among nations and peoples:  trade, education, health and a clean sustainable working and living environment are the most noble of all goals.

Collaboration is not a given, it takes time and persistence and the right mindset.  Alliances Progress continues its work on Public Private Partnerships and worldwide business/technology ecosystem development.  Global frameworks, like the Paris Agreement, are the best path forward, baby steps towards dynamic international collaboration.  Let’s make it work!

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