Interview: Angus Forbes on why a ‘Global Planet Authority’ could tackle the climate crisis

Angus Forbes has spent most of his career living in London working on the stock exchange, but in the past few years, his interest in the environment has grown. He was the first director of the Prince’s Rainforest Trust, founded Bankers with Boundaries, and has now published his first book: ‘Global Planet Authority – How We’re About to Save the Biosphere.’

Angus is convinced that in order to protect the biosphere, which he defines as: ‘The entirety of all the organisms on the planet,’ we need a specialist global authority to do the job. His book goes into detail about why this is so important and how he thinks it is possible.

Environment Journal spoke to Angus to find out more.

Can you go into more detail about how you envisage the Global Planet Authority (GPA) working – who will run it?

We are at a point where we are so strong as a race that we find ourselves in an untenable position, we now run a biosphere.

When you internalise this, I think humanity will conclude that we need an authority, a global government to oversee this.

Global concern is just starting, we are just entering the cauldron of a mess, and it’s not going to lighten, it’s game on for the next 30 years.

We are in this new realm called the Anthropocene, and that invites deep thought and consideration into how humanity will play the game going forward.

The construction of the GPA will need to be combed over, its shape and form and the powers we give it, it will need to be written down in a constitutional form.

I envision that there will be seven members of the executive board who will make sure that the guidelines of the GPA are adhered to, then there will be 21 environmental experts, 3 from each zone.

They will be peer-reviewed, not elected, and we will allocate our sovereignty to this constitution.

On paper, you have come up with a solution to the climate crisis, but this will take a long time to implement and with many scientists warning that we are not far from reaching a point of no return, are you optimistic for the future? 

Paul Hawkens was asked this question, and he said, if you’re not severely concerned, then you don’t understand the data, and if you’re not hopeful then you don’t understand humanity.

A lot of thought leaders have instructed us through the ages that it doesn’t matter if you’re optimistic or pessimistic, but that you must act as if you’re optimistic.

Or what else we do? If we all give up, burn lots of carbon, then we’re heading for total disaster.

We must be optimistic, work harder and do our very best.

In your book, you place a lot of emphasis on this being a global and collective problem. I think this is great, a lot of media coverage around climate change focuses on individual action, and of course, this is important, but it can also be very frustrating. Can you discuss why it’s so important that we consider this as a global problem?

I couldn’t agree with you more, should we all reduce our carbon footprint, yes of course.

But I think that there’s something deep in the human psyche that is wary of cheating, you look at that bloke down the street, in his diesel car, on the way to the airport and you feel cheated.

You feel disenfranchised, you haven’t got the power and the system isn’t right.

And it’s not.

We have out-grown the current government structure, we have to build a bigger mechanism.

We have awareness, we know the statistics and we are told we need to take personal action, but the situation isn’t going to turn around with personal action alone, and that’s what’s going to be discovered, we won’t win.

The whole point of the GPA is that we need to come together globally, but when there is much division in the world do you think it is truly realistic to believe that we can come together to tackle this problem? 

I think if you use the word countries, then no.

But, if you use the word populous, then absolutely.

If Pippa, I can talk about you, you’re a young, educated, progressive young woman, well you probably relate more to young, educated progressive young women around the world much more than you do to the old man who lives a street away.

It’s this kind of tribalism that will allow us to come together.

Yes, one can feel isolated, but that’s because of the system, the press and the way we are orientated because we are using our nation-states as the top dog and that is where all of our news comes from.

It’s easy for the press to print about this, but underneath there are tectonic shifts and we are seeing this with the global climate strikes, there is a recognition that there are currently 2.5 billion women and 750 million 13-18-year-old’s online together.

We are more connected than ever before.

I like that you are encouraging young people to be involved in the movement towards a GPA, why do you think this is so important? 

In the act of creating a significant human government structure, whether that’s a town or a nation-state, the source of the power is the sovereignty of people coming together on mass.

Historically, young people have always been at the heart of this, so it’s important to invite the young people because the length of their lives ahead of them is far greater than that of the older people.

If we are going to form a GPA, the first-ever global movement, then young people must be there.

But, it’s not going to be the young people alone, it will be a combination, I believe we need to have a few grey hairs combined with the youthful vitality and demand of change from young people.

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